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Students share experiences of meeting Dalai Lama

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  • Bob Gould
    Students share experiences of meeting Dalai Lama Office of Tibet, New York Friday, October 29, 2004 NEW YORK, October 28 - On September 18 His Holiness the
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 1, 2004
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      Students share experiences of meeting Dalai Lama

      Office of Tibet, New York
      Friday, October 29, 2004

      NEW YORK, October 28 - On September 18 His Holiness the Dalai Lama had a
      private meeting with five students of Nova Southeastern University, Florida.

      Commenting on that meeting in The Knight, NSU newsletter, Dean Brad A.
      William, who was with the students, wrote, "One by one the students made me
      proud to be their Dean by asking rich, meaningful, and poignant questions."

      "I will never forget the Dalai Lama's closing remarks. For a moment, his
      normal warm smile became an intense and purposeful look as he slowly began
      to gesture to each student. I am 69 years old,' he shared. I belong to the
      20th century. But you [pointing to the students], you are of the 21st
      century and this century belongs to you. Do what you can to make a
      difference. You could have heard a pin drop," the Dean wrote.

      "One student appeared somewhat overwhelmed emotionally. Another confided in
      me that this had been the single most important moment in his life. For me,
      I just had this overwhelming sense of pride; pride in my students, pride in
      my school, pride in the fact that education Beyond the Classroom was
      authentic and not just a marketing slogan," the Dean concluded.

      We reproduce here the personal accounts of the students' experience:

      Shruti Salghur: This experience has helped me look forward to a bigger and
      greater life filled with hope

      It is amazing how simplicity can be powerful and complex and perceptive. The
      Dalai Lama exuded this simplicity in an overwhelming and humbling experience
      for me. Being part of the privileged few on the VIP student list that had
      the unique opportunity to personally engage the Dalai Lama himself was

      I remember the sudden gasp of breath that resonated in the stadium when the
      Dalai Lama made his initial entrance on the stage. It all seemed surreal,
      and as my eyes teared up I felt a surge of happiness and peace within me.

      With the conclusion of his serious yet entertaining address to the crowd,
      the student VIPs, including myself, made our way past the secret services
      and the security guards into a quiet room. We introduced ourselves and shook
      His Holiness' hands. We each were given the opportunity to ask a question.
      As a student with a great passion and interest for the environment, I chose
      to inquire about his views on environmental issues in the developing
      countries and the various methods that would help enhance environment

      He first stated that environmental education is a key ingredient toward
      raising environmental awareness. Second, he affirmed the need for
      understanding and taking into consideration the context in which environment
      degradation occurred. Therefore, in order to help sustain the natural
      resources, the government should play a prominent role facilitating proper
      training and education.

      While many gathered for his blessings, I sat there thinking of "what have I
      done in my short life to have deserved such an unforgettable and enduring

      Since then, the Dalai Lama's presence has continued to influence me in every
      decision that I make. This experience has helped me look forward to a bigger
      and greater life filled with hope. I want to genuinely thank Brad Williams
      and April Eldermire for making everything possible. Also, I would like to
      thank His Holiness for rejuvenating my life.

      Meena Mahkijani:: Before leaving I touched His Holiness' feet, a Buddhist
      and Hindu sign of deference, and that was an incredible honor for me to have

      The single greatest experience of my life occurred on September 18 when I
      was one of five Nova Southeastern University students selected to have an
      audience with His Holiness the fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet.

      He personally greeted each of us with great warmth and sincerity. He even
      remarked on "Tibetan dress," chuba, that I wore in his honor. The Dalai Lama
      sat in a circle with us, and wanted to know each of our names. He then posed
      to us a question that he received during the session in the main lecture.
      "What is your purpose here?"

      As a first year medical student, I asked him about how medicine, specially
      Western Medicine, can provide the elevation of others. He indicated here, as
      well as in the public speech, that it takes more than just medicine to treat
      patients. His response included the idea that as physicians, we must be well
      first, and have strong and happy spirits in order to be able to treat

      During the questions, His Holiness was extremely engaging and spirited. He
      laughed heartily and spoke directly to each of us. After the question, I
      showed him a red thread from an initiation by him that I had attended in Los
      Angeles in 1997. He blessed the thread for me. I also showed him an early
      autographed autobiography of my grandfather's, who was a diplomat of the
      Government of India in the 1960s. He was quite amazed that I had this item,
      and called over the members of his entourage to see it. They were happy to
      see it, and read the inscription that was in Tibetan, indicating the book
      was signed in 1969. His Holiness kindly signed the book for me as well.

      Before, leaving I touched His Holiness' feet, a Buddhist and Hindu sign of
      deference, and that was an incredible honor for me to have done.

      The entire experience was an absolute dream-come-true. I moved to Fort
      Lauderdale from Los Angeles less than two months ago to begin my medical
      education at NSU, and to be so lucky to have such an experience so early is

      Farheen F. Parvez:: I will always remember to smile, and if people don't
      smile back, I will smile again

      As I walked through campus, I noticed flyers and posters about the
      visitation of his Holiness the fourteenth Dalai Lama. I had heard of him
      before, but I was not exactly sure who he was or why he was famous. I was
      debating as to whether I should attend the event on September 18. Luckily, I
      was one of the very few students from NSU who was selected to meet His

      Although I was pretty much melting for an hour due to heat, I can honestly
      say that the Dalai Lama's talk was worth it. He reinforced the universal
      message of peace, contentment, anger management, and happiness.

      It did not seem to me as if he was just lecturing for the sake of saying
      something. It felt as if he was talking to me directly. When I heard His
      Holiness speak, I could relate to him personally. From my own experiences, I
      have learned that happiness does not come from anything else but true

      Although I have encountered disappointments and failures in life, I have
      learned to let things go. My mistakes and the mistakes of others have only
      made me a stronger and wiser individual.

      After His Holiness finished his talk, I had the opportunity to see him
      personally. He rose from his seat to greet each of the five students and
      Dean Brad Williams. The Dalai Lama made himself comfortable and created a
      friendly atmosphere for us. We asked him various questions, and I asked His
      Holiness who the most influential people in his life were. He thought about
      it for a few moments and told me that his mother is someone he will never
      forget because she was always there for him.

      He has deep respect for his teachers as well, and for the president of India
      that gave him refuge after he was exiled.

      His Holiness was humble and extremely kind. he had a great sense of humor,
      and his smile was definitely contagious!

      My name, Farheen, means "happiness" in Arabic. I will always remember to
      smile, and if people don't smile back, I will smile again.

      Pya Chayanuwat:: I was totally calmed and touched by his compassion and love

      I would like to express my sincere gratitude for giving me the opportunity
      to meet His Holiness the fourteenth Dalai Lama. I was nervous when I found
      out that we were going to have a private interview. However, during the
      whole interview, I was totally calmed and touched by his compassion and

      His Holiness expressed the basic human inner values that promote a happy
      successful life, which is very dependent on our own inner strength and
      self-confidence. He mentioned thatn human affection is an example that no
      matter how powerful one individual is, his or her survival and successful
      life depend on others. Especially with today's modern economy, the
      environmental issues, and the technology, our world continues to become much
      smaller. In reality, we are heavily interdependent.

      He also discussed a sense of compassion, a sense of caring, and a sense of
      concern for others. These attributes would actually widen our mind. he also
      added that happiness comes from deep down inside, and not external
      facilities or external conditions.

      Finally, if we try to increase these basic good human inner values and try
      to be a nice person, ultimately it will bring more happier days to our life.

      April Eldemire:: I left with a promise for the future

      The Dalai Lama is a person that you read about in newspapers and books. A
      person who, when talked about, is said to be one of the most revered men in
      the world. Through all of this, I have always asked questions like, "What
      would it be like to meet His Holiness?" and ""What would I say to him if I
      had the chance?" Never in a million years would I expect to get the
      opportunity, and through the efforts of President Ray Ferrero, Jr. and Dean
      of Students Brad Williams, I had the opportunity of doing just that.

      Most of the morning was a blur. I met with four other students in front of
      Goodwin Residence Hall, and drove to the VIP section of campus. Traffic was
      a challenge, and so we arrived a little later than expected. We were quickly
      ushered to our seats, filled with the anticipation of what was to come.

      The Dalai Lama appeared and everyone in the crowd applauded with joy. His
      talk was captivating, and when it was over we were rushed to the Dalai
      Lama's private reception area. It was completely evident that His Holiness
      requested to speak to us specifically. To be able to bow in front of him in
      welcome and thanks was amazing. I was able to sit right next to him, ask him
      a question, and he addressed me personally. I was able to capture all of his
      features in detail and listen to him more intently. The most rewarding
      moment was when I laughed with him.

      At the end of our time, he addressed us, the students, personally. I had the
      feeling that the Dalai Lama felt he had a duty, or a calling, to meet with

      His last few words were memorable. He told us that it is now our time. It is
      our duty to live life with concern and regard for all humankind. We have a
      responsibility to love ourselves, and in turn, love others. How profound! I
      left with a promise for the future. I will remember that day forever. It was
      the greatest experience of my life.

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