Recently BBC4 showed the film of the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu meeting up in India for the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday. ‘Arch’ had to fly to see him as the Dalai Lama was refused a visa to travel to South Africa for political reasons. They both had a great love and respect for each other and were described as being like mischievous kindergarten students! There was much fun and laughter! In this photo ‘Arch’ is teaching the Dalai Lama how to dance, despite it being against his precepts!
Both of these spiritual leaders, one Buddhist and the other Christian, felt that everyone was born with compassion inside them, but each person needed to work at it to turn it into joy. These men had both encountered hardships. The Dalai Lama grew up in a palace but has been in exile over 60 years from his beloved Tibet after escaping from the country when China took it over. ‘Arch’ was born into poverty and is best known for his non-violent protests about Apartheid, receiving several death threats. He was battling with cancer.
When asked about death, ‘Arch’ pointed at the Dalai Lama and said, ‘He doesn’t have a problem, he will have his reincarnation!’ The response was, ‘According to your tradition, we shall both meet up in heaven.’ Then they both burst into uncontrollable laughter.
Their message was to look inside your life! Change your mental outlook. Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, try to see your circumstances as an opportunity to learn something new. Help other people and you won’t think about your own difficulties. Then joy will come.
If you get the opportunity to watch the programme, I recommend it. There is also a book.
Marian Nash, member of the Christian faith
Since this film was made, Desmond Tutu has died and will be sorely missed.
Date: Monday 21st March 2022