I don’t know if this is big news elsewhere, but here in Seattle we’ve been hearing about the Dalai Lama’s visit non-stop.  We’ve been getting trapped in the extra traffic created by his visit too.  Today the DL’s Seattle extravaganza, known as Seeds of Compassion, culminated in a kids’ event.


For weeks now I’ve been getting breathless emails from our school about  S of C, referring to the DL as “His Holiness,” and generally going on about this life-changing opportunity.  As promised, my fifth grader was taken by yellow bus to have her life changed.


Granted, Tigger had a bad attitude about it from the start.  “Oh, we’re going to see the DALAI LAMA and talk about COMPASSION.  (eye roll) I’m so excited.”  (Have I mentioned the attack of adolescence?)  When she was returned to me I searched her face for signs of change.  Her face had changed all right.  She’d drawn cat features on herself with markers.  (I don’t think I can blame the DL for that, it happened later in the day.) But she immediately commenced verbally poking her sister into screeching frustration, so I don’t think those seeds have sprouted yet.


Tig told me the event involved sitting in the Key Arena (take that, Sonics!  We don’t need no stinking basketball team…we’ve got the Dalai Lama!) with thousands of other children for “way too long.”  First there was a choir, which they could see way down there but couldn’t hear.  Then there was the DL.  “I couldn’t hear anything he said, but they put the words up on a big screen.”  If she got anything out of it she wouldn’t admit it, and the kid next to her fell asleep while the DL talked.  (You’d think the Key Arena would have better production values.  No wonder the Sonics are leaving.)


Then those thousands of children had to be picked up by hundreds of buses.  Tigger’s class had left their lunches on their bus, and by the time it made its way to the front of the line at 2:00, the hungry children had eaten their chaperones.  Compassionately, I’m sure. 


Not that I have anything against the DL, or Buddhism, or Tibet, and I’m a big fan of compassion, but the whole thing struck me as a wee bit overhyped.  And I wonder if the children would have been taken to see, say, the Pope, had he been in town and talking to kids about some innocuous value.  And would the school refer to the Pope as “His (whatever the Pope is called)-ness?” 


And what’s with the rock-star bit for a religious leader anyway? 




  1. Very astute. 🙂  The Pope is going to be in New York, next weekend, at the same time that my daughter’s orchestra will be there for a competition, and the main concern was weather or not the pope’s visit would snarl traffic and prevent the kids from doing all their activities.  No one proposed any life-changing pope sighting, LOL.

  2. Taylor Swift (17-year-old country star) is coming to my son’s high school to go to the prom with some lucky redneck because she’s so busy and famous she didn’t get to go to hers.  But the principal is keeping it low-key. It’s not even on the website. Thank you, Mr. Hyche.Thing two is mortified at the horrid combo of MTV and Country.  He’s pretty much a classic rock / contemp. jazz / classical lover. He will be glad when it’s over.

  3. I would go through a lot of hassle to go see HH.  I’m not into rock stars or movie stars… There are so few people in the “public eye” who do the “right” thing. At least HH stands for good ideas. I do think it was wasted on fifth graders, though.   I doubt they have the kind of perspective to properly appreciate the scope of what the man represents (except your brilliant enlightened child of course)

  4. Well, the Pope is always out pushing his memes so he’s not as exciting. And Rome is European and Tibet is more exotic.  Perhaps that is what was going through the school systems collective brain.  Plus the pope would tell people not to use birth control and how to vote in ways that would not be useful to the general population.  Both do have cool robes though. 

  5. Does the Dalai Lama have a “Daliai Mobile” like the Pope has a “Pope-Mobile”? I don’t think you’ve really reached superstardom until you have a special mode of transportation built for you.
    By the way, I remain in slack jawed amazement that the Sonics are moving from Seatle to Oklahoma City. I hope they like dust and tornadoes.

  6. DL’s got the whole Sean Connery thing going on – good looking older man with colorful robes  Much more photogenic than some crusty old German with a funny hat.
    But seriously, there is a double-standard but it’s one that makes sense.  The DL’s message is likely some sort of innocuous and insubstantive “be nice” shtick intended for a wide audience.  He’s not aiming to convert his audience to his particular brand of faith.  The Pope (or most any other Christian leader) on the other hand come armed with a “Come to Jesus” message in one form or another – this sort of thing has no place in school curricula.   The only exception I can come up with is Mother Teresa – similar sort of rock star status but not much of one for world tours.

  7. The previous Pope actually did have a huge teenage following (at least among European Catholic teens.)  I guess this one is still waiting to unleash his full charm.

  8. The Dalai Lama is a religious leader, and has no place in a non-religious school.  I’m surprised you didn’t protest, especially since Tigger wasn’t interested in seeing him anyway.  Weren’t any of the other parents unhappy about this?

  9. Sorry your Sonics deserted you. I’m surprised that Tigger wasn’t just glad to get a pass out of class. My kids would sit through almost any assembly if it meant missing Honors English.

  10. See, I would have gotten all over-reactive and stewed up about this too.    Just like I did when the PTA proposed having a religious abstinence “specialist” (WTF is that??) speak at the elementary school.  To 8 and 9 and 10 year-olds.  But anyway, I think the Pope is “his Holiness” also.  As an aside, it might have been interesting to hear the DL speak, but not with thousands of hungry young children.

  11. I’m not getting in crowds to see anyone.   I am Catholic and should be excited about the Pope visiting, but all the hype turns me off.    We were in Dallas when Pope John visited there and I saw hundreds of young people get very excited about it.     I wonder if his visit impacted their lives after that.     

  12. Not to be all persecuted-Christian, but you’re right about the double standard.  I’d like to see how many parents went berserk, if the kids were taken to see Billy Graham (wait he might be REALLY old now. . .his son maybe?).

  13. I am far too antisocial to ever encourage anyone, including teenage children, to attend any event with that many people.  I have a horror of crowds and waiting that has kept me away from malls for years, much less concerts, fairs and visiting religious icons.

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