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Take 5 with Tim: Lama Arjia Rinpoche

October 31, 2010

By TIM BROUK, tbrouk@jconline.com
www.jconline.com
October 29, 2010

Lama Arjia Rinpoche was a child studying at the Kumbum Tibetan
Buddhist monastery when a Mao Zedong-led Chinese government overtook
Tibet. Many Tibetan leaders fled to India. Still in China, he became
affiliated with the Panchen Lama, the highest ranking Lama after the
Dalai Lama. Rinpoche eventually settled in California. Over the
years, Rinpoche, 60, has become close to the Dalai Lama and was
selected as the new director of the Tibetan and Mongolian Cultural
Center in Bloomington. Rinpoche accompanies the Dalai Lama during his
visits to the United States. He will visit West Lafayette to promote
his memoirs, "Surviving the Dragon," and to open a Tibetan art show
at 4 p.m. Saturday at Unitarian Universalist Church, 333 Meridian St.
Rinpoche will talk about and sign his book from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday at
Borders, 348 E. State St. He also will give a public lecture 7 p.m.
Monday at the Krannert Auditorium at Purdue University.

Q: What is it like working so closely with the Dalai Lama?

A: For Buddhists, he is a spiritual leader, of course. He is not just
a spiritual leader or monk, he is a peacemaker. He won the Nobel
Peace Prize 15 years ago. You feel peace and compassion. When you're
with him, you develop an inner peace ... . He wants to eventually
bring peace to the world. He wants to interface with different
religions and concentrate on their similarities. We should all work
together; that's the goal for him.

Q: What are your duties in Indiana?

A: The Bloomington Center is our west Kumbum, which is near where His
Holiness and myself were born. Our missions are to continue to
preserve Tibetan culture, peace and prayer and to open up ourselves
for the Mongolians in the United States, too. They don't have a place
to go or a place to worship, so the center is now the Tibetan
Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center.

Q: Were you aware of Indiana's long history with Tibetan culture?

A: A little bit but not really. ... Of course, I just came to the
United States 12 years ago. Everything is new to us. When I came to
Bloomington, it was a great place, and we made a connection with
Indiana University and later made a connection with Purdue
(University) in 2007.

Q: What were you doing before coming to Indiana?

A: I was a Tibetan Buddhist architect. ... I worked on temples when I
was in Kundun and did a big renovation with the monastery. That was a
huge construction, and we've built three-dimensional mandala. In
Tibet, they ask me for suggestions on temples and monuments today.

Q: What will you talk about here in Lafayette?

A: The connection between Tibetans and Chinese and Buddhist and
Tibetan culture. ... And I am fundraising to build a hospital in
Mongolia -- mainly a cancer care hospital for children.

Online: www.tmbcc.net
 
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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