Miscellany and Trivia

Anecdote Dalai Lama

Bill Moyers (co-author of Power of Myth) was interviewing the Dalai Lama one day. A mosquito kept buzzing around the room, coming very close to their faces at times. All of a sudden, Smack! The Dalai Lama clapped the mosquito between his hands. Moyers was shocked. He said, “I can’t believe what I just saw! You killed that mosquito!”

“Yes,” the Dalai Lama replied.

“Well, don’t you feel bad for killing a living creature?” asked Moyers.
“No,” said the Dalai Lama, “I gave him two warnings!”

Anecdote Salvador Dali –Surrealistic Spanish Painter (1904–1989)

Dali once took his pet ocelot with him to a New York restaurant and tethered it to a leg of the table while he ordered coffee. A middle-aged lady walked past and looked at the animal in horror. “What’s that?” she cried. “It’s only a cat,” said Dali scathingly. “I’ve painted it over with an op-art design.” The woman, embarrassed by her initial reaction, took a closer look and sighed with relief. “I can see now that’s what it is,” she said. “At first I thought it was a real ocelot.”

Anecdote Robert Browning – British Poet (1812–1889)

Browning’s “Sordello” was published in 1840. It is a simple story about an obscure heir to a dukedom in thirteenth-century Italy. But Browning’s interest in and description of the development of the human soul complicates the tale considerably. Baffled readers resorted to the poet for an explanation. Members of the London Poetry Society asked Browning for an interpretation of a particularly difficult passage. Browning read it once, then twice, then frowned, and shrugged his shoulders. “When I wrote that, God and I knew what it meant, but now God alone knows.”

What Bach Is for Me

Witten by Albert Schweitzer, in 1905, at the age of 30.

“Bach is an affirmation. He reassures me that in art, as in life, truth cannot be ignored or subdued. Art does not need any human promotion; it will realize itself by its own strength when its time has come. We need this faith in order to live. Bach had it. Under poorest material conditions, without getting tired or discouraged, without appealing to the world to take notice of his work, without doing anything to preserve it for the future, his single concern was to create what is true.”

“His works are great and he is as great as his works. They teach us to be still, to be collected.”

Read more: What Bach Is for Me

Anecdote Joy Mills

When addressing a group of theosophists in Europe some years ago:

“The odd thing with most theosophists is, if they were given the choice, that instead of actually entering Nirvana, they’d prefer to only talk about it.”


(Picasso recalls his mother’s ambitions for him.)

“When I was a child, my mother said to me, ‘If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general. If you become a monk, you’ll end up as Pope.’ Instead I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.”


On one occasion when Dylan Thomas had been drinking and talking freely for some time, he suddenly stopped. “Somebody’s boring me,” he said. “I think it’s me.”


On a train journey in the American Midwest, Schweitzer was approached by two ladies. “Have we the honor of speaking to Professor Einstein?” they asked. “No, unfortunately not,” replied Schweitzer, “though I can quite understand your mistake, for he has the same kind of hair as I have.” He paused to rumple his hair. “But inside, my head is altogether different. However, he is a very old friend of mine—would you like me to give you his autograph?” Taking a slip of paper from his pocket he wrote: “Albert Einstein, by way of his friend, Albert Schweitzer.”

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