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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Local educator: Dalai Lama embodies peace

October 11, 2007

By Mark Boshnack
Staff Writer
The Daily Star, http://www.thedailystar.com

A world-renowned spiritual and political leader will present his 
message of world peace in Ithaca today and Wednesday.

An Oneonta college professor has been informing the public about the 
visit, and at least a couple of area residents will be attending one 
of the talks.

The Dalai Lama will be speaking at a series titled "Bridging Worlds" 
to be held at three sold-out events at different venues.

The Namgyal Monastery Institute of Buddhist Studies in Ithaca is 
operated under the guidance of the Dalai Lama and in collaboration 
with the main Namgyal Monastery in India.

The Dalai Lama is the title for the person believed to be the 14th 
reincarnation of the spiritual leader to Tibetan Buddhists, according 
to Hartwick College Associate Professor of Religion Sandy Huntington. 
The current spiritual leader was recognized as such at about age 4 
and formally installed at age 15.

The 72-year-old, whose name is Tenzin Gyatso, also guides the Tibetan 
people as a political leader through the tumultuous times that 
started with the Communist invasion of 1949 and the occupation that 
resulted in mass exiles from the country, Huntington said. The Dalai 
Lama left Tibet in 1959.

At a talk Huntington gave in Ithaca last month to explain to the 
general public and students the significance of the visit, Huntington 
discussed the leader's achievements, which include being named in 
1989 as a Nobel Peace Prize winner and serving as political leader of 
the Tibetan government in exile.

"The Dalai Lama has been under enormous pressure to violently resist 
the Chinese occupation of Tibet," Huntington said.

But he has consistently said that "violence will not solve anything," 
according to Huntington.

While the talks should be engaging, Huntington said, family and work 
commitments make it impossible for him to attend. He met the leader 
over bagels and coffee, when he visited the University of Michigan in 
the early 1990s. Huntington was teaching there at the time.

Those attending today at Cornell University include Morris Central 
School librarian Emily Kirsch. The event is titled "A Human Approach 
to World Peace."

"I feel he is the embodiment of peace," she said. "He transcends 
labels."

Kirsch also teaches interfaith meditation.

"One doesn't have to be Buddhist to experience his message of peace 
and harmony," she said.

She will be attending with Otselic Valley elementary science teacher 
Jude Smith.

Smith has been studying Buddhism for 10 years but considers herself 
"a beginner." She saw the Dalai Lama when he spoke at the University 
of Buffalo last year, she said.

"There are just a few people in the world who have this message (of 
peace)," she said. It was important to make the trip with her two 
daughters, both in their 20s, "just to be in his presence in a world 
gone crazy," she said.

According to the Namgyal website, the talk will elaborate his views 
on practical measures by which ordinary individuals can contribute to 
creating a peaceful, compassionate society through awareness of the 
increasing interdependence of the globalized worlds.

Wednesday events are:

À 10 a.m. to noon, State Theatre, Ithaca, "Prayers for World Peace." 
An interfaith session will include local representatives from many 
faiths.

À 2 to 4 p.m., Ben Light Gymnasium, Ithaca College, "Eight Verses on 
Training the Mind." It will provide concise instructions on how to 
engage the world in a more compassionate and idealist way, organizers 
said.

Events will be available on live video online. Visit www.namgyal.org/
bridging/schedule.cfm for details.

CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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