On Saturday 23rd June, a group of Charleston Academy S5/6 Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies (RMPS) students, accompanied by their RE teachers Mrs McConnachie and Mrs Mackenzie, set off to Eden Court for a once in a lifetime experience. They met up with over one hundred other students from Highland schools to spend a day with His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, who addressed a packed Eden Court Theatre. His theme was “Be What You Want ……the World to Be.”
The young people were assembled on-stage, sitting at either side of the spiritual leader of millions of Mahayanan Buddhists worldwide. His Holiness spoke of the need for inner calm and compassion towards all living things. He also stressed the need to see each other as “blood of my blood, bone of my bone working in harmony to make the 21st Century less materialistic, less self-centred.”
The event started with a film collection of “Wind Horses” with sayings and drawings connected to the theme. These were prayer flags made by primary school pupils with sayings such as “A smile costs nothing”, “Stand up and be the change” and “One person can‘t do everything but everyone can do something.” There was also a film of younger pupils each saying “We are the future.” While the youth of to-day was clearly the focus, the Dalai Lama’s message was open to all.
After His Holiness had delivered his talk, the students were invited to ask him a range of questions. “Is it ever possible to find true happiness?”, which he answered with sincerity and humour.
Then the finale, and what a finale! Everyone, including the overspill theatres and with the Dalai Lama taking centre stage, gave great gusto to a splendid rendition of “Auld Lang Syne” lead by a tenor and accompanied by a pipe band. Finally there was an exchange of scarves with His Holiness giving out “Khatas” which are blessed scarves, and receiving one in the pale blue of world peace tartan. A fitting end to a special day!
Mrs Agnes McConnachie (PT Religious, Moral, and Philisophical Studies)