On the eve of the final Test of the Border-Gavaskar series between India and Australia, the visitors decided to visit the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, where the match is being played.
Not only did the Aussies seek good wishes from the leader of the Tibetan people in exile in India, but captain Steve Smith also asked a question about his difficulty sleeping.
The interview was broadcast live on Facebook. The Dalai Lama spoke of his own childhood brush with the sport of ping-pong, reiterated his commitment to promoting a “sense of oneness with seven billion human beings”, the compassionate nature of human beings, why he doesn’t agree with Donald Trump, and what independence means for Tibetans.
“We are very much willing to remain within the People’s Republic of China,” he explained. “I have always admired the spirit of the European Union. Throughout the ages, they have been fighting but after the second world war, they practised reconciliation. Now this spirit must start in Latin America and Africa.”
“The American President is increasing the defence budget and nuclear weapons. And then his slogan, ‘America first’,” the Dalai Lama said. “I don’t agree. After all, no matter how big, is still part of the world. So, Tibet can be part of People’s Republic of China but we should be able preserve our freedom, culture and language.”
Here’s the shorter version of the encounter.
And what did the Australians get from their meeting? “We rubbed our noses together (a greeting gesture in Tibetan culture), and he gave me some blessings, so hopefully it’ll help me with my sleep over the next five days,” Smith told The Economic Times about the meeting.
In the same interview, when asked what the team can take away from the meeting, Smith said: “Probably relaxes us a little bit. He is all about compassion and fondness for each and every human being. It was nice to hear from someone as prestigious as the Dalai Lama.”
The Test Match will reveal whether the pep talk worked.