The Hub is getting a big dose of spirituality this week thanks to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, who kicked off his three-day tour Sunday with a lecture at The Boston Marriott Copley Place.
As thousands of hushed guests hung on the whispered words of the exiled spiritual leader, it seemed obvious that Bostonians are interested in looking inward and finding peace.
The Dalai Lama's talk, entitled "Beyond Religion: Ethics, Values, & Wellbeing," advised guests to focus on compassion, forgiveness, and education as a means to ending ignorance which can lead to violence.
"I believe the basic nature of human beings is mindful, and the source of our trouble is ignorance," he said.
Each one of us, he said, should feel we have the potential to have compassion, and to also make a positive change in the world.
"The ultimate source of peace is here," he said, putting his hand over his heart.
Throughout the two-hour event, the Dalai Lama coaxed smiles and laughter from the audience by cracking a few jokes and inspiring with his infectious belly laughs.
"His laugh is incredible. I was more inspired by his laugh than anything else, just because you could get a very real sense of his compassion and self content," said Bryan Kapicka, as he emerged from Sunday's lecture.
Kapicka attended the lecture with a group of his MIT friends. When Metro asked one of them, Kaia Lai, whether Boston was "Zen friendly," or conducive to an atmosphere of mindful spirituality, she said that location has very little to do with it.
"Zen is a state of mind, it's not the place you're in," said Lai, who was raised a Buddhist. "There are certain distractions that will be different within different places, but at the end of the day if it's not something that initiates in yourself, you're not going to be Zen in the place you are."