Dalai Lama to Visit Indiana

Inside INdiana Business, Aug 2, 2007

Purdue University will on October 26 welcome Nobel Peace Prize winner and Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama. The talk at Purdue is part of the Dalai Lama's weeklong visit to Indiana. He will also visit the Tibetan Cultural Center in Bloomington for three days of religious teachings.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (USA) -- The 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, will deliver a public talk at 2 p.m. Oct. 26 at Purdue University's Elliott Hall of Music.

"His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama is winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 and has been recognized worldwide for his message of compassion and tolerance, his promotion of human values and interreligious understanding, and his focus on peace through non-violent conflict resolution," said Donald Mitchell, the Purdue professor of philosophy who was instrumental in bringing the Dalai Lama to campus.

His public talk, entitled "Cultivating Happiness," will draw from Tibetan Buddhist and other religious and intellectual traditions. Portions of the public talk will be provided through a translator.

The talk is being presented by the Tibetan Cultural Center in Bloomington, Ind., and Purdue Convocations in cooperation with Purdue's College of Liberal Arts. The event falls during a weekend of Homecoming activities on the Purdue campus.

"The 14th Dalai Lama was born on July 6, 1935, in the Tibetan village of Taktser and, in accordance with tradition, was recognized at age 2 as the reincarnation of his predecessor, the 13th Dalai Lama," Mitchell said.

Tibetan Buddhists believe that the dalai lamas are manifestations of the Bodhisattva of Compassion, called Chenrezig, who chose to reincarnate to serve humankind. The name dalai lama is a combination of Tibetan and Mongolian terms meaning "Ocean of Wisdom."

Since his first visit to the West in the early 1970s, the Dalai Lama's reputation as a scholar and man of peace has grown. He has consistently spoken about the need for better understanding and respect among the different faiths of the world. Since 1959 he has received more than 84 awards, honorary doctorates and prizes, and also has authored more than 72 books.

On Sept. 13, 2006, the U.S. Congress passed a bill to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the Dalai Lama in recognition of his contributions to peace, nonviolence, human rights and religious understanding.

"The Dalai Lama accepts only a very few invitations to give public talks, so to see him in person at Purdue and hear him present his views about the human quest for genuine happiness is a rare and special opportunity," said Mitchell, who also is director of the Indiana Center for Cultural Exchange, which is housed in Purdue's College of Liberal Arts.

Mitchell also has edited three books that include talks by the Dalai Lama: "Transforming Suffering: Reflections on Finding Peace in Troubled Times," "The Gethsemani Encounter" and "Spiritual Advice for Buddhists and Christians."

The talk at Purdue is part of the Dalai Lama's weeklong visit to Indiana. He will be visiting the Tibetan Cultural Center for three days of religious teachings.

The center is a non-profit organization established in 1979 by professor Thubten Norbu, eldest brother of the Dalai Lama. Located on 108 acres in Bloomington, the Tibetan Cultural Center has a Buddhist temple, a cultural building, two residences, four retreat cottages and two Tibetan chortens, which are memorials. The mission of the center is to foster and preserve Tibetan and Mongolian Buddhist cultures in the United States, to provide Buddhist teachings in the Bloomington area, and to promote interfaith peace and harmony.

In conjunction with this visit, Arjia Rinpoche, director of the Tibetan Cultural Center, has been appointed as an adjunct associate professor in the Purdue's Religious Studies Program. The name "Arjia" (pronounced ARE-zuh) means "father" in Tibetan and the title "Rinpoche" (pronounced wren-POE-che) means "precious one." Formerly the abbot of Kumbum Monastery, one of Tibet's six monastic universities, Arjia Rinpoche left Tibet in 1998. He has served as the center's director since 2005 when the Dalai Lama asked him to take over the responsibility of guiding this organization.

Tickets for the public talk go on sale to Purdue and Ivy Tech Lafayette students, and Purdue faculty, staff and retirees with a current identification card at 10 a.m. Aug. 10 at the Elliott Hall of Music and Stewart Center box offices only. Tickets for the general public will go on sale at 10 a.m. Aug. 11 through Ticketmaster at (765) 743-5151 and ticketmaster.com. Friends of Convocations may order advance tickets through noon on Aug. 7 by calling (765) 494-9712.

Tickets are $50 for all seats in Zone A, $30 for the general public in Zone B, and $20 for students and children in Zone B. Due to the Dalai Lama's international stature, extra security measures will be implemented on the day of the event. Patrons are asked to arrive by 1 p.m. to pass through security. Cultural presentations from Tibetan and Mongolian traditions will begin at 2 p.m., and the public talk will begin at 2:30 p.m. Items such as backpacks, handbags and tote bags will not be permitted in Elliott Hall, and all items and attendees are subject to search. Specifics on security measures and parking instructions will be available on Purdue Convocations' Web site at http://www.convocations.org.

Support for this event is provided by Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association - College Retirement Equities Fund, also known as TIAA-CREF, and the Purdue Diversity Resource Office.

The Dalai Lama's talk is part of October's Experience Liberal Arts, which will feature a variety of lectures, films, performances, events and exhibits that reflect the college's ongoing coursework and research in the arts, humanities, social and behavioral sciences. Information about the upcoming events is available online at http://www.cla.purdue.edu/ experience or by calling (765) 494-7884 to request a program guide.

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