News and Tribune


May 21, 2013

BEAM: Lama, lama, tries to teach mama

Having goose bumps must be a requisite for enlightenment. It’s Monday and I’m attending His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s public teachings at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville. 

Due to the intense air conditioning, my fingers cramp from the cold air. Perhaps the lamas are trying to recreate the climate of Mt. Everest to further our studies. 

For the first time, someone has trusted me with press credentials. This in and of itself is an act of compassion, seeing I have a tendency to stalk celebrities. Richard Gere was rumored to be coming. I promised to not run to him and jump into his arms in an attempt to re-enact the final scene from “An Officer and a Gentleman.” Of course, I said nothing about “American Gigolo,” so there may be some trouble yet if he is spotted. 

Only maybe 40 feet away, more than 50 Buddhist monks and nuns have taken the stage in their brightly colored robes. In an insanely bottomless baritone, a man joins other lamas chanting mystical mantras. His voice is otherworldly, almost to the point of being frightening. The powerful throb of his vibrato almost quakes the arena.

When his Holiness arrives and takes his place on a throne straight out of 14th century Asia, the other lamas begin to prostrate themselves in his presence. Their palmed hands follow a ritual, quickly stopping before their foreheads, throats and hearts not unlike the sign of the cross made by Catholics. Body, speech and mind are purified in this way. 

You’d think my writing might benefit from the good karma, but as you can tell, so far this has not been the case.

Due to my covering of the events leading up to the Dalai Lama’s visit, I have begun calling the religious leader His Holiness. Go on. You may laugh. I’m used to the suffering. According to Buddhist theology, it’s constant you know. 

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