MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – The Dalai Lama paid tribute to his mother on Mother’s Day as he spoke at the University of Minnesota, crediting her kindness for giving him a sense of security.
Speaking to a crowd of around 8,000, the Tibetan Buddhist said all people have the potential for happiness because they all come from mothers. He recalled how he would ride on his mother’s shoulders when he was a young boy and pull on her hair to try to direct her, not always successfully.
“If mother not follow me, then I cry,” he said to much laughter from the Sunday afternoon audience, his second of the day at the nearly sold-out Mariucci Arena.
The theme of his visit to the university was “One Heart, One Mind, One Universe.” Tsewang Ngodup, president of the Tibetan American Foundation of Minnesota, told the crowd it was “good karma and an auspicious sign” that the Dalai Lama’s visit came 10 years to the day after he last spoke on campus.
The topic of his afternoon talk was billed as “Peace Through Inner Peace,” and he stressed the themes of kindness, compassion, nonviolence and respect for people of all beliefs.
As part of his appearance, university President Robert Bruininks and Board of Regents Chairman Clyde Allen presented the Dalai Lama with an honorary doctorate of humane letters degree, the university’s highest honor. Allen said the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize winner’s life had shown that “even the path of a simple Buddhist monk can lead to a path of global understanding and deep purpose.”
They also presented him with a maroon sun visor emblazoned with a gold “M” for Minnesota, which he accepted with a hearty laugh. It went well with his traditional maroon and gold robe, which coincidentally are the university’s official school colors.
The Dalai Lama’s visit was sponsored by the university’s Center for Spirituality and Healing and the Tibetan American Foundation of Minnesota, and healing was the theme of his first event Sunday, dubbed “Medicine Buddha Empowerment.” He sat cross-legged on a large throne as he spoke for more than two hours on the tenets of Buddhism, as about two dozen monks sat on oriental rugs nearby on the elaborately decorated stage, wearing traditional maroon and gold robes like his.
He told the morning crowd of around 6,000 people that much human suffering arises from self-centeredness. But he said one can overcome suffering and achieve happiness by cultivating wisdom and altruism.
The monks accompanied the Dalai Lama in several chants as he rang a bell. He also led the mostly American crowd in chanting “Mantra of the Medicine Buddha” in Tibetan. The mantra was written out phonetically on cards distributed to the audience, which explained: “Recitation of the mantra is said to bring release from suffering and protection from untimely death. Free from all suffering and sickness, our physical body stays healthy and our mind is peaceful so that we can attain the great enlightenment and until then, also serve all sentient beings.”
The Dalai Lama urged his audience to recite it daily as much as possible, especially if they’re suffering from illness or undergoing medical treatment.
His tour started last week with appearances at colleges in the Los Angeles area. From Minnesota he was due to travel to Southern Methodist University in Dallas and then to the University of Arkansas.
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