Last week I was fortunate enough to attend the symposium at Emory University on The Creative Journey, a Conversation with Artists. This was part of what was called "THE VISIT" of His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama. Also attending this event with His Holiness were his friends Richard Gere and Alice Walker.
During the introduction, I learned the Emory-Tibet Partnership was founded in 1998. In October, 2007, His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited Emory and was installed as Presidential Distinguished Professor, and surprisingly thiis is the only appointment he has accepted outside of India!! This was his 4th visit to Emory University. Read more about the Emory-Tibet Partnership here.
To say I looked forward to this is an understatement, in fact I had these tickets for a full six months before the event!
While His Holiness is very hard to understand, his laugh is infectious. I have always been struck by the serenity and joy that seems to always surround him. The question put to the panel was "do arts have a role in deepening compassion?"
Surprisingly, there is no word in the Tibetan language that is equivalent to creativity. In Eastern Philosophy, one is not looking for dreams, but clarity.
I'm not sure the question was really answered, but I wrote down some statements made by the participants and wanted to share them. Some are exact quotes, and some summaries.
"When freedom is suppressed, so is creativity". His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He also stated it is human nature to feel compassion, but we must remember we are social animals.
In Western Philosophy, it has long been held that creativity comes from torment. However, in Eastern philosophy it is believed creativity comes from balance. Which do you prefer? Personally, I prefer to believe creativity comes from balance.
Alice Walker said when she began writing poetry. she felt it had to be written from sadness and torment. But she has moved progressively towards happiness. According to her, art is a great medicine, and by developing a vision, it has given her incredible joy that has continued growing.
"Pay more attention to your inner world!!!" - His Holiness The Dalai Lama - (I added the explanation points, because I felt it was an emphatic statement from His Holiness issued as a compassionate command).
"You must learn to have joy in the struggle" - His Holiness The Dalai Lama
"We need to band together to make things change. Don't look to our supposed leaders" - Richard Gere
"I think in this country we have the illusion that things are okay...we are drowning in mediocrity" - Richard Gere
"I am here for a reason and there is a purpose for my life. That is why there is such joy in my heart" - Alice Walker
"Creativity is about storytelling. There are many ways to tell a story." Richard Gere
"In the process of learning, we should not just copy what the book says. We must analyze the subject and think more" - His Holiness The Dalai Lama
"Impermanence is reality." His Holiness The Dalai Lama.
Impermanence is a reoccuring them in Eastern philosophy, which is demonstrated with the paintstaking building of the sand mandala, only to be destroyed upon completion. If you have never one built, click HERE.
I have to admit, I have digested all of this over a week. I feel there is a correlation between arts, spirtituality and compassion. I'd like to hear more about what other think, or what those that were there thought. I appreciate any and all comments
CLICK HERE for a short video which is a short synopsis of the event.