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The Dalai Lama

By some great good fortune I was invited to contribute to the Mind and Life Dialogue of leading experts with H.H. the Dalai Lama in September 2016. To my amazement I found myself sitting next to him, and decided to abandon my prepared speech – power-point and all – and ask him if I could talk about my current passion: what it would cost to prevent war worldwide, at local, national and international levels. When he nodded I told him the outlines of my new book – why war continues, how peace can be built, what it will cost, and who can do it. There was a standing ovation and he stood up and bowed. I thought, that’s it.

Not a bit of it. He launched into a 10 minute commentary, finishing with “We need individuals Dr. Elworthy to start to the work of preventing war. This has been my personal dream for many years.”

I wrote in my journal: “Being so close to the Dalai Lama for such a long period was a profound thrill, and left a deep impression on me – of his playfulness, his wicked sense of humour, and his repeated insistence on compassion at all times. The capacity crowds drawn to both the events with him in Brussels showed me what a vast thirst there is for his kind of common sense wisdom, noticeably among people under 40, and their deep wish to make a contribution to their communities and to the planet.”