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Interview With The Dalai Lama In New Zealand

Mike King Interviews The Dalai Lama/ ‘How To Live A Good Life’

On the 5th December, 2009, the Dalai Lama gave an address in downtown Auckland’s Vector Arena to somewhere between 6,000 to 10,000 people. My daughter had very kindly given me two tickets to see the Dalai Lama on this day. I remember the date, because it was her birthday. And so I attended the Dalai Lama’s address on peace and the Buddhist way of life. I also went back the following day to hear the continuation of his talk.

Last night, on Maori Television New Zealand, the 4th May, 2011, my memory of this memorable occasion was refreshed by Mike King’s interview with the Dalai Lama. All lovers of the Dalai Lama should check this interview out. It is an informal interview, informative and amusing: The Dalai Lama sits comfortably with Mike King, chatting about the Buddhist way of life, how we can attain happiness, and how he sees himself as the leader of Tibetan Buddhism.

He told Mike King that he is just a simple monk, and went on to say that, although some people believed he was endowed with healing powers, that he was sure that this wasn’t true.. He told the story about how he had recently had his gall bladder out, because it was such a problem and “make trouble”…….. “You see…..that shows that I have no healing powers”, and then he began to chuckle at his joke.

New Zealanders will remember Mike King from some of our local programmes. I think he has become most well known for his work in animal rights. He really ‘stuck his neck out’ to defend the rights of caged chickens and penned-up pigs, which really have a very awful, painful and sad life, never seeing the light of day or a blade of grass.

Mike King broke into a pig farm to take photos of the pigs who were in a very poor and neglected state. He used this footage as evidence of animal neglect to make documentaries which were screened on our nation-wide television. His documentaries, which promote kindness to animals and respect for their needs, have helped to educate people, and to get government to change laws so that animals can lead better lives.

Mike King asked the Dalai Lama what he thought about animal welfare, and how animals should be treated. The Dalai Lama replied that although animals have a less developed intelligence than human beings, they still have the same desire for happiness that we do. They still experience the same fear and pain which we do. He said that an animal has the right to survive without suffering, just as we do.

Mike King introduced the interview with the Dalai Lama by explaining how he had come to be interested in the spiritual way of life: He had a stroke not too long ago which had caused him to be paralysed for quite some time. This stroke of ‘bad luck’ had given him the opportunity to examine his inner self, and look at a more spiritual way of life.

The Dalai Lama spoke about how to lead a spiritual way of life to Mike King at the interview: He stressed that compassion and keeping positive were very important. “A calm mental state makes all reality seem more clear….Makes you more realistic…… A disturbed mental state makes everything look negative…..even the things you love and the people you love look bad when you are negative and angry…..your mind gets affected…..you cannot see the thing objectively……..you need to pay more attention to the inner self….”

He spoke about money and satisfaction and comfort as being transitory things which do not ultimately bring happiness in themselves. He mentioned music, and drama and movies as bringing some satisfaction, but explained that these were sensory illusions which are do not bring lasting happiness in themselves.

He talked about desire, and that, while desire can bring effort, which is a good thing, too much desire can lead to greed and bring a lot of anxiety.

He said: “It is important to make your mental experience much stronger. The deeper spiritual experience is lasting, whereas the pleasure which sensory things give is not.”…… “Developing a sense of compassion and warm-heartedness, – having more sense of concern for others – all these things help to breed self-confidence, which builds inner strength.”

Maoridom honoured the noble dignitary with a special customary greeting at the Vector Arena, which I thought was great, especially since our Prime Minister John Key had declined to even meet the Dalai Lama. We saw a clip of Maori Ngati Whatua welcoming the Tibetan Buddhist leader onto the stage at the Auckland venue. The Dalai Lama afterward added some humour to the aspect of the tribal dance which had greeted him onto the stage: He said that this way of greeting a guest……. ‘brings an atmosphere……….carry stick………face no smile……..a little bit frightened………’., which brought laughter from the large Vector audience.

In the past, David Lange, Helen Clark, and Sir Edmund Hillary have honoured the Dalai Lama on his visits here. Mike King asked the question many of us had asked at the time: “If the famous dignitary was good enough for these people, why was he not good enough for John Key?”……However, despite there being no formal greeting from our government, the Dalai Lama was allowed to fly the Tibetan flag on his car, and was given full ministerial protection for the duration of his stay here in New Zealand.

The great spiritual leader was asked about his feelings towards China: China overtook Tibet when the Dalai Lama was only about six years old. Many Buddhists were killed, and their monasteries destroyed. The Dalai Lama was spirited away to Great Britain, which is the only reason he is alive today. He still campaigns for a ‘Free Tibet’, although he said at the interview with Mike King that ‘he had no political agenda to discuss’ He is still the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, but has recently stepped down, only about two weeks ago, as the exiled political leader of Tibet.

The Dalai Lama was asked how it is that he has no anger at the occupation of Tibet by the Chinese, or about the suffering they endured. He explained that he bears no animosity towards the Chinese because “They are lacking in self-confidence and truthfulness…..In long run – they will suffer…..Truth, honesty….everything comes back…….”

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