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Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Went to the Dalai Lama dinner speech today. I'm on the supporters board for his visit to Tokyo. This is the second time. I think the first time was more important because he was having difficulty getting into Japan, but this year it was much easier. He's not yet as popular in Japan as he is in the US, but he is gaining greater and greater support in Japan. The dinner guests were quite an interesting cross-section of Japanese business, political, religious, academic and entertainment related society. Just like las time he was very playful and inspiring.

Today he told us that he will be visiting Ise Jingu, one of the oldest and most famous Shinto shrines. He will do the sanpai, a Shinto ceremonial visit there. He talked a lot about "Human Values" and "Religious Harmony" and "Emotional Religious Relationship." His visit to and honor of a Shinto shrine is part of this push for religious harmony. He talked about the importance of "Global Responsibility" and the necessity for everyone to realize that we are all physically and mentally the same. "Alright, maybe a BIT different physically," he conceded. But he stressed the importance of understanding the huge similarities rather than on focusing on the differences.

At the end, he took questions and answers. A young Japanese man talked about how he was trying to change the world one person at a time and how he hoped Japan would plan in important role in bringing religion and science, East and West together. He asked whether it was OK to make a movie about how the Dalai Lama was reborn in Japan to help lead this movement.

The Dalai Lama smiled and said that the Dalai Lama Institution existed only as long as the people of Tibet felt it was necessary. He has a prayer that as long as his soul was active, he would dedicate himself to helping human-kind everywhere. He said that if for some reason the people of Tibet decided that they didn't need a Dalai Lama any longer and he could find suitable parents in Japan, it was quite possible that he would be reborn in Japan to carry on his mission to help human-kind.

It was obvious that the security team and the hotel hated that he walked through the crowd instead of leaving from the back exit that they were trying to usher him to, but he worked the crowd. Better than any politician I've ever seen. His hand-shakes were obviously much more sincere than most politicians (I should compare, but the image was similar) and everyone who had shaken his hand was left kind of stunned.

One other interesting note was that he talked in Tibetan and there was a translator to Japanese... but when he got excited, he spoke in English. ;-)

Monk Matsunaga of Koyasan was at my table so it was fun to talk about how excited I from my visit to Koyasan. Matsunaga-san told me that the Dalai Lama had visited his temple in Koyasan.


I have seen and heard the Dalai Lama speak here in the US, and yes it's a treasure that we have such a kind and loving soul as him gracing the planet right now.

My only connection with the Dalai Lama is that he scores the same as I on (moderately economic liberal / social libertarian).

I think that's a good thing :)

I had the pleasure to go to this dinner as well...My favorite part was when then translator was speaking, the dalai lama was making faces to a baby in the crowd.

Grabbing one of the photo-desparate folks and bringing him onstage to pose for a picture was another great moment.

But with my luck (or was it karma?) and this being Tokyo, I happened to be seated a table where after his holiness left the women got engrossed in a discussion of local hair dye salons and the latest Louis Vuitton handbags.

Perhaps the most striking thing wasn't the things he said or what he did but to see many people crying after having a chance to touch his hand when he walked out of the room. It was completely surreal to see this happen a few feet in front of you.

So Joi, did you get the chance to ask the Dalai Lama to start blogging?

The Dalai Lama is an interesting guy. It's funny how his primary message is 'love everybody'. A lesser man's primary messge would be, "China is trashing my country. Please give generously." A more focused message, perhaps, but probably less effective in the long run. Everybody keeps saying in these marketing-obsessed times, "you gotta focus". But do you?

Did he say when he'll be visiting Ise Jingu? Maybe I can see him there...

OK forget I spoke:
Tibet News Flash; Dalai Lama's Trip to Japan
He'll be in Ise on Tuesday 4th morning, but it looks like he'll be busy :) He's giving a public talk in Nara titled "Compassion in Daily Life" Wednesday 5th "early afternoon" in Nara. This appears to be his only publich talk - does anyone know where it will be, and if English will be available in the non-excited moments? ;-)

Of all the 'religeous leaders' that i've noticed in my lifetime, the Dalai Lama has probably been the only one to really grab my attention. Thanks for the post Joi

also: good question Chris Yu..
will there be a LamaBlog soon ?
we can only hope.. ;)

I was fortunate enough to hear him speak at the big sumo auditorim Sunday. The first half of his talk was about the basics of Buddhism done in Tibetian with an English translation done by simulcast on FM radio. He paused every now and then for a Japanese interpreter to convey his words to the audience.

The second half was a sort of panel discussion with two Japanese nobel lauriate scientists (or was it one nobel prize winner and one lauriate?) a physicist and a genetics researcher. In this part he spoke English and after each section his words were translated into Japanese and the Japanese scientists responses were translated over the FM broadcast.

Personally I enjoyed the first half much more, but the cool part of the second half is how the Dalai Lama feels that a scientific understanding of ourselves and our world is important to the logical reasoned practice of Buddhism. It might be worth mentioning that Tibetan Buddhism is quite different from any of the Japanese Buddhist sects in this aspect. From what I understand the Tibetian tradition involves a great deal of debate/argument to determine "truth" whereas the Japanese tradition focuses mostly on the chanting of the sutras and the more formal aspects of the religion. Of course this is a vast oversimplification and there are major and minor schools of thought on each side which agree/disagree with each other, etc. etc. etc.

the dalai lama does eat corpse... (and not b/c he Has to for health reasons) and as george bernard shaw once said not too long ago: 'a man of spiritual intensity does not eat corpses'

the love a allistair crowley in denver,colorado

Mo betta trut

The Swuami said again, “What was your audience like, I have never met the Dalai Lama?”
“I met him near Chachyot.”
”Yes, I know of the monastery and sacred lake there.”
“I met the Dalai Lama on a hair pin curve coming from the Buddhist monastery in Chachyot near Mandi.”
“What you met on the road?”
I was lodging in Mandi on the temple square and exploring the outlands when I decided to visit the Buddhist temple in Chachyot.
Yes, I had met the Dali Lama on the road, on a blind curve, as most curves are in the Himalayas. He in his big maroon mercedes sedan and I up front, next to the lorry driver. The single track was tested, our brakes were tested and the Dali Lama’s driver was tested. By the time we got stopped there was not room for a skinny cow to pass. We both had skidded sideways to the outer edge of the road bed resting on a perch 800 meters above a tranquil valley of nested farmsteads and cropland -- bumper to bumper. I looked through the windshield onto the maroon mercedes as we backed away from a fate that only the Chinese would applaud. The Dali Lama was adjusting his robe, his assistant was speaking to the driver and the bodyguard was motioning to us to get moving. We ooched past one another and he was gone.
The Swami chuckled and said, “So -- that’s your meeting with the Dalai Lama?
"So -- you got no guidance or inspiration from you meeting?"
“I got another inspired insight. Just thinking of dying in a head-on crash with the Dalai Lama was an inspiring moment, wondering of our respective oblivions, he off to his and me to mine.”

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Joi Ito from Darius' Personal Weblog
November 3, 2003 5:13 AM

I enjoy reading Joi Ito's blog. Maybe someday I'll meet the guy - seems like the sort of guy who should be coming to my barbeques. A few days ago, he wrote this concise piece on copyright, which also includes... Read More