The Dalai Lama is at the world renowned Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, for treatment of a prostate condition.
He is expected to make a full recovery but will take about a month off after his treatment in the United States.
Why is everyone so excited?
The Dalai Lama is not the name of a person. Rather, it is a title given to the spiritual leader of Tibet. But, since 1959, he has had to live in exile. He has become world renowned for his philosophy, and for his efforts to promote peace and understanding while in exile.
This man (his given name is Tenzin Gyatso) is the 14th Dalai Lama, and is revered in many parts of the world.
In 2007, he visited Ithaca, New York, about an hour from where I live. I wasn't able to see him in person, but crowds of upward of 5,000 people attended talks he gave. In one talk, he said, according to the Syracuse, New York newspaper:
"Living, sentient beings -- animals, birds, insects, human beings -- all
have the right to survive and carry on their life," the Dalai Lama told
a sold-out audience at Cornell University's Barton hall. "All have a
right to peace."
Which brings me to my memory of the sacred sand painting.
I, among many others, were honored to be able to see a beautiful work
of art constructed in his honor at the Herbert Johnson Museum of Art on
the Cornell campus. Two mandelas, temporary, sacred sand paintings used as an aid to meditation and for healing purposes, were constructed by local monks.
My spouse, then-teenaged son, and I arrived hours before the work was to be completed, and were able to see the monks work on them. I don't have pictures, possibly because photography may not have been allowed.
There is something about sand paintings that is so fascinating, because they are meant to be temporary. They are a sacred art form. Their building starts with an opening ceremony. They are worked on with great patience and prayer.
The Dalai Lama, during his visit to see the mandelas, blessed them.
were destroyed days after the visit, as nothing in this world
is permanent. A parade was held in a type of closing ceremony to carry the sand to a local river. There, the sand was deposited. The healing properties were meant to disperse into the river and bring healing to the world.
Peace. Healing. Such a simple concept. But so difficult to obtain.
Will our world ever attain it?
Have you ever seen a sand painting built?