Several year ago, the Dalai Lama came to the Brandeis University Field House to address nearly 10,000 of his followers, those who admire him and many curious to see and hear this world famous and controversial spiritual leader. I was there also, as a Christian ex-monk who finds his most simple message resonating in my inmost being.
As he entered the building, the 10,000 stood and applauded for 15 or 20 minutes as the retinue wove its way through the crowd to the stage. As he mounted the stairs a deafening roar arose which gave me "goose-bumps". Several times as he stood facing the crowd the roar rose and fell in waves.
Finally, quiet filled the Field House, and he began to speak.
His very first words were:
"I have nothing to give you".
Hearing those words, the crowd roared for about 10 minutes. It set me to thinking, how many people would understand those words and understand the joyful response that followed his speaking them.
His message is Buddhist to be sure, but it is also a message for Christmas. How many of us work ourselves desperately to purchase the right gift for each of our loved ones at this time of year. But Christmas celebrates the coming into space and time of the Creator of space and time. The closest conception we as humans can have of God directly is "No-Thing". A reality our minds cannot perceive directly. And what did this conception of God speak to us at the beginning of the gospel
Change the way you think about "reality",
For the Kingdom of God is within you."
I think that all the truly great religious leaders in the world;
Siddartha Gautama, Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Mohammed, Moses and the OT Prophets; and Jesus, himself, would understand and see the union they all possess.
It is we at the bottom of the mountain who feel our separation and who thereby suffer such terrible conflict.
Let us take this most sacred time, when the Inconceivable
conceived of Himself, to show us the Way.