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Monday, May 11, 2009

Head Coach of the Boston Buddhists (5/2/09)

Boston was fortunate enough to host His Holiness the Dalai Lama for four days recently, the latest installment in a 10 year tradition that now includes an annual conference on Buddhism and the Science of Mind. This year’s events also included an outdoor public address at Gillette Stadium. I attended the latter event for two reasons – to see and hear the Dalai Lama, and to make some computer RNG recordings of the crowd. I thought that 20,000 people in a state of quiet heartfelt attention might cause some significant blips in the computer recordings.

To be honest, I planned poorly in several ways. For starters, I waited until two weeks before the event to order my tickets and by that time all the inexpensive stadium level seats had been sold. All that was left were the VIP and near-VIP seats at ground level. So I dug deep and paid $75 for tickets that would put me only 10 rows away from HHDL. In football lingo, these seats were not only “on the 20 yard line”, they were ”ON the 20 yard line”, right in front of his mid-field ceremonial speaking platform.

Also, I didn’t reckon with the high level of security at the event. Turns out that no electronic equipment larger than a camera was allowed inside the stadium, which meant that I couldn’t smuggle in my RNG laptop. I opted for the arrangement below, in my car in the parking lot (the PC is posed on the roof for this photo, but it was locked inside during the talk).

I turned on the program and headed back to the stadium, unsure whether the corwd’s vibes would spread an additional 100 yards out to the parking lot. As I walked back towards the entrance, I was struck by the clusters of Tibetan people in attendance, many in beautiful ceremonial clothing, and sitting in clusters for picnic lunches before the afternoon session. The depth of their devotion was obvious.

The talk was great, for he is a wonderful human being with a contagious laugh, speaking about such topics as the importance of a mother’s love for every human being, and the impact of compassion on our brain structure (he both teaches and learns at those conferences). He sought protection from the Spring sunshine by donning a New England Patriots cap; this photo of his image on the Jumbotron screen makes him look like just any other football coach, though his team – the Boston Buddhists – is in a league of their own.

I was struck by his answers to the written questions from the audience. He said that all humans deserve to be relieved of suffering, even the Chinese. What better way of illustrating the triviality of sports rivalries – we have trouble seeing the humanity of the Yankees, who are our opponents in a game, yet he can see the humanity of people who are actually committing murder and genocide.

I was sitting close enough to the dais that I was in the small group given pieces of paper to write questions. I asked about competitive sports and compassion – since we were in a stadium that often sees 55,000 people cheer when heads get knocked, I wondered how he viewed that huge expenditure of emotional energy. But apparently my intentionality mojo wasn’t in full force, as my question didn’t get asked. Still it was a great day. I’m waiting for the analysis of the RNG data – my guess is that the moments when he entered and left the stadium will show coherence peaks at least as high as “Sweet Caroline” created in Fenway last year!


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The Joy of Sox: Weird Science and the Power of Intention is produced by 2 Cousins Productions and Pinch Hit Productions. © 2006 The Joy of Sox Movie LLC. For more information, contact info@thejoyofsoxmovie.com.

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