Back in March 2013, as part of my visit to Seoul, I was invited to speak at an event called Sebashi.  It is known to be “the TED of Korea” and is organized by the Christian Broadcasting Service (CBS).  They have a big audience and are very selective about their speakers, so it is a great honor to be invited.  Being an ignorant young foreigner, however, I didn’t have the slightest idea.  All I knew was my publisher had put a speaking engagement on my calendar and that I was supposed to deliver a 15 – 20 minutes speech to “change people’s lives”.  I was like, sure, whatever, I’ll do it.

When I arrived, the producer asked me, “What is the title of your second speech?”  And I was like, “What second speech?”  It turned out that I was supposed to deliver two 20-minute speeches, not one.  Yikes.  I had 10 minutes in between make-up and waiting for the event to start to create another 20-minute speech.  I didn’t try to escape by climbing through the open window in the toilet.  See, kids, this is what separate the men from the boys.

One of the 2 speeches below was put together in 10 minutes.  Identifying which one is an exercise left to the reader.

As if that is not enough last-minute pressure, the producer also said to me, “We know you are a prominent Buddhist, and our audience is mostly conservative Christians, so we like you to be mindful with your use of words.”  From his body language, I could tell it was his courteous Asian way of communicating what an American would say, “Don’t F this up.”  The good news is after I finished speaking, my hosts had nothing but huge smiles on their faces.  I never doubted the trans-religious appeal of my message, but it’s good to see my hosts coming to the same conclusion.  I’m guessing my trans-religious good looks didn’t hurt either.

The third video below is my conversation with the audience together with Dr Si-Hyung Lee, a distinguished Korean psychologist and author of numerous best-selling books.  He wrote a very nice review of the my book which starts with, “I have nothing more to say other than to call him a genius.”  We had a great conversation and a lot of fun together on stage.

And here they are:

Three Easy Steps to World Peace

Joy Becomes You

Conversation with Chade-Meng Tan and Si-Hyung Lee