Nelson Mandela taught me that ideas are immortal, and that those involving the good of others are the highest form of life: as the trees in the forest give in equal measure as they receive. He taught me that loving my enemy is not an abstract theoretical idea. He taught me that peace is indeed an inner space, separate from what goes on around me. He taught me that how I react to things is my choice, and those choices determine my outcomes. He taught me that it is possible to live the ideals I uphold: those taught by Buddha, Jesus, and all the other bodhisattvas who have come…who are here… to helping us into a new space of grace and compassion. Nelson Mandela taught me to be kind, to be full of care, to be able to respond in the face of adversity, to be without loosing. Nelson Mandela taught me that idealism is realism, but only when witnessed through living. Nelson Mandela taught me that the crucible brings temperance, that fire purifies and strengthens, and that adversity is education. He taught me how to yield to something higher without loosing self. Nelson Mandela taught me, and tonight is immortal…like fire remembers wood.