I was one of those lucky enough to attend the speaking of the Dalai Lama, and it really was a unique opportunity. Unfortunately, I couldn’t help but walk away disappointed.
Before readers start getting angry with me, allow me to say that yes, he really is a peaceful, warm, genuine person. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who is as affable, honest, and relaxed before such a massive audience. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to have heard him.
I just wished he had really spoken to us. Yes, he spoke of peace, of the futility of violence, of how we are not alone in the world, and how the future was looking brighter. He spoke simply, honestly, and it all made sense. Mostly, because it was all things that we knew, things we had either heard before or figured out on our own.
Whenever I ask someone what they thought about it, I always get the same basic answers: how he radiated peace, how they want to give him a hug, etc. When I ask if they think that maybe he was dumbing it down for us, people shrug and say that it was expected, that there are plenty of college students who are too shallow or too dumb to think of these things for themselves.
That bothers me. I want to meet these mystical dumb, shallow students that everyone looks down upon and are such a great majority that the Dalai Lama had to hold back. I want to meet that elusive student that had never thought that maybe, just maybe, violence was not the answer.
Some people argue that yes, it was a simple message, but we needed to hear it again. Why, because he said it? That’s not right. He may be a great man, but the message should be greater. This is a message that should matter to us no matter who speaks it, be it the Dalai Lama or not. He tells us he is but a humble monk, but I’m not sure if people really listen.
I honestly believe he was holding back and not saying all that he truly wished to say. Not only did he stick to the basics, much as he might with a child, but at times he was even evasive. When it came to the war in Iraq, he gave no real opinion.
I understand why he did what he did, in front of thousands of young Americans. He gave us the only thing he could, his example. I just wish he had felt that he could really share his wisdom with us, and I hope someday I get the chance to truly hear him speak.
Endre Enyedy can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.