Hello, Dalai: Tibetan spiritual leader to visit campus in fall

L.A. Cicero Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama will come to Stanford Nov. 4-5. This photo shows him during a previous campus visit.

Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled leader and the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, will visit Stanford Nov. 4-5 to make public appearances that include a large-scale meditation and teaching event, a conversation about nonviolence and participation in a conference sponsored by the School of Medicine.

On Friday morning, Nov. 4, the Dalai Lama will teach about meditation, lead a meditation session and answer questions at Maples Pavilion. That afternoon, he will discuss "the heart of nonviolence" with the Rev. Scotty McLennan, dean for religious life, an event sponsored by the Heyns Lecture series and the Aurora Forum at Memorial Church.

On Saturday, Nov. 5, the School of Medicine will sponsor a dialogue between the Dalai Lama and a group of distinguished neuroscientists from Stanford and other major universities in a daylong program, "Craving, Suffering and Choice: Spiritual and Scientific Explorations of Human Experience," at Memorial Auditorium. Program participants will seek to identify the common ground between Tibetan Buddhism and neurosciences, disciplines that use very different methods to understand how the mind works and how to treat its disorders. The Buddhists, with their 2,500-year-old tradition of introspective inquiry into the nature of the mind, are thought to have much to offer to neurosciences. Conversely, Western research tools and concepts may help test the insights that come from Buddhist practice and better understand the mental states achieved through meditation. The conference goal is to establish a rich dialogue focused on problems that all of us experience.

A limited number of tickets will be available for the Dalai Lama's public appearances. Tickets will be available to Stanford faculty, staff and students between May 31 and June 12 and will become available to the public beginning June 13. Complete information about ordering tickets, event times and other details about the Dalai Lama's visit, including descriptions of individual events, can be found online beginning April 4 on a website created for the Dalai Lama's visit, http://dalailama.stanford.edu. Information also is available by telephone at (650) 723-4441. Because demand for tickets is expected to far exceed the supply, all public appearances by the Dalai Lama will be broadcast live on the website.

In addition to his public appearances, the Dalai Lama will attend an invitation-only reception hosted by the Asian Religions and Cultures (ARC) Initiative—Stanford Center for Buddhist Studies. ARC is an interdisciplinary initiative dedicated to research, teaching and the development of Stanford resources in Asian humanities.

Born in 1935 to a peasant family in Tibet, the Dalai Lama was recognized at the age of 2—in accordance with Tibetan tradition—as the reincarnation of his predecessor, the 13th Dalai Lama, and thus an incarnation of the Avalokitesvara, the Buddha of Compassion. The 15-year-old Dalai Lama became Tibet's head of state in 1950 after Tibet was invaded by China. He fled Tibet in 1959 following a failed uprising against China's occupying forces. Approximately 80,000 Tibetans followed him into exile.

The Dalai Lama, who has become known worldwide for his advocacy of peace, tolerance and compassion, lives in exile in Dharamsala, India, where he serves as Tibet's religious and political leader and works to preserve the historical and cultural heritage of his people. In 1989, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and was cited by the Nobel Committee for his opposition to the use of violence in the struggle to liberate Tibet.

The Dalai Lama is the author or co-author of numerous best-selling books about spirituality, meditation and peace, including The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living (1998), An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life (2001) and Healing Emotions: Conversations with the Dalai Lama on Mindfulness, Emotions and Health (1997).

Hosts for the Dalai Lama's visit to Stanford are the Office for Religious Life, the Stanford School of Medicine, Stanford Continuing Studies and the Asian Religions and Cultures (ARC) Initiative—Stanford Center for Buddhist Studies.