Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dalai Lama visits Atlanta, GA. USA

Dalai Lama visits Atlanta for the first time since 2007

By Savanna Keo
Rich Addicks • AJC
The Dalai Lama acknowledges the crowd gathered at Centennial Olympic Park to hear him speak several years ago.
From Oct. 17 to 19, His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama visits Atlanta for the first time in three years though a partnership with Emory University in his role as Presidential Distinguished Professor. 
Holding true to his promise made during his visit in 2007 that "the professor will return," the Dalai Lama will speak and participate in several events spanning many topics. Events will include dialogue on science and religion and spirituality teachings of the Buddhist community.
The festivities begin on Oct. 17, when His Holiness is scheduled to conduct a session to the local Buddhist community on the practice of compassion. At 9:45 a.m., those with tickets will be given the opportunity to witness the teachings of traditional Tibetan philosophy.
Later that afternoon, the Dalai Lama will participate in the Interfaith Summit on Happiness, an open forum with distinguished religious leaders of all divinities. Leaders scheduled to participate in the forum include The Most Reverend Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, the 26th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, and Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, among others.
The events scheduled for Oct. 18 will revolve around the affairs of the Tibetan community and the Western world. The Dalai Lama will participate in two sessions of compassion mediation, an event designed to bring together researchers from leading universities to discuss the field of compassion meditation research and its future implications.
On the final day of his visit, Oct. 19, the Dalai Lama will speak with international humanitarian and award-winning actor Richard Gere and Pulitzer-Prize winning author Alice Walker. The trio will discuss the relationship between spirituality and the arts.
His Holiness will also conduct the "Professor's Office Hours," allowing the Emory community to pose questions of any academic accord.
The role of Presidential Distinguished Professor of Emory is the first and only position that the Dalai Lama has accepted. His installation occurred during his last visit to Atlanta in 2007 among a large crowd in Centennial Park.
"I deeply value my close association with Emory University and have always appreciated Emory University's leading role in developing innovative programs that draw on the strengths of Tibetan and western civilization for the mutual enrichment of our two traditions," he said during his 2007 acceptance speech.
The alliance between the two allows students unique access to teachings and insights of the leader of the Tibetan people.
Through the Dalai Lama's partnership with Emory, various programs and initiatives have been implemented, allowing Emory to be regarded as one of the foremost educational centers for studying Tibetan philosophy and religion.
These include one of the few Tibetan language programs in the United States, the Meditation Program for Preventive Health, the Distinguished Tibetan Scholars Program and a study abroad session to Dharamsala, India.
The Dalai Lama recently donated $50,000 to one of the programs, the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative (ETSI). This program is a collaboration between Emory and the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives. It strives to fuse together elements of Western science and ancient monastic beliefs. Through ETSI, the first initiative of its kind, faculty members from Emory have the opportunity teach a modern science curriculum to over 100 Buddhist monks and nuns in Dharamsala, India, the capital of the Tibetan exile community.

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