April 19, 2007

Dalai Lama to Visit Ithaca

Print More

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, Tenzin Gyatso, will visit Ithaca this fall, the Namgyal Monastery announced today. The visit, scheduled to take place Oct. 9 and 10, will be the Dalai Lama’s first visit to Ithaca since 1991.
Ithaca houses one of the first Tibetan resettlement communities in the United States; the Namgyal Monastery Institute of Buddhist Studies serves as the North American seat of the personal monastery of the Dalai Lama.
The Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. He won the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize.
The Monastery said that the visit will allow the Dalai Lama to view and bless a new temple complex, which is under construction off Route 96. The new temple has been named The Land of Kalachakra Study and Practice.
Three public events have been scheduled at Cornell, Ithaca College and the State Theater in downtown Ithaca. Tickets will be required; details for purchase will be released at a later date.
The third Dalai Lama, Sonam Gyatso, founded the Namgyal Drastang (Victorious Monastery) in 1575. The 14th Dalai Lama and 55 monks from Namgyal fled to India and Nepal, escaping the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1959 and relocating the Namgyal Monastery to Dharamsala, India where its traditions are carried on today.
1992 marked a watershed for Buddhism and Tibetan culture in the United States as monks traveled from Dharamsala, India to Ithaca, to establish a branch of the Namgyal Monastery.
There are approximately 20 to 30 Tibetan families living in Ithaca right now, according to Jenine Rose Mollican, administrator of Namgyal Monastery.
The Monastery allows students to take classes in Tibetan Buddhism in a monastic setting without having to travel the 7,000 miles to India.
“The Institute’s three-year program takes a 15-year Buddhist education and reduces it to a three-year program for Western students,” Mollican told The Sun in April 2006.
Buddhism is the fourth largest world religion with roughly 350 million adherents.