BOISE Several Boise State students recently traveled to India to study abroad for three weeks and provide service to the people living there. But one student says it was his brush with the Dalai Lama that will stick with him forever.
Logan Foley is a sophomore business major at Boise State University.
I went because, not really for the credits, but more for the experience. India always drew me, said Foley.
Christopher Bower is a 5th year student in the BSU Honors College.
They just said one more question and I stood up again on a whim and I was chosen, said Bower.
They were two of 13 Boise State students who went to India to study abroad.
Together they went to Christ University to hear the Dalai Lama speak. For Foley, that was the highlight of the trip.
He's just goofy, Foley said speaking of the Dalai Lama. He was just making fun of himself really, which I think is awesome, and really just this goofy dude who is so wise, but so funny.
The Dalai Lama s speech focused on peace and ethics. He said that war is an outdated method. After, he fielded three questions.
Bower asked the third and final question.
I had rehearsed it in my mind at light speed. I transcended the boundaries of time and had it memorized word for word because I wanted to make sure that if this is the one chance in my life I get to do something like this I don't want to annoy anybody, said Bower.
He was referring to himself the entire time as nothing more than a simple Buddhist monk. He kept saying I'm just a simple Buddhist monk, so when I got up I said, 'My name is Christopher Bower, I'm from the United States, I consider myself a citizen of the world, so thanks for having me in India,' and he said, 'You're welcome.' And I said, 'This is my question for my favorite simple Buddhist monk. You spoke of this world entering a century of peace, so how do I convince a nation so hungry and willing to arm everybody with weapons of destruction that this is the new turning of the century that war is an outdated method?
The audience of 2,000 people from all over the world, met his question with applause.
They didn't clap for the other questions. Not that they were bad questions, but I think from an outside perspective, putting myself in their shoes, seeing someone from the United States critique our craving for arms and war and violence shocked them, and they were so proud, said Bower.
The Dalai Lama met it with humor. He had Bower remove his hat.
He said, I thought you would be bald with all of that hair on your face. I thought you would be bald like me, said Bower.
That joke bonded the two. When the speech was over they met again in the aisle. Logan snapped a picture.
He grabbed my hand and removed my hat as he grabbed the back of my neck and touched his head to my head, said Bower.
Bower says later learned that gesture was a symbol that in the eyes of the Dalai Lama the two are equals.
It moved me, Bower said. I felt as though the greatest thing that will ever happened to me has happened then, but that all infinite doors to the future of even greater things to occur was set in motion, said Bower.
As for the Dalai Lama s answer to Bower s question, Bower says the Dalai Lama took some time to answer it, but he summed it up this way.
What he did in such a beautiful and poetic way was make compassion logical, make kindness rational, said Bower.