On on Oct. 9, 2007, a crowd of more than 5,000 was brought to a dead silence when a small man entered Barton Hall and proceeded to the stage.The crashing thunderstorm outside sharply contrasted the serenity of the group. All eyes were focused on the front as people eagerly waited to hear him speak. Here was a man known by millions throughout the world as an international symbol of peace and nonviolence. Here was His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama.His visit to Cornell, in which he delivered an address entitled, “A Human Approach to World Peace,” was part of a two-day series of speaking engagements called “Bridging Worlds.” The Dalai Lama came to bless Namgyal, Ithaca’s new monastery, which he has named “Du Khor Choe Ling,” or the Land of Kalachakra Study and Practice. His visit marks the second time he has come to Cornell; he previously visited in 1991.The first part of the event was a half-hour long chant by eight Buddhist monks. Following the chants, President David Skorton introduced the Dalai Lama.“It is a very profound honor for Cornell University and for me to welcome back to campus His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama,” Skorton said.Skorton added that the Dalai Lama has been an inspiration to people around the world, and that he has authored over 70 books and received more than 80 awards and degrees — including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.Skorton introduced the Dalai Lama as an important leader in “bridging the gap between religion and science” and as someone who has been instrumental in focusing on sustainability efforts in his homeland, as well as promoting peace and nonviolence to millions throughout the world. After Skorton’s brief introduction, the Dalai Lama addressed the audience.“Brothers and sisters,” the Dalai Lama began. He prefaced his talk by remarking that as people, everyone is a member of “the same human family” and therefore he refers to everyone as either his brother or his sister. He also said that the world is overcrowded and thus very prone to violence. He then spoke about his role as the 14th Dalai Lama.According to the Dalai Lama his number one commitment as a human being is “the promotions of human value,” and his second commitment as a Buddhist is “the promotion of religious harmony” of people throughout the world.His talk then turned to peace. “Everybody really loves peace,” he said, but warned that peace is not simply the “mere absence of violence.”Genuine peace, according to the Dalai Lama, must come from within. If a person is full of anger or hate, that individual cannot be genuinely peaceful.When asked about how Americans can help developing third-world countries, the Dalai Lama praised the Peace Corps for sending America’s students around the world instead of soldiers. His remarks elicited loud applause from the audience.After finishing the question and answer section, the Dalai Lama placed a kata, a long thin white scarf, around Skorton’s neck. Offering a person a kata is a Tibetan custom associated with greeting.He also gave one to Prof. David Holmberg, anthropology, who delivered closing remarks, and to Susan Wardwell and Mareike Larson, the two sign language interpreters.Compassion, he said, is the source of inner peace and strength.
Original Author: Sun Staff