Geelong, Australia, 12 June 2007 (Danny Lannen / The Geelong Advertiser) - Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama smiled broadly as he insisted on two sitting ovations in Geelong yesterday.
As thousands of adoring people stood to offer him reverential bows of farewell after a traditional Buddhist ceremony at the Arena, he twice signalled from his throne for them to sit back down.
His show was about being simple, not celebrated and the gestures of humility spoke volumes for his messages.
Crowds of 2000 people apiece crowded two separate auditoriums at the Arena to hear the Dalai Lama and share his White Tara Empowerment bestowing long life, good health and good fortune.
People in one auditorium listened to him live. People in the other watched a big screen and later shared his presence.
The Dalai Lama told people that inner values counted most for humans.
``Inner values, sense of community, sense of responsibility, sense of affection, sense of concern for the rest of society,'' His Holiness said.
``Human compassion brings us together.''
Compassionate minds were more balanced minds and helped people live healthier lives with stronger immune systems.
``Some scientists even say hatred is eating our immune systems,'' the Dalai Lama said.
``Wherever I go I'm always telling people that in order to be happy _ happy person, happy family, peaceful society _ that they should pay more attention to inner values.''
His Holiness endorsed religious harmony through understanding.
``All of the major traditions have some potential to help humanity become more compassionate, with more loving kindness, so there is common ground,'' he said.
``Therefore it is very important to think of differences in the philosophical field.''
Many faiths were different but with the same aim. Like medicine they suited different purposes for different people and during his journey of the past few decades he had acknowledged and embraced them.
``Some Christians consider me a good Christian,'' he said.
``Some Muslims consider me a good Muslim.''
The Dalai Lama sat at the head of one auditorium on a broad timber throne adorned with elaborately decorated cloth.
Depictions of Buddha hung on the wall behind him and he punctured his candid and ceremonial dissertations with his trademark expressive humour.
As he spoke about religious harmony he paused to fish in a bag and produce a maroon visor to shield his eyes from the bright lights.
As his interpreter translated the significance of a section of the empowerment, His Holiness checked his watch and animatedly interrupted.
``I don't think we need such detailed explanation,'' he said.
``So sorry, so much time is already consumed . . . I need some discipline.''
His ready humour visibly connected with and lifted the people who had come to share his energy and insight.
Those people listened to him with rapt attention and at times they journeyed deep into contemplation, eyes closed, palms facing up.
They saw his smile, heard his laugh, absorbed his message and after a couple of sitting ovations they left the Arena shining.