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Kundun

From Coming to Our Senses by Jon Kabat-Zinn, in the chapter "Presence":

Tibetans use the term "Kundun" when speaking of the Dalai Lama. Kundun means the Presence. It is neither a misnomer nor an exaggeration. In his presence, you become more present. I have watched him over a period of days, in a room with a small number of people, often with complex scientific conversations and presentations going on, varying naturally in degrees of interest. But he appears to be right there all the time, not just in his thinking but in his feeling tone. He attends to the matter at hand, and I've noticed that all of us around him become not only more present, but more open and more loving, just by being in his presence. He interrupts when he doesn't understand. He ponders deeply, you can see it on his face. Closeted with scientists and senior monks and scholars, he regularly asks pointed questions during their presentations, to which a frequent response is: "Your Holiness, that is exactly the question we asked ourselves at this point, and the next experiment we decided to do." He sometimes appears distracted, but usually I am fooled if I think so because he stays right on the point. But he does often look deep in thought, puzzled, or pondering a point. In the next moment, he can be very playful, radiating delight and kindness. You could say he was born this way, and that is a whole other story, of course, but these qualities are also the result of years of a certain kind of rigorous training of the mind and heart. He is the embodiment of that training, even though he would modestly say it is nothing, which is also more than passingly correct.

^z - 2010-03-31

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