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It was an honour to meet his Holiness, the Dalai Lama.

I could say so much about the experience, but this photo captures the essence.

Behind his legend lies a tenderness that is humbling. You can’t but open up about your suffering, and be inspired to relieving the suffering of others.

As one of 15 Fellows at the Compassionate Leaders Summit, we all came with presentations about the work we do and a question about the complexity of social change.

In his presence, our presentations became deeply personal: The heartbreak of exile, the tragic loss of family members, despair in the face of injustice. He held it all.

It’s worth bearing in mind who this man is fabled to be. According to Tibetan Buddhism, The Dalai Lama is the Bodhisattva of Compassion. A Bodhisattva is a being that has forgone their own enlightenment until all beings are freed from suffering. This is his 14th reincarnation.

To entertain this idea, even just to know that he takes that seriously, is to be invited into a mysterious depth that inspires us to become a greater version of ourselves.

I’ll leave you with a little-known fact that the Dalai Lama meditates from 3am to 7am, every single day. In the quiet hours of night, he recites this mantra, from the 7th Century sage, Shantideva:

“As long as space endures

And as long as sentient beings remain,

Until then, may I too remain

To help dispel the misery of the world.”

He invited us to begin our day with this mantra, so we can begin the slow process of turning toward others.

I’m passing on his invitation.

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