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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."

Out of the spotlight, Dalai Lama still shone

September 3, 2008

By: Julie Stewart, Brown and White
Posted: 9/2/08
Bringing the Dalai Lama to Lehigh required more than two years of 
planning, thousands of volunteer hours and a coordinated security 
effort by the FBI, the state department and local police forces.

But what was the Dalai Lama off-stage?

"He was charming, unpretentious, interested in others, thoughtful yet 
quite humorous," said university Chaplain Lloyd Steffen. "He is 
easily amused and he laughs all the time."

Planners put in additional effort to accommodate the Buddhist leader, 
preparing traditional Tibetan cuisine and a special room for him with 
ornate decorations, such as wall hangings.

Joshua and Diana Cutler, codirectors of the Tibetan Buddhist Learning 
Center in Washington, N.J., worked with Lehigh personnel for more 
than two years to coordinate the Dalai Lama's visit, where he 
delivered a series of teaching on Je Tsong-kha-pa's "Great Treatise 
on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment" and also a public lecture.

The Dalai Lama was comfortable with his accommodations, Joshua Cutler 
said. He requested hot water on stage, and air conditioners were 
turned up at his request for a cool temperature.

President Alice Gast met with the Dalai Lama when he arrived on July 
10, presenting him with a scarf. He was impressed throughout the 
visit with Lehigh's preparations for him, she said.

"He is an incredibly warm and friendly person," she said. "One-on-
one, he immediately sets you at ease."

Gast said that although people often are intimidated by the Dalai 
Lama, he treats everyone with respect and kindness.

Upon arrival at Newark International Airport, the Dalai Lama stopped 
to greet airport personnel and take pictures with them. As he 
prepared to depart from Lehigh, he took pictures with the staff at 
Stabler Arena, according to Diana Cutler.

When he wasn't giving lectures, the Dalai Lama spent time meditating, 
praying and reading, Diana Cutler said. He woke up at about 3 a.m. to 
do his morning prayers and also prays before bed, she said. She also 
observed that the Dalai Lama eats two meals per day, breakfast and 
lunch.

The Dalai Lama stayed at the Cutlers' learning center on the nights 
of July 10 and July 11 and stayed at the Hotel Bethlehem the other 
nights, Cutler said.

Police originally anticipated a large turn out could cause traffic 
problems throughout the week-long event. However, traffic or security 
were not a problem, said Edward Shupp, Lehigh University police chief.

Volunteers helped guide audience members to their seats, staffed 
information tables for visitors and helped sell merchandise, said 
Lori Bolden-McClaind, the event's volunteer coordinator.
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