Dalai Lama and his Italian voice

Dalai Lama, citizen of honour of  Florence, Peace Nobel Prize awardee, is in Florence today!

I am not an official citizen of honor anywhere but I am trying to live a life of honour. Dalai Lama’s presence here means a lot to me. I feel less lonely, less misunderstood, while in my Patagonia, in the middle of me undoing the works of past despair and homelessness.

Dalai Lama is here to inaugurate the Festival of religions. He returns to Florence after 18 years since the last visit in 1999.

I catched a part of the inaugurative discussion online. At this discussion, moderated by Monica Maggioni , the president of Rai, were also present :  Padre Enzo Bianchi – founder of the Ecumenical Community of Bose, Izzedin Elzir -the Imam of Florence and president of the Italian Islamic Community, Joseph Weiler –  lawyer and dean of the European University Institute.

The essential message was that diversity is not bad and we should not fight against  anyone just because they are different but understand them 🙂 If I put it very lightly.

What caught my attention as well was the interpreter! And so I was once again marvelled at the importance of language in understanding each other. Interpretes for me a like magicians. They make worlds come together just by understanding, in a profound way, the magic of words.


The second part of the meeting was a sit down discussion started by the mayor of Florence Dario Nardella who, among other ideas, asked us not to forget the work of a great italian journalist, Tiziano Terzani. Tiziano Terzani? His books saved my soul while working in China! I hold his stories so close to my heart. His humanitarian work is of fundamental importance.


The interpreter did such a great job by creating a fluent, storytelling like, discourse. The way he caught the main idea of everything said and put it into a context was beautiful to listen. I could not find his name anywhere. I guess that is the destiny of interpreters, to be invisible as persons but indispensable as voices.


While the interpreter was talking, his Holiness Dalai Lama was trying to make jokes with the mayer!

Dalai Lama pleaded for a world created by a sense of oneness among religions, nations, cultures. He also underlined the importance of knowing  and understanding our emotions so as to create internal peace. That would also reflect later in living in peaceful families. He believes that education is of empirical significance for the human understanding and dialog.

After his discourse, Dalai Lama took a series of questions. The people wanted to know about donation of human organs, if it is good, about technology and disconnection, Alzheimer, how to answer to an angry person.An art teacher asked how can she integrate into her work with children more compassion, understanding etc. Dalai Lama said “I don’t know, you are the teacher!”


If you can see in the picture above, there is another man behind the interpreter. I was wondering what is his role, he only stood there listening. I thought that he is observing if the interpreter is transmitting a clear and precise message. A few moments later I got the answer. The italian interpreter translated a question from the public and the Dalai Lama did not understand something. In that moment the silent man spoke it into Lama’s native language. What a beautiful game language is! One thought can be expressed in so many languages and never lose its essence.

Towards the end, Dalai Lama asked jokingly for compassion, he had to head towards Pisa.

I want to leave you also with this thought: It is possible to live or work under all kinds of conditions and still be peaceful inside if you get in touch with your heart. Listen to that voice and try to bring peace wherever you are.Talk for yourself and for your history, your country, your culture.

If Dalai Lama, a human being essentially can do it, we all can.

“Prima di addormentarmi, penso sempre per qualche minuto. Penso alla gente in Tibet. A quello che sta soffrendo, al suo dolore. E mentalmente recito una preghiera di ringraziamento per essere libero. Un rifugiato, ma libero. Che può parlare per il suo popolo e cercare di alleviarne le sofferenze.”  (Dalai Lama)

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