His Holiness, the Dalai Lama
One of the greatest honors of my life was the invitation to present THIS HEART OF TIBET to His Holiness the Dalai Lama at a private audience at the Tibetan Center in Indiana. I have had this great honor and privilege of meeting him three times.
At the first meeting, we arrived in Indiana at midnight. I had nervously guarded the safety of the rolled up canvas every step of the way.....too many stories of lost luggage. When we arrived, with the painting intact, it was to my great relief. We went to the center the next day armed with a suitcase full of tools, electric drill, hammer, etc.; so, after the security check, we went to work stretching the canvas. Many times several monks came to visit us and though I could sense their approval by their smiles, much to my regret, could not take the time to talk to them. By the time we finished stretching the painting, it was time to meet with the Dalai Lama.
We were given a room to change out of our work clothes. While I was dressing, I heard someone say that His Holiness had arrived in the building. I peeked out of the dressing room just in time to see him smiling upon every face there. I had been too busy to think before, but now after seeing him, I became nervous and excited. I had seen the beautiful Dalai Lama. He was beaming.
We did the presentation and he asked me lots of questions and was most thankful. Protocol stated not to shake his hand but when His Holiness saw THIS HEART OF TIBET, he took both my hands in both his hands and I loved him. I do not say this lightly. I’ve thought over and over again about using another word but there is no other word for my experience. The Dalai Lama is a most beautiful example of compassion, love, courage, and dignity. He was so very appreciative, warm, and so very happy.
We sat on the couch and talked about numerous aspects of the “HEARTS”. He discussed the work of THE HEARTS OF THE WORLD. He told me of his concerns for the small countries of the world that did not have a voice over the clamor of the larger nations. He told me how optimistic he was, comparing the first part of the 20th century with the last part. We conversed for quite some time about our concerns and our vision for a World at Peace. I remember looking into his eyes while we were talking...willing myself to remember every word he said. I told him that one day war will be obsolete and that one day we will look back at war in astonishment the same way we look back at the burning of witches.
We then had our photographs taken and he presented me with a very large and beautiful white silk scarf which he blessed and placed around my shoulders, fussing with it with that wonderful smile on his face, making sure that it was on properly. I left there overwhelmed with a sense of peace, happiness, and a recommitment to my work.