Thursday, October 21, 2010
Inspirational moments in Pune
When the Pune-based charity, Tej Gyan Foundation were able, against all odds, to get the Dalai Lama to change his very tight schedule (His Holiness is booked up 2 years in advance), the citizens of Pune were given a great blessing. To honour the Happy Thoughts World Peace festival on 10 October (10/10/10) in Pune the Dalai Lama himself suggested that the event should kick off at 10:10, and even though this is India, it did start on time. For UWC students and staff the morning started a little earlier as jeeps and sleepy members of the community gathered outside the social centre for the trip into town.
Social activist and retired IPS officer Kiran Bedi joined hands with other prestigious guests, former CBI special director D R Karthikeyan, computer scientist Vijay Bhatkar and Symbiosis founder S B Mujumdar and Tami Simon to speak before an estimated 100,000 people at the Agricultural College grounds.
The Dalai Lama hailed Indian culture and in particular the concept of ahimsa which he believes is still very much alive today. He also made reference to the stability and force of India as a nation and how India could make some contribution to the rest of the world in showing how different religions can live together on the basis of mutual respect and mutual admiration.
As a full time staff member, living on a busy and sometimes noisy campus, I particularly liked the Dalai Lama's response to the question about discipline and how important it was in our daily lives. He emphasized that discipline forced on an individual becomes a burden and that only self-discipline can improve our daily lives and well-being. As issues of stress and workload mingle with noise curfews and student behaviour, it was interesting to note that the outcome of the recent faculty meeting on noise pollution on campus was that trying to make students realize and take responsibility for the noise and discomfort they cause should be seen as preferable to creating rules to prevent it.
It was an inspirational moment for us all to have had the honour of being in the presence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and something that we will all, I'm sure, remember all our lives.