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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Dalai Lama gives 'heart'-y speech at Lehigh

July 15, 2008

By Brandie Kessler ,
Pottstown Mercury, PA
July 14, 2008

BETHLEHEM - His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama imparted his wisdom and
brought laughter and a feeling of peace to more than 5,000 people from
all over the world as he spoke at Lehigh University's Stabler Arena Sunday.

As he walked on stage, the thousands in the crowd quieted their voices
and stared ahead. Their silence was broken when His Holiness began to
wave and smile, inducing laughter from everyone.

He greeted all "human brothers and sisters" in attendance.

"Indeed I'm very happy and (feel) great honor to share some of my ideas,
my experiences, my thoughts to you," His Holiness continued.

He commented about how relevant it was that he was speaking at a university.

"Human intelligence is something of great potential," he said.
"Education opens that potential so it's extremely important.

"Now I really like today's three words: listen, learn, love," His
Holiness said of the topics he would speak on. Although he delivered the
talk in English, the stage was flanked with two jumbo projection screens
that displayed his image with subtitles of his speech.

Sitting with his legs crossed on a tan sofa with a backdrop of
wildflowers and a tapestry of Buddha, the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso,
spoke time and again about the importance of compassion in a talk titled
"Generating a Good Heart."

The words listen, learn, love apply to the actions people should take
with others, according to the teaching of the Dalai Lama.

"I think they allow compassion," he said of the words. "Ultimately I
think loving kindness is worth keeping."

His Holiness spoke of many manmade problems, explaining that they can be
solved or prevented entirely with compassion and a calm mind.

"I think many problems we are facing are not due to lack of knowledge,
(not) lack of experience, but to lack of good-heartedness," His Holiness

Approaching any problem with a calm mind and compassion allows a person
to make that problem small, he said. Approaching even the most minute
problem without a calm mind can result in that problem becoming very
difficult to resolve, he said.

"If you're mood (is) not calm, sometimes agitation then easily come(s),"
he said.

A calm mind allows one's body to function at its best, even allows a
person to sleep restfully. However, "if (your) mind (is) too much
agitated, then often need sleeping pill," His Holiness said, stirring
laughter and applause from the audience in response to his casual and
comical description.

His Holiness said compassion is in each person, and it comes from their
mother. The first person to teach him compassion was "not guru, not
teacher, but my mother."

He said she was illiterate, a farmer, but taught him compassion.

"We all have same potential to develop more warm-heartedness," he said.

Looking out at the crowd, all eyes on him, the Dalai Lama encouraged
anyone who felt compelled to learn more about what he was speaking about
to "please think more, experiment."

Conversely, any audience members who did not feel what he had to say was
important, "then just forget," he said.

Many of the people who came out for the event admitted their knowledge
of the Dalai Lama was limited, but wanted the opportunity to see him
with their own eyes.

"He's a very special person in the world and I wanted to see him," Nancy
Topping of Bethlehem said.

Topping said she didn't know much about His Holiness, but she attempted
to get more than one ticket when they went on sale. But, she said, "I
could only get one ticket."

Bob Beck, of Allentown, didn't have to purchase a ticket to the event,
but he did have to attend several choir rehearsals.

"I got involved with the Lehigh University Choral Union," Beck said as
he waited along with other members of the choir for the event to begin.
In addition to being able to perform at the event, Beck said it was
something he was looking forward to just for the experience to see the
Dalai Lama.

"How many times do you get to meet or see someone like this?" he said.

Lana Liberto, of Quakertown, also with the University Choral Union, said
she was interested in the event not only to perform but because she has
an interest in Buddhism.

"I think it's an amazing opportunity for us to be here," she said. "I've
been thinking about it for a very long time."

Liberto said she was very excited to be able to offer the Dalai Lama
something during the event.

"Being able to give music is awesome," she said.

Edith Alberstadt, of Erie, said she made the trip to Bethlehem to attend
the series of lectures given by the Dalai Lama as a way to fulfill her
growing interest in Buddhism and His Holiness. She said she did not have
any expectations. "I'm completely open to the experience," she said.

Alberstadt did not have any reservations about making the trip alone,
she just wanted the opportunity to learn more about His Holiness's
teachings about compassion and understanding, she said.

Mike Mulicka, of Bethlehem, said he found the Dalai Lama to be a man of
peace, and although he did not have a great knowledge of the Dalai
Lama's teachings prior to getting tickets to Sunday's event, he knew it
was something he wanted to see.

"Whenever I've seen him (being interviewed) he's seemed to have a lot of
wisdom to impart," Mulicka said.

Karel Olson, of Lower Saucon, said his wife was interested in attending
the event, but by the time he got around to ordering the tickets, he was
only able to get one. Being a member of Lehigh University's class of
1969, when he received his Ph.D., and still living in the area of the
university, Olson said he attends a number of university activities each
year. The event Sunday was an entirely new experience, he said.

"When he was up in the mountains, people used to take the trek to see
him," Olson said, explaining why it was an easy decision to make the few
minutes trip to see the Dalai Lama in his own town.

Marylu Briggs, of Easton, said she wanted to attend the event because
she and her husband thought it would be interesting, although neither
has a deep understanding or involvement in the Buddhist religion. One of
the luckiest people in attendance, Briggs said she was able to get eight
tickets to the event when she ordered them.

Joie Fernandez and her husband Daniel made the trip to Bethlehem from
Orlando, Fla. Coming from so far, the two weren't disappointed to be
sitting in the seats that were the very farthest from the stage.

"We just wanted to see him," Joie Fernandez said.

"He's a Nobel Peace Prize winner," Daniel Fernandez added.

The two said they also felt fortunate to be at the event given that many
of their family members attempted to get tickets but they were the only
ones to snag some.

Heather Baker, of Quakertown, a junior at Lehigh University, was
attending the event as a volunteer helping to seat guests. She said she
received an e-mail during the school year seeking volunteers would be
needed and she replied to it.

"I just thought it would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the
Dalai Lama," Baker said.

She explained that a lot of her friends and family members were curious
about who the Dalai Lama is and what he does, which made her look
forward to the event even more.

The event, which Lehigh University Chaplain Llyod Steffen called "a very
special event in the life of Lehigh University," was also the focus of
hundreds of protestors who gathered demanding the Dalai Lama "Stop Lying."

A group of monks, nuns and others representing the Western Shugden
Society, the protesters have gathered numerous times at events around
the world this year. They say the Dalai Lama outlawed a prayer in the
1970s which he said did harm to him. Protestors indicated that since the
Dalai Lama outlawed the prayer and the worship of Dorje Shugden,
thousands of Shugden followers have been persecuted and banned from
their monasteries and nunneries.

Although the protestors were merely loud and not physically threatening,
several university police officers were standing by the crowd which was
difficult to miss for any of those leaving Stabler Arena.

For more information on the Dalai Lama and his visit to Lehigh
University visit
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