Interviews and Meetings in Los Angeles

February 27th 2014

Los Angeles, CA, USA, 26 February 2014 - Skies over Los Angeles were uncharacteristically grey with rain forecast for today or tomorrow as His Holiness the Dalai Lama drove to the Huffington Post studio this morning. Senior Editor Willow Bay talked to him in an interview that was simultaneously livestreamed on all nine of the Huffington Post’s international editions.


Willow Bay interviewing His Holiness the Dalai Lama for a live broadcast on HuffPost Live from Los Angeles, California on February 26, 2014. Photo/Jeremy Russell/OHHDL
She asked first of all about his meeting with President Obama last week and His Holiness told her that as an old friend he had brought him up to date about his three commitments: promoting human values, religious harmony and the preservation of Tibetan culture. Questioned about whether his attitude to capitalism had really changed as reported from meetings last week, he said:

“It depends on the motivation. If people make money but use it exclusively for their own luxurious pleasure, that’s not so good. To use some of it to benefit others is the proper way.”

About the impending Academy Awards he said that he had not watched a movie in about 20 years, which protects his eyes. He said he listens to the BBC on the radio which serves as his source of information. Asked what we can do to further happiness in the world, he said we need to cultivate warm-heartedness with intelligence.

After lunch, His Holiness was welcomed to the California Science Center, by Director Jeff Rudolph and Mrs Oschin. His first engagement was an interview with Larry King, veteran TV and radio host and an old friend. He told him that he had talked about his three commitments with President Obama, who also asked about the situation in Tibet. King asked if the USA is doing enough to pressure China on human rights and His Holiness replied:“The world trend is towards greater democracy, openness and freedom. China is the world’s most populous nation, but its future depends on the rest of the world, so it needs to follow the world trend.”In answer to whether he really thought he would see his homeland again, His Holiness replied:


Larry King interviewing His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Los Angeles, California on February 26, 2014.
Photo/Jeremy Russell/OHHDL

“Yes. China is changing as we can see through the four eras associated with Mao, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao.”

When Larry King asked about his normal day, His Holiness replied that he is a human being, he sleeps, he eats food, but as a Buddhist monk he has to be aware of his 253 vows, concerning how to eat, sleep, walk and talk. He told him he gets up at around 3 in the morning and spends time in prayer and meditation. He said that of the two kinds of meditation, single-pointed concentration and analytical meditation, he spends more time on analysis, analyzing his mind and emotions.

Finally, when asked how he would like to be remembered. His Holiness told him that as a Buddhist monk he is not concerned about his name and reputation. He recalled the time in New York when a journalist asked him about his legacy and he said it was inappropriate for him to think about it. A while later she asked the same question again and he answered the same way. When she asked for a  third time he lost his temper. His Holiness ended the story with the assurance that when he and the journalist met again a year later the recollection made them both laugh.

Larry King then led His Holiness into the Samuel Oschin Pavilion, which houses the Space Shuttle Endeavor. Several hundred prominent leaders from Los Angeles were waiting to hear him answer questions about leadership in the 21st century. After Eric Benét had sung ‘What the World Needs Now is Love’, news journalist Ann Curry stepped up to the platform as moderator. She said she had several questions from the audience to ask His Holiness. The first was about how someone with no interest in organized religion can generate inner peace. In his reply His Holiness explained that he promotes secular ethics to include just such people, saying that all major religions incorporate the basic human values he refers to as secular ethics. He also said that destructive emotions such as anger that disturb our inner peace relate to ignorance, whereas constructive emotions related to reason; we can reduce the first and increase the second.

When asked about the self, he commented:

“It appears to be something single, solid and independent just like this space shuttle above us. However, just as the shuttle is actually made up of many small parts the self too has many aspects.”


Ann Curry moderating a question and answer session with His Holiness the Dalai Lama  at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, California on February 26, 2014.
Photo/Jeremy Russell/OHHDL

An unusual question, “Do you carry a brief case and if so what’s in it?” drew unexpected answers. His Holiness picked up his maroon cotton shoulder bag saying it is what he always carries with him. Then he went through what was in it. Pulling out two chocolates that he’d been give on the flight to Los Angeles, he gave one to Ann Curry and the other to Sharon Stone. He showed his toothbrush and paste and his spare glasses, and explained that he also carries a statue of the Buddha. Sharon Stone asked if they could see it and he said it was wrapped up. He explained that a Buddhist monk is given a statue of the Buddha at the time of his ordination and that he had a larger, heavier one when he left Tibet, but that it was not convenient to travel with it. The present statue was made of clay by Smrtijnanakirti an Indian pandit who came to Tibet centuries ago. When his translator died he had no way to teach or even tell people who he was and spent some time as a shepherd. While looking after his flock, he modelled images of the Buddha and the statue His Holiness carries is one of those. He explained that he had asked his tutor to bless it for the purpose.

As the meeting ended, Gray Davis, former Governor of California offered thanks to His Holiness for coming, to everyone else who had taken part, to the California Science Center for hosting the event and Kusho Tenzin Dhonden for facilitating it. Mrs Oschin, wife of the founder of the pavilion that houses Endeavor, concluded proceedings by offering a proclamation to His Holiness from the City of Los Angeles.
 

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