For genuine spiritual practitioners in Tibet, one of the highest aspirations is to cultivate the heart of universal love-to become one who loves all sentient beings unconditionally. Thus, the measure of whether someone has cultivated universal love is illustrated in the classical Tibetan story of the mother who has only one child (Buckikpe maa tar) and shows how much she would love and give care to her only beloved child.
Yes, this is a tall order and, in my case, I am far from actualizing this wonder and magnificence. Perhaps I can say that I have been inspired by this highest aspiration a tiny bit since my early years due to the kindness of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s living inspiration and his teachings on the Tibetan spiritual culture of universal love.
This inspiration gives me some sense of meaning, purpose, and direction, and helps me to channel my anger not to hate anyone, channel my temptations not to become overwhelmed by lust and greed, and channel my heart to try to love all and everyone.
So, I often wonder if, even given a million years to do this, I can cultivate this universal love in my heart. That would be the beginning of the highest journey and meaning of my life.
Born in Tibet and raised in exile, Nawang Khechog is one of Tibet’s foremost composers and musicians, and Grammy nominee. He is a former Buddhist monk, who has studied Buddhist philosophies and meditation with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and many other Tibetan masters for over 11 years. He also lived as a hermit, meditating in the Himalayan foothills for several years.
Nawang has collaborated and shared the stage with Philip Glass, R. Carlos Nakai, Laurie Anderson, Kitaro, Trey Anastasio (Phish), Ustad Sultan Khan, Peter Kater, Natalie Merchant, and others. He has also performed manytimes at Carnegie Hall for annual Tibet House benefits and Tibetan Freedom Concerts.
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