Compassion in Action: Meeting the Dalai Lama



Compassion in Action: Meeting the Dalai Lama

In mid March, a select group of Dalai Lama Fellows convened in Dharamsala, India for an in-person meeting with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama to discuss the topic of compassionate leadership. For the Fellows, all leading social change projects around the world, it was a unique opportunity to seek the Dalai Lama's wisdom to integrate into their work.


This event was a dream come true,” says Stephen Ogwenoa Fellow working to mitigate non-communicable diseases in sub-Saharan Africa. 


A particular highlight for Ogweno and the other Fellows was being in direct conversation with the Dalai Lama, who responded to their questions with his characteristic wisdom and charisma, says Ogweno. 


“The Dalai Lama provided such a distilled message that struck to the core of all human conflicts and challengesthat we have a shared humanity, and that even in adversity we can and should strive to find instances for joy and transformation.”  


The meeting represents a significant milestone in Ogweno’s leadership journeyhe says, highlighting the transformative power of compassion in driving positive change. 


From this life-transforming and uplifting trip," says Ogweno"I am carrying with me practical lessons to continue to put compassion to action, to transfer and share the lessons from this experience to my workplaces and with colleagues, and to continue to offer [what we learned] about compassion, culture, and meditation.”  


Seventeen Dalai Lama Fellows were joined by DLF staff and affiliates from UVA's Contemplative Sciences Center, the University of Colorado Boulder's Renée Crown Wellness InstituteStanford University’s Office of Religious & Spiritual Life and the Stanford Storytelling Project. Faculty from UVA's Batten School of Leadership & Public Policy and School of Medicine also joined the delegation.  

The event was deeply impactful for all members of the 80-person trip, says Anthony DeMauro, CSC’s Associate Director of Dalai Lama Fellows. 


He says Dalai Lama Fellows aims to create spaces for contemplation, cultural exchange, and an integration of work and play as means for social change. 


I believe we were able to create such a space for all who attended, and it felt like a real re-energizing for the fellowship. Not only were we moved by the Dalai Lama’s presence and wisdom, but the weeklong event also allowed for everyone to experience the essence of the Dalai Lama Fellows program through the radiance of the Fellows and their commitment to making the world a better place in contemplative and creative ways. 


"The Dalai Lama is a living example of the fellowship'theme of compassion in action, so we have so much to learn from him about how to integrate contemplation with activism and social change," DeMauro says. 


In addition to meeting with the Dalai Lama, the group participated in various cultural learning experiences such as a sacred kora walk around the Dalai Lama Temple, seeing Tibetan folk music and dance at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts, and visiting the Tibetan Children's Village, a boarding school for displaced Tibetans. 


Marty Krasney, founder of DLF and CSC Advisory Board member says“None of us who had the good fortune to participate will ever be the same.”  


Learn more at the links below which include summaries of the event. 

By Ellen Daniels with Stephen Ogweno