By Candia Ludy
Special to The Commercial Appeal
“The purpose of our life needs to be positive. We weren’t born with the purpose of causing trouble, harming others.” — His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Three years ago this month, His Holiness the Dalai Lama received the International Freedom Award from the National Civil Rights Museum here in Memphis.
During his two-day visit to Memphis, the Dalai Lama gave a public talk on “Developing Peace and Harmony.”
The founder of Pema Karpo Meditation Center in Memphis, Khenpo Gawang Rinpoche, made a commitment to honor the visit of His Holiness by creating an annual festival of peace and harmony.
This year’s Memphis Peace and Harmony Days festival will be held Sept. 21-23 at the Pema Karpo Meditation Center, 3921 Frayser Raleigh Road.
We are inviting all faith leaders in Memphis to join us during this time in generating calmness and peacefulness with peace-cultivating prayers, practices, retreats, sermons, teachings or events.
In his book “The Art of Happiness,” the Dalai Lama, for many the face of Tibetan Buddhism, says, “We cannot overcome anger and hatred simply by suppressing them. We need to actively cultivate the antidotes to hatred: patience and tolerance. … When you are engaged in the practice of patience and tolerance, in reality, what is happening is you are engaged in a combat with hatred and anger.”
Yes, we humans have many deep rooted and strong habitual patterns that suggest the last thing we could be is compassionate, wise, kind and loving. Peace and harmony within ourselves, our families and our communities can seem beyond reach like a fairy tale told to those who are young or foolish.
But according to the teachings of Buddha, all this trouble is the result of being confused about our true nature. At the heart of Buddhism is the belief that being born a human is a precious gift to be used for the benefit of all beings.
Buddhism believes that the basic ground nature of us all is intrinsic and so impossible to lose, and it is good; it is compassion, wisdom, loving kindness and peace.
The tools of meditation, both resting and contemplative, can be used to first see and then explore these habitual patterns that cause so much harm, bringing suffering in its many forms to ourselves and to those around us.
We can do as the Dalai Lama recommends and turn any situation around, looking for the commonalities, the positive aspects, the antidotes, and the ways to come together. We can start by being kinder to ourselves and those around us, believing in and looking for the way that does not cause harm.
We all share a common wish to be happy and not to suffer.
Memphis Peace and Harmony Days
The Pema Karpo Meditation Center is sponsoring a series of events to mark Memphis Peace and Harmony Days, established after the Dalai Lama visited Memphis in 2009.
Sept. 21: Members of an interfaith panel, led by Khenpo Gawang Rinpoche from Pema Karpo Meditation Center, will discuss how their faith practices peace. Followed by meditation, prayer and contemplation for peace. 7-9 p.m. at PhoDa Temple, 3943 Hawkins Mill Road.
Sept. 22: Chants and meditations for peace, 7-9 p.m., at PhoDa Temple.
Sept. 23: Peace walk starting at 7 p.m. at Sleepy Hollow Park in Bartlett.
For more information visit memphispeaceandharmony.org.
Candia Ludy has been a student of Buddhism for more than 30 years, studying with Tibetan, Shambhala, and Zen Buddhist teachers.