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?