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Future face of the Dalai Lama

October 13, 2009

ELLIE HARVEY
The Sydney Morning Herald
October 12, 2009

THE face of the Dalai Lama will be watching over
Sydneysiders for the next month as nine
billboards are erected before his visit in December.

Four "supersites", large billboards that stay lit
up all night, will be put up at Darling Harbour,
North Sydney, Parramatta Road and the Princes
Highway today, weather permitting, and five
others will be erected elsewhere in Sydney.

The signs will bear the words, "Our future - Who
is responsible?", with the Dalai Lama's face, and
will stay up for four to five weeks. The message
will also appear later on about 30 buses.

"We've kind of never done anything like this
before," said Lynn Bain, general manager of the
Dalai Lama in Australia organisation that is
funding the campaign. "Some of [our] advice -- is
that mass outdoor advertising is quite effective,
so we're trying to let as many people as possible know that he's coming."

"It's going to be quite amazing to see His
Holiness's face up on the big billboards," she said.

The Tibetan spiritual leader, who lives in exile,
will be in Sydney for teachings and a public talk
from December 1 to 3, before heading to Auckland,
Hobart and Melbourne. His seventh visit to
Australia is themed "Who is responsible?".

"It's a pretty heavy concept, responsibility --
there's quite a few people out there who just
aren't really willing to take that on board," Ms Bain said.

The organisation debated whether the Dalai Lama
should feature on a billboard, but eventually
decided there was "absolutely no reason as to why he shouldn't be up there".

"If there's backlash we'll just have to deal with
it," Ms Bain said. "Our motivation is to try and
encourage people to come along and attend the
events -- Buddhists don't try to convert people or anything like that.

"You don't have to be Buddhist to connect to His
Holiness is what we're trying to say."
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