Source: The Buddhist Channel/The Boston Globe
After a drizzly and overcast morning, the sun broke through the clouds over Gillette Stadium yesterday moments before the Dalai Lama stepped onto the turf, as if on cue.
People rose from their seats, greeting the 73-year-old spiritual and political leader with a mix of reverent silence and cheers. "You rock, Lama!" someone shouted, the call rising from a corner of the stands.
Waving cheerfully, the Dalai Lama mounted a stage and settled into an armchair facing a troupe of young dancers. With a flourish, he produced something cherry red - a Patriots hat, projected onto the end-zone video scoreboards - and waved it in the air. Thousands cheered as he tugged the cap onto his famously shaved head.
"Good afternoon, dear brothers and sisters," the Tibetan Buddhist leader said, as adulation gave way to hushed attention. Legs crossed, hands clasped, he spoke of shared dreams and desires. "Emotionally, mentally, physically, we are same . . . Everyone have the same right to achieve happy life."
The Dalai Lama's afternoon address was about the path to peace and happiness; in the morning, he gave a lesson about the teachings of Buddha and The Four Noble Truths. To each lesson, the reaction from the crowd was the same: sustained silence. Serenity, even.
"You know what the strange thing is? You've been to Gillette Stadium before? It's quiet in there," said Kim Hubert, 42, a nurse from Marshfield, as she made her way through the crowded concourse, where people waited in long but patient queues for concessions and restrooms. "It's surreal. Even the kids in there are quiet."
The crowd of 15,935 ticket-holders was diverse - Buddhist and non-Buddhist, young and old, clad in hemp and Oxford cloth, sweaters and sandals, flowing robes and fleece. But many cited the same reason for coming: the chance to be close to, and learn from, a singular figure.