I was listening to the introductory remarks of this Shamatha retreat you are running now and you were telling about His Holiness emphasizing Shamatha. his Holiness was in Estonia two weeks ago (actually just before Helsinki and Hamburg) and in a meeting in Estonian Academy of Sciences he told the following inspiring thoughts (and actually without any specific question or need to talk about Samatha):
"One my American friend. I think last twenty years. A couple. Really put effort. So nowadays that person meditate and his breathing gradually becomes weaker weaker weaker and for short moments stop. His concentration power can remain four hours, three-four hours. Through training it can be, it can be done.
Among Tibetan quite RARE. These days I am urging Tibetans. Knowledge very important but knowledge alone is not sufficient. We must now make more effort about single pointed concentration."
Patting on the hand of his attendant - a senior monk - he says: "I hope one day you also get this experience."
And after a laugh he continues: "Now me myself little bit too old but now one of the reasons - personally - why I gave away political power to elected person. One reason is that I want to spend some time on the practice of these deep meditations. So that I am better equipped for my next re-birth. The name of Dalai Lama may not help. So myself must prepare."
The video of the meeting can be found http://www.videoteam.ee/dl/ and this part I transcribed is at 1 hour 47 minutes.