A Little Bit of Hope – By Barbara-Ann McCarthy

With all the disasters and mayhem that is happening in the world, one would be forgiven for thinking there is no use for anyone to carry on. There seems to be so much evil in the world, and it can feel very unsafe to live in. Hardly a day goes by without some awful event occurring. That is how I was beginning to feel, until I had a very special event happen to me which has left me changed forever.

My sister was to host an appearance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and me and some of her friends were invited to come to the talk he was giving at the Plenary Centre in Australia. I was ecstatic! I had read and believed in the teachings of this holy man for a long time, but to actually be there to hear him talk, was beyond belief for me. I couldn’t wait for the day to come! But eventually, despite my impatience, it arrived.

We were all so excited as we made our way into the private room where we were to wait until the talk began. To us, it was like meeting royalty or a very famous rock band. We were so excited just to be there.

Imagine our surprise when we were asked if my sister and I would like to meet the Dalai Lama! We could hardly contain ourselves, as we waited as patiently as we could for the time when we would be shown into the very private room where he was. After what seemed like an eternity, we were shown into his room. There he sat talking with people around him, like Les Twentyman, who has done so much for the troubled youth here in Australia.

As I entered the room, I became strongly aware that I was in the presence of a great Holy man. I suddenly became overcome with emotions, and felt completely unworthy of being in the presence of such a spiritual man. I started to walk to the other side of the room, thinking that he would want to talk to my sister, with whom he had spoken with another time when he was here in Australia. But he pointed to me, and beckoned for me to come over to him saying “You come over and sit with me!” He didn’t know my name you see.

I was in so much shock that I walked dreamily over to where he was sitting, and he asked me to sit with him, grabbing my hand and gently holding it in his. Could I have been more blissed out and blessed at that moment? I don’t think so.

We sat like that for quite a long while. Then we had our photo taken with him, after which he stood up, gently releasing my hand so that he could shake hands with me. I was so non-plussed that all I could say was “It was lovely to meet you.”

What a lame thing to say, I thought as I walked away.  But one does not meet someone like that every day, so I hope he would have forgiven me for being so gauche.

When we came back to join the others in the ante-room, everyone there wanted to touch our hands, because they had been in his. It was very strange, but nice at the same time. Then we waited to be called to go to our seats in the audience. But there a shock awaited us. Some people had taken our seats! Not very Buddhist I couldn’t help thinking to myself. Then, however, an even better thing occurred.

We were all to sit with the monks in the front of the auditorium. More happiness ensued. So there we sat as his Holiness the Dalai Lama was interviewed by my sister, and he then proceeded to give a talk about forgiveness and compassion.  I was so proud of my sister. 

None of us had eaten since breakfast. We had missed out on lunch when we were with the Dalai Lama, and so were now experiencing a little bit of suffering as our stomachs growled in unison. But eventually we were all so caught up with what he was saying, that we forgot about our hunger. We ended up having lunch in a little café about three o’clock though.

I wished we could have talked forever. His voice was so soothing and kind, and yet authoritative.

Then it was time for us to leave. It had been a very special day. So many wonderful things had happened. I knew I would never be the same. 

When I walked in the front door it was all over my face.

“You met the Dalai Lama? My husband asked.

“Yes,” I said. “It was wonderful!”  And I proceeded to tell him all about my awe-inspiring day. He was so happy for me he said.

I knew that I would never forget that day. The day I met the Dalai Lama. I would never be the same again.

Photo by Julika Pape.

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