Experiencing the Dalai Lama and Ihaleakala Hew Len
Over the years, I have been deeply inspired by the teachings and positive example of the Dalai Lama, including his approach to talking to everyone the same, regardless of their “socioeconomic” background; his book The Art of Happiness at Work and another, whose title I forget, about transcending fear of death to making one’s last breath a good one; and Roger Kamenetz’s account of him.
Yesterday, I finally got a chance to experience the man live, at American University’s Bender auditorium. I was only able to stay for less than the first hour of his two-hour talk, because my three-year-old boy had lasted as long as he could. However, faced with the choice of going without him to experience the Dalai Lama’s full talk, or to experience it with my boy, I chose the latter.
The Dalai Lama is seventy, and I had images whether factual or not of his having grown up as a child in rarefied surroundings. Yet, from the point he opens his mouth, he is down to earth and likable. Early on in his talk, he sneezed, and enjoyed telling the sellout crowd that when he sneezes it can help keep the crowd awake.
The main points I got from the Dalai Lama’s talk were the importance of harmony, compassion, and non-attachment.
Through mere or divine coincidence, conflicting with the Dalai Lama’s local appearance was a weekend seminar in Washington, D.C., by Ihaleakala Hew Len. I am just starting to learn beyond the basics about Dr. Hew Len, who is a proponent of ho’oponopono, which focuses in large part on taking personal responsibility for problems, rather than blaming others; cleaning ourselves concerning others’ problems and our own; and ultimately reaching a zero limit that would appear to provide no opportunity to have problems to harm us.
Regardless about whether one agrees with the extent of Dr. Hew Len’s deep belief in ho’oponopono, certainly his focus on reaching zero limits can be an important component of making its practitioners better people. Ho’oponopono seems to embrace non-attachment and wu/mu, as well.
My wife learned about Dr. Hew Len and ho’oponopono earlier this year, and attended Dr. Hew Len’s weekend seminar while I went with my boy and a friend who is a Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist nun, to experience the Dalai Lama on Saturday. Later in the day on Saturday, my son and I went near the Washington Monument to the annual Prayer Vigil for the Earth, whose 2009 organizer I have known for several years. This was quite the spritual weekend.
Today, my son and I visited the last half hour of Dr. Hew Len’s talk, and we were both positively affected by him and by our brief meeing with him at the end of the program, as we were positively affected by the Dalai Lama. Jon Katz
ADDENDUM: See more of Dr. Hew Len on Youtube.