After spending last week in Vancouver BC photographing the Dalai Lama -- a man who is perhaps the most tireless proponent on our planet for human kindness, compassion and nonviolence -- I am very sad to be back home, where news of America’s most recent school shooting dominates the media.
I sit at my computer, editing the pictures I shot of the Dalai Lama’s teachings and appearances last week, while my local NPR station tells me the details that are emerging about an act of gun violence at Marysville Pilchuck High School that left three young people dead and two injured.
My pictures are of the Dalai Lama, leading Tibetan Buddhist prayers for peace.
Others show him when he waded into a crowd and blew breath onto the eyes of a woman with vision problems. In another encounter, he tenderly touched the face of a boy in a wheelchair.
There are happier pictures too:
His Holiness, posing with two officers from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
And laughing at one of his own jokes during his teaching.
And speaking to a gathering of Tibetans, a Tibetan flag behind him.
And waving good-bye to me as he departed.
The Dalai Lama has written:
“Relinquish your envy, let go your desire to triumph over others. Instead try to benefit them. With kindness, with courage and confident that in doing so you are sure to meet with success, welcome others with a smile. Be straightforward. Try to be impartial. Treat everyone as if they were a close friend. I say this neither as Dalai Lama nor as someone who has special powers or ability. Of these I have none. I speak as a human being, one who like yourself wishes to be happy and not to suffer. If you cannot for whatever reason be of help to others, at least don’t harm them.”