This is a tad later than I envisaged making this post, due to some unforseeable delays in getting back to Haddington of which I shall be informing you all in immense detail, presently.
Meanwhile, we pick up our Lama where we last left him, of the verge of addressing our congregation (unruly mob)...
After about an hour and a half of intensive photo snapping, Bethie informs me that “By the way, I would be careful, you do realise we're not allowed to take pictures.”.
Before setting him loose on us, a chap pops up briefly to reassure us that our Lama, is a Good Lama.
His Holiness is informed that that is a flowerbed. He says that it reminds him of Tibet and goes on to address us, his “brothers and sisters” telling us he is happy for the chance to be able to share his views with us. I'm still getting over the fact that I'm in the same room as OUR DEAR FAVOURITE LAMA! Bethie thinks he is “cute”. The chap sitting immediately behind the podium glances back at the Big Screen, spots himself on it and starts grinning.
I'm now seriously considering learning shorthand.
The talk begins with the subject of respecting all religions. This is somewhat ironic and amusing to me since coincidentally enough we had a speaker in our Advanced Religious Moral and Philosophical Studies class just the day before, who had a similar personal stance on the existence of God (broadly speaking Buddhists believe that since we cannot know it doesn't matter, and this chap was a humanist, which effectively means “don't know, don't care”- so both are more or less agnostic), and yet with regards to organised religion their attitudes couldn't be more different. The attitude of the humanist was really rather dismissive.
It strikes me that the Dalai Lama is doing a sterling job in a foreign language. Poor fellow, this must be exhausting. He is managing to talk quite eloquently about trust and friendship, the importance of positive emotions for health. Every so often he rotates around to address those people sitting on the stage.
I've been told before that the more important ('important' not being exactly the right word) the Buddhist leader, the less self-important they are (not that Buddhists in lower circles are at all, I'm oversimplifying in an attempt to get my muddled thoughts across) and brilliantly enough this appears to be very true of the Lama. At one point he turns and asks the boy sitting behind him;
Update 1st August: Well, that cuts out abruptly! I have honestly no idea what happened there. I distinctly remember writing more. I am sorry!