Been having some internet problems in NY, so I've had to re-do this email about 3 times. Hope it works this time.
Our tour to Sun Studios was cancelled as we were invited to a luncheon ceremony in which the Dalai Lama was presented the International Freedom Award by the National Civil Rights Museum, aka The Martin Luther King, Jr. Museum in Memphis. The Dalai Lama spoke and was completely charming and loving. Everything he says is said with humor and a warm, good-natured chuckle. In one comment, which was dearly appreciated by me, and by Don also, he said that it was time that women took a more active role in the world. He said women are by nature more nurturing and more compassionate than men. (This is a generality, of course. Don't think of Sarah Palin, Condi Rice.) He said that many of our heroes in the past have been murderers and killers (I know many would agree with that; Tolstoy, for one). Then he asked, "Is it possible for a man to be a feminist?" When assured by some in the audience that it was possible, he said, "Then I am a feminist."
By the way, all these photos are the result of Don getting special permission to bring his camera in. No cameras were allowed at this event, although plenty of iPhone pics were snapped.
The DL talked about going to the MLK Museum and how it made him feel 2 things: sadness that such a great man had been killed; what he might have accomplished if he had had a few more years. But also hope for what MLK stood for, the change he had created, and how so many are carrying on his wishes and dreams. A woman we met later at the concert said our friend Loten was sitting at her table. When His Holiness spoke about Martin Luther King, Jr., she heard a noise and saw that 2 big tears were rolling down Loten's face.
The DL spoke a little about his recent illness and surgery. He had had his gall bladder removed. He said it was in quite a bad condition and the surgery took quite a while. He said for those who wondered if he had any healing powers, this should be 100% conclusive proof that the Dalai Lama has no power to heal himself or others. He did say that he recovered very quickly and he thought that this had something to do with his positive attitude.
Went from the private luncheon to the public talk at a quite beautiful concert hall, The Cannon Center for the Performing Arts. The DL spoke again, but did not seem quite as "on." The sound system was not as good and he was harder to hear and understand. In fact, for the first 5 minutes or so, his microphone was not close enough to his mouth and the audience could barely hear him at all. The Memphis audience was extremely polite and sat waiting patiently without a complaint. After the mike was adjusted and everyone could hear him, they broke into loud and relieved applause. His Holiness was very amused that we had all been sitting patiently although barely hearing him. He took written questions from the audience after his talk, which he answered very well. When speaking about sad subjects, the death of a child's father, his country being invaded, his sadness was apparent and palpable, although he is by nature a very cheerful being.
Lots of love,
Era and Don