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Notes From Dalai Lama Visit to Louisville

Tara Nicholson, a friend in Knoxville TN and member of The Mountain Solid, Water Reflecting Sangha. Went to see the Dalai Lama in Louisville, KY last weekend.  She gave me the OK to share her notes with you.  I thought they were worth sharing.


John Yukon Simon


From Tara:

I went with some friends to Louisville to see the Dalai Lama (news article). He was there because Louisville recently signed into becoming a Compassionate City. Fascinating what this is, and is of global scope. It is also a bold move for the Mayor and Governor, who were both attending and on stage.

Also on stage with the Lama were a section of chairs that held religious leaders of many major recognized religions. Christian, Judism, Hindu, Muslim, Neuroscientist, and so forth. If you’re interested, I can send the list of names. I have them in my flier, I do not see them listed online.

The over arching message from the Lama, (and what it means to be a compassionate city) is to respect all religions, to view the variety as necessary. All religions have the capability of producing good human beings. The message was directed to the panel of religious leaders on stage, and to everyone attending.

Last century was of war and violence. This century, compassion. A century of dialogue. Two levels of compassion exist, biological, the internal desire to love and understand, and the second one that is only achieved through training.

“Forgiveness does not mean you accept their wrong dream. No! You must oppose it! But wrongdoer, you must forgive.” He also expressed his connection with Amnesty International and opposition to the death penalty.

He discussed concerns of the earth, global warming of sorts. That this century it is essential we take meaningful action. How can religions help heal the destruction of the earth? Respect for all creatures made by God, by Alla, and so on. Respect for all religions.

There was a question session, and someone from the audience asked about Capitalism, where profit over human health is present. He expressed what a great country we have, and was very specific about why he thought it was so great. But to answer the question, Educate! An example was brought up about a toxic chemical being sold to a town in India, and it was poisoning the town. His response was that while a company in the US was selling it, India was also choosing to buy it. Educate. And that there is a huge gap between rich and poor all over the world, which is a serious problem.

Survivor of the kindest and most cooperative, not survivor of the fittest.

Religion without compassion is failure.

And he gave two metaphors with regards to Religious respect:

A garden with only one flower is uninteresting to people.

A supermarket with just one item is not super. {Religious diversity is} food for the mind, food for the emotions and growth.

The session drew to conclusion with each of the religious leaders expressing a few minutes of their thoughts on compassion from their point of view. The messages were very similar, different choice of words. Before they began, and after the Lama had finished his speech, he turned to them, and asked if anyone opposed what he had spoken about.

He called for people to be faithful to what you believe! Healthy mind, healthy body will follow.


I appreciated his message, and I personally agree with his message. I struggle with the logistics of the message, such as, how does a religion respect another religion when the more devout one is, the more exclusive they are encouraged to be. My answer that I am comfortable with right now, I found recently in a TED talk about compassion:

Karen Armstrong “Scripture teaches nothing but charity. We must not leave an interpretation of scripture until we have found a compassionate interpretation. And this struggle to find compassion in some of these rather rebarbative text, is a good dress rehearsal for doing the same in ordinary life.”

Feel free to forward this on, as well as respond. I know I included a lot of short bullet points.

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