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Monday, October 18, 2010

The Dalai Lama's Visit 2010, Day 1

I have finally arrived -- I waited for His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama's 98H visit all year. I planned my life around it in many ways. I was lucky to have known some people on Emory alumnae boards who gave me advance notice last fall, but the actual dates were not announced until much later.

The tickets finally went on sale Easter weekend 2010 and I was out of town. When I returned, I faxed in my forms and was in! Then the wait began. I bought several books written by the Dalai Lama in preparation, but struggled through some and ended up not getting through all of them.

The thing about being middle-aged is that you can look forward to things and look back on the past. One regret I have had for several years was that I missed the Dalai Lama's first visit. That was not going to happen this time--so here I am.

As I read the advanced instructions, I felt sorry for His Holiness in some ways because of his extremely secure life. We were told to have phones and keys out and purses can be no larger than 8 x 11. As this was so important to me, I dug deep to be a sponsor. I am grateful as the lines are much shorter and I have an opportunity for a lunch on Monday, October 18.

Soon it will be my turn to be in the presence (with several hundred others) of this great man who is the earthly manifestation of the god of compassion. The precious protector! The holder of the White Lotus!

On the plane from Dallas-Fort Worth, I started one of the books I bought called The Secret Lives of the Dalai Lama by Alexander Norman. Here is a quote from the book that I would like to share.

"Technically, he has the status of an ordinary monk in a monastery of which he is not even an abbot. So far as doctrine is concerned, his opinion many be sought, it many be influential, but it is neither final not binding" (p. 10)

So in some ways he is an ordinary man, but we cannot deny that he is also an extraordinary man. I am also an ordinary person, but given the opportunity to attend an extraordinary event.

See the photos on the EAA's Facebook fan page.

--Kathleen E. Hedrick 89B, past-president, Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter of Emory Alumni

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