Buddhist Monk Meets Humble Servant?

Jack Has Many Friends
Jack Has Many Friends

Do you challenge yourself each and every day? To learn, to grow, to stretch?

So Wednesday I fly from Orlando to Bloomington, Indiana, home of Indiana University, and site of the Leadership workshop I conducted on Thursday. But because the departing flight was so early, I waited until I unpacked at the hotel to go for a 30-minute run around campus.

Enter the Dalai Lama.

He was at Indiana University to speak. Outside the building, many visitors were mixing and mingling. Two TV cameras on tripods were taping “interviews”.

One Monk was sitting quietly on a bench, reading. Politely asking if I could speak with him, we engaged in a 15-minute conversation. He had just come from Nepal a week earlier. Our conversation was casual, easy, respectful.

Perhaps it was my accent, coupled with my ignorance – my depth of Buddhist understanding is quite shallow, so I asked, “What’s at the very center of Buddhism?”

It took several minutes to explain the question’s intent, including sharing, “At the center of my Christian beliefs is Jesus, Love.”

He thought for a brief moment and said, “Compassion.”

I exclaimed, “Like Love!”

Rigzin Monk, Indiana University, May 12
Rigzin Monk, Indiana University, May 12

My New Friends Humble Me

My Other Two Friends
My Other Two Friends

We travel through life, day after day, going through the motions. This is something most humans have in common.

As I sit here in the Indianapolis airport, reflecting back on the past few days, one of the highlights was meeting Rigzin Monk, a Buddhist Monk from Nepal. We spoke for about 15 minutes.

Another highlight, was spending hours talking with a fellow professional speaker. He should be dead. He lost 175 pounds. His son has special needs. He likes to take long walks – and we took one last night.

Neither my friend nor Rigzin Monk will ever read this, but that won’t stop the humility from washing over me.