Q-and-A: OEC's Andrea Durbin's karmic lessons from the Dalai Lama
By Andy Giegerich
Digital Managing Editor
One of the Oregon Environmental Council's Andrea Durbin's takeaways from the Dalai Lama's Portland appearance: "Consuming things does not make us happy while it also degrades the planet."
Andrea Durbin's clearly living right.
When Durbin, the Oregon Environmental Council's executive director, received the invite to appear on a panel last weekend with the Dalai Lama at His Holiness's Portland appearance, it took her a Tibet second to accept. Durbin and Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber earned raves for their insights, not to mention beatific demeanors, during a panel at the Dalai Lama's Veterans Memorial Coliseum appearance on Saturday.
We caught up with Durbin to get her take on the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Sustainable Business Oregon: How did you land the prime stage space with the Dalai Lama?
Andrea Durbin: It must be good karma! One of the Maitripa College board members also serves on Oregon Environmental Council's board. He suggested me as a speaker and the college extended an invite to join the panel.
SBO: Did you get to engage him in conversation? What did you guys talk about?
Durbin: Yes, after the panel discussion we sat together in his resting room for a little while and then we had lunch together. We talked about a range of topics from the changing political context in China, to Nelson Mandela's illness and his friendship with Bishop Desmond Tutu. His Holiness the Dalai Lama also said how much he agreed with my point that we need to change politics and learn to work together if we are ever going to make progress in protecting the environment.
SBO: What were the most inspirational things he said during his talk?
Durbin: There were many points that I found inspirational. The Dalai Lama spoke about how consuming things does not make us happy while it also degrades the planet. He said that the widening gap between rich and poor is unacceptable, just as is using up our world's resources. He spoke of the importance of all coming together—that we are all humans and must work together to find solutions together—no matter your religion or ethnicity. And that it is most important who you are in the world: how you act in the world towards others and yourselves. Walking and living the talk is the most important act of your life.
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