Sep 11, 2011 Sylvia Boorstein and Lama Surya Das on change
Last night, I went to experience Sylvia Boorstein and Lama Surya Das at Buddhafest’s Week of Peace, Compassion & Forgiveness, an event referenced in yesterday’s blogpost.
Before their talk was cut short to just around 30 minutes by a fire alarm (they continue talking there today), both Sylvia and Lama Surya Das connected strongly and directly with me.
Sylvia started the evening with a brief introduction and two minutes of silence. She then spoke of a young girl (her granddaughter, I think), who was concerned about adjusting to her first day at school, including where she would sit. Sylvia then pondered all the other changes this girl will face, including discovering her sexuality, relationships, and menopause. What a compassionate reflection on this girl’s plight, when my first reaction was: How minor-sounding is this girl’s wondering where she will sit at her first day at school.
Lama Surya Das, who was walking behind me as I left Krishna Das’s and Sharon Salzberg’s amazing evening of chanting and insight two months ago, recounted his time in India from 1971-74, including with Neem Karoli Baba, who named Richard Alpert as Ram Dass (and Lama as Surya Das). He pointed out Ram Dass’s view that if one wants to check his or her spiritual development, just spend a few days with your parents. How true.
Lama Surya Das recounted how, on his return from India, his younger brother told him he was the same, but more so.
Sylvia and Lama both spoke of time marching on. That is part of change.
The message shining the most from them is the importance of discovering our own selves, and bringing out the power of our realness.
As the attendees stood on the sidewalk waiting to see when and if the program would continue after the arrival of the fire department, I folded two origami peace cranes, one for each of them. I deeply thanked Sylvia and handed her a peace crane. She blessed my son silently, by taking his hand in hers for awhile. By the time I looked for Lama Surya Das to hand him a peace crane, he was already gone, after it was announced that they would return today. Today or another time, I will give him a peace crane.
Deeply bowing and thanking Sylvia and Lama.
ADDENDUM: My family returned to Buddhafest this afternoon, with a screening of Buck (see here, too), followed by a discussion of the film with Sylvia Boorstein, Lama Surya Das and Ruth King. The discussion focused on the mindfulness and compassion exemplified by Buck Brannaman (who helped with the horse performances in the Horse Whisperer). At the end of their presentation, all three speakers signed their books, respectively Solid Ground (by Boorstein, Norman Fischer and Tsoknyi Rinpoche), Buddha Standard Time, and Healing Rage.
I got a chance to talk a bit with Lama Surya Das and Sylvia Boorstein. Among other things, I finally had a chance to give an origami peace crane to Lama. I bowed in appreciation to them both.
Buddhafest was in downtown D.C., around a dozen blocks from the White House and around ten blocks from the Capitol Building. Helicopters swarmed low overhead, and police cars were in greater force starting with Pentagon police as we drove in Virginia towards the Fourteenth Street Bridge into Washington, D.C. Buddhafest helped the healing progress forward, at least for those in attendance, and hopefully through the resulting positive vibrations.