His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama made a historic visit to the University of California (UC), Berkeley on April 25, 2009.
He gave a lecture entitled “Peace Through Compassion”, and well, His Holiness embodied his teachings, walking the talk, in a supreme way. How? By befriending, years ago, the chair of the Board of the UC Regents, Richard Blum (recently featured, with his wife Senator Diane Feinstein, in the Washington Times: “Senator’s husband cashes in on crisis”).
How compassionate one has to be in order to accept a public invitation from a human being who wants to become a philanthropist but who has been struggling for 3 decades with double standards as the latest news headline shows? I have the feeling that the compassion of the Dalai Lama has to be way larger than the moral conflicts of the UC. Perhaps, only peace through compassion can help our brother Richard and our beloved universities. If I were the Dalai Lama (or Barack Obama!), I also would befriend the Blum-Feinstein couple (and even George W. Bush!). They clearly need lots of love to see the interconectedness of life. Perhaps the couple needs to find a nitche other than politics to truly serve our movement, the Great Turning.
Yet, we, the Earth Community represented by the presence and the spirit of critical thinking/feeling Berkeley students, have some questions for His Holiness. Here is some brain/heart storming of the first 10 questions (if you were the Dalai Lama, what were your responses? We would love to hear your compassionate responses!):
1. Your Holiness, if you were the Chair of the Board of the University of California Regents, what would you do to use the money of tax payers for eradicating poverty and violence in our communities and environment instead of using it for fabricating “safer nuclear weapons”?
2. It is almost inconceivable that every nuclear weapon that the U.S. has ever had, has been design by one university: the University of California. From your perspective, Your Holiness, what is the purpose of education?
3. The grand majority of the University of California Regents are not elected, they are appointed. Critical decisions have been made by some of these minds, that are NOT evil but uncontrolled. They are not only affecting the students, the staff, the faculty, the community, the state, the country but the entire World.
What would you do, Your Holiness, to democratize the UC Regents in a compassionate courageous way?
4. Your Holiness, we have two questions in one. Please imagine that you were one of the ~50 students who participated in the 9 day hunger-strike in 2007 as a protest to the so-called development of “new safer atomic bombs”. When it was your turn to talk in the public period, you asked to the Regents of the University of California: “If you were a group of students that are concerned about the future of our species and wanted to eradicate nuclear weapons from the planet, what would you do?”. The answer of one of the regents was: “If I were you, I would have a sandwich”. What would be your response to that?
The second question: If you were a group of students that are concerned about the future of our species and wanted to eradicate nuclear weapons from the planet, what would you do?
5. Your Holiness, I’d like to share some background and a question. This center, the UC Berkeley Blum Center for Developing Economies, was formed after a student protest.
On May 26, 2005, fifty UC Berkeley students interrupted a meeting of the University of California Regents to protest the Blum-URS- Los Alamos corruption. In November 2005, Blum resigned from the board of directors of URS and also divested his investment firm of about $220 million in URS stock. In April 2006, the Feinstein-Blum family made a $15 million “gift” to UC Berkeley to create this center. The corporations URS and Perini are known for doing bussines out of the war in Iraq (war profiteers). To many UC students, Richard Blum’s (husband of Senator Diane Feinstein) former stake in both corporations was clearly a conflict of interest.
Do you see, Your Holiness, the creation of this center as a redemption step or as a facade to keep profiteering from war? If it is a way to redeem, how can we encourage this behavior? If it is a facade, how can we stop it?
6. Some of us know that you see the potential in all human beings, that every one of us has the capability to contribute to the Beloved Earth Community. What would you tell, Your Holiness, to the people who say that your friendship with the elites of the corporate power in the U.S. has being used to undermine the economical/political power of China with the pretext to Free Tibet?
7. Many of us are scientists who are not against science but we are against the unethical applications of science. If we organize a forum to find a way to create an international-transparent-inclusive-collective laboratory to develop strategies and technologies that might save us from Nuclear Holocaust or the fatal destiny of the dinosaurs, would you come back to Berkeley, the place of the birth of the Free Speech Movement, to inspire us with your courage, compassion and wisdom?
9. We are moving towards a round borderless country in our evolution as human beings. We are taking lots Vitamin “P” (patience) to make it happen in this life time ;-). What would you do, as student, as a professor and as a staff in this Institution, to take the next step towards honoring diversity at the surface level and unity at the heart level?
10. Healthy food is the foundation of social justice and we know that brother Barack Obama didn’t create the movement, but the movement created the conditions for brother Barack to become an historic figure. It seems that we are not only putting the right kind of people in power, but, more importantly, we are putting the right kind of power in people. What would you do, Your Holiness, to expand the “Berkeley Buble” (healthy food, healthy enterteinment) to our brothers and sisters in Oakland?
In solidarity and service,
If you want to be a rebel, be kind. Human-kind, be both.