The Dalai Lama gave a lecture at UCSB in 2009, and it was quite the occasion. He had a cold, but talked joyfully in heavily accented English to 5,000 attentive participants including me, Becky, and a bunch of our friends. His energy was typically wise, childlike, innocent, and beautiful. With this guy you always seem to feel a transmission of pure spirit. The first part of the day was a slide show of his extraordinary life from random peasant kid, to the chosen incarnation of the Dalai Lama, to aspiring young scientist in a secluded mountaintop monastery, to refugee from fascist invaders, to spokesperson for Tibetan freedom and world peace. When he finally made it onto the stage, a little under the weather from his cold, but opening fully to all of us in the hall, he taught about suffering and liberation. His Holiness said there are three kinds of suffering:
- The suffering of change—pain in random movement through life dealing with one situation after another. The suffering of suffering—where we agonize over having to deal with pain–you know, “Why me Lord?!”. The suffering of conditioning—bad habits experiencing ourselves and the world with distress rather than joy and gratitude.
- We don’t have to indulge habits of anxiety and worrying about the future.
- We don’t have to suffer guilt and shame regretting the past.
- We don’t have to inflame our anger feeding ourselves hostile stories.
- We don’t have to surrender to sadness and yearning what has been lost or might be lost.