14th Dalai Lama (Photo: Reuters / UK Telegraph, 2009)
I once had the opportunity to see and hear the 14th Dalai Lama at Davies Symphony Hall in the Summer of 2003 at a talk he gave to support the restoration and understanding of sacred Buddhist architecture.
The woman I was dating at the time had hired a Tibetan woman to provide child care while the mom worked as a Therapist -- the husband of the Tibetan woman had been a Buddhist monk in Nepal, and had worked directly with the Lama, and was able to wrangle seats for us at his appearance.
The Lama spoke primarily in Tibetan, using an interpreter, but when the mood struck him would break into English. In one of those moments, discussing the reactions of humans to life in These Times, the Lama said (I paraphrase from memory):
Modern life -- everywhere, people moving, running; always running. And everything is so fast. Always fast, fast fast. And so we experience this, every day; and finally it becomes so much that you just have to say -- 'Fuck it!'
There was a moment of utter silence. You could have heard angels farting. And suddenly the entire audience, over 2,700 people (myself included), erupted in applause. It was incredible.
People were cheering, not just because one of the great spiritual leaders of this or any other century 'said a bad word', but because for an instant, by juxtaposing the idea of The Holy Man with A Profane Exclamation, the Lama brought his listeners to a state of attention (Hey! Dude! The Lama just said 'fuck', man!).
A true Human Being. I'm glad I was there.