My Xmas Wish List to the Dalai Lama

Revised Xmas list:
Your Holiness:
Please grant me three wishes the next time I visit a Buddhist Center:
  1. To become enlightened, but not with so many flood lights during a prayer service.
  2. To find peace in silence, immediately before, during, and after the service.
  3. To be granted permission to place flowers at the service.


Losang Samten,

As emissary to his Holiness, the Dalai Lama, please tell him I have only three desires this coming holiday.

  • To become “enlightened” within, but see only a dim light “outside” while practicing at the  Chenrezig Tibetan Buddhist Center of Philadelphia. You could not imagine what it is like to meditate with the bright lights they keep on during Prayer Services. I always felt that meditation was easier to traverse in a private, low-lit area, not one that shines like Broadway.
  • To find Peace in “silence,” and not to hear others speaking loud enough to be heard over gunshots that could ring out from Colisimo’s, a firing range near the Buddhist center in “downtown” Philadelphia. Just joking about the gunshot volume, Your Holiness. But I always sought calmness by adopting a soft and humble tone —  perhaps even a whisper — when I want to commune with the Divine. If  all used their “indoor voices” while greeting Prayer Service attendees on Sunday mornings, the voice of a thousand spirits could be raised to rooftops while chanting later at the real Service.
  • And lastly, to receive permission to place a gift of nature, perhaps flowers or a small wreath,  near the seat of the spiritual leader, Losang Samten, at Service time for no other reason than to give, and ask for nothing in return.

Respectfully submitted,

michael j,

An aspirant enjoying this Buddhist Journey

(For the beginning, please see Who’s Calling Me? )

For a conclusion, see My Holiday Wish List

12 comments on “My Xmas Wish List to the Dalai Lama

  1. Michael J. It seems you’re having some unexpected experiences while treading this path. Very interesting teachers/obstacles you’re encountering.
    I’m not quite following why you wish to be granted permission to place flowers at the service/shrine. At the Rime Center in KCMO flowers for the shrine are always welcome.
    Shanti Om


    • contoveros says:

      Thank you, thank you, thank you. I now have permission from someone who knows that it’s all right to bring flowers and they’ll be accepted at a Buddhist service. Hey, I have been to all of one to date, and had not seen any. Flowers that is. One official Buddhist service.

      Thought that Tibetan Buddhists might be different from Vietnamese or Japanese, of whom, I spent a retreat with in October at the Omega Center, NY.

      They had flowers and incense. Felt right at home.
      The monk, who studied in Vietnam but was ordained in Japan, is journeying across the Americas to help veterans with PTSD, himself a Vietnam veteran like myself.

      Thanks for the nod. Will present the flowers with your love and compassion in mind. Uh, lets make that, from the heart. I want to “rest” the mind while meditating, you know.

      michael j

      One-third of his xmas list completed for Service Sunday if it doesn’t get snowed out like last week — the second heaviest snowfall in the history of Philadelphia, Dec. 20, 2009.


      • Resting the mind these days is no small task. I hope you don’t mind my sharing three books by the Dalai Llama that I found useful. You probably have already encountered them, but for the sake of sharing–The Way To Freedom—The Joy of Living and Dying In Peace—Awakening the Mind, Lightening the Heart. I cite these because they were the most helpful to me for healing. May all your wishes manifest soon.


  2. A strikingly meaningful wish-list. May you realize them all.


  3. Snædís says:

    I am enjoying your tales of your current visits to the Buddhist centre Michael J. Into the ancient old ceremonies that possibly are carried out in the same way across the globe, comes Michael J, a unique human with his own unique ideas.

    And now you have crossed through your Xmas list to the Dalai Lama? And you want permission to place cut off flowers at the service? It will be fun to see how all this evolves. Do keep us posted on your experiences at this beautiful centre. It sounds delightful!



    • contoveros says:


      I am going to India next year. I’m motoring on this path and won’t stop until I drop . . . to the lotus position where the Buddha meditated and taught so many years ago.

      Your a woman of the world. What advise can you give this American road traveler?


      michael j

      Joined the Buddhists in Philadelphia. Committed myself to learning “visualization” while meditating.


      • Snædís says:

        India… you are going to India… You lucky man!

        India is big, larger than life in fact, and Dharamsala, the now-home of the Dalai Lama, is not really on the way to the Bodhi Tree, but should your route take you up to the feet of the Himalayan Mountains I am very happy to share with you my points of visits to that area filled with Tibetan Buddhism and tradition.

        Just drop me a line if you plan to pay His Holiness a visit; I at least can give you the address of the most fairy tale like accommodation in Himachal Pradesh if He does not invite you to reside in His house 🙂



        • contoveros says:


          I am playing this by ear. The trip to India, that is.

          I’ll plan certain things, but leave lots of room to “feel” my way from so many different sources. I have just “opened” to your comment. Why not bow and kiss, what you described, “the feet of the Himalayan Mountains…”

          I wonder what the Cosmos will send me next? God. It’s great to be an “open channel.”

          Come fill me; I will let it flow.


          • Snædís says:

            Hey Michael j! I haven’t forgotten you; will fill you in in the new year where I went to in India and what I enjoyed. I’ll send you an email with a few links (hope that’s ok with u)

            For now; happy happy new year!!!


  4. lidiascher says:

    Well, Michael…What is within that you are meditating amongst a “firing range”, with loud voices nearby and in the glare of Broadway’s harsh lights???


    • contoveros says:


      Many clients I represented as a Philadelphia public defender either stole their guns, or got them through Colisimo’s, the gun shop owner with a firing range directly across the street from the Buddhist Center. Philadelphia police, of whom I made a living by cross-examining in court, are major customers of Colisimo’s, as well as the most ardent users of the firing range.The FOP (Fraternal Order of Police) club is less than six blocks away; so is the union hall where I worked as an “organizer” for the Newspaper Guild of Philadelphia.

      I did not expect so many “past life” reminders to welcome me while visiting the Buddhist Center, this first time ever stepping onto this new path. I sought peace and quiet and a dimly lit corner to meditate within. Instead, I heard too much noise and saw too many bright lights outside of my budding Buddha Self and I want to change that, as well as be more prepared for my next visit.

      michael j


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