Tea with the Dalai Lama

Many years ago we had tea with the Dalai Lama. In fact, we spent several days with him and a small group of Western Buddhist teachers in Dharamsala, India . Of all that was discussed, what has remained with me is the story he told us about Atisa, who was one of the first Buddhist teachers to venture onto the Tibetan plateau.

Facing fierce opposition from the local shamans, who would have gladly killed him if they had the chance, Atisa moved in stealth from nomad encampment to nomad encampment. He survived by mending the kettles and cooking pots of the nomads. It turned out that as a young man in India he had studied the art of metalwork.

It stood him in good stead, as after years of leading a marginalized existence among the nomads, mending their pots, he was eventually able to establish a Buddhist community that survived and flourished into the present century.

The Dalai Lama’s comment, after telling this story was, “It’s your job to interested in everything.” His exact words were, “It’s the job of a Bodhisattva to be interested in everything.” A Bodhisattva means anyone who is in training to become fully awake, alive, and who is working towards the awakening of others.

As the Dalai Lama said .. it’s your job to be interested in everything. Curiosity is the name of the game.