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Dalai Lama delivers message of compassion to 8,000 at TCC

Chris Codutoe/Arizona Daily Wildcat
The 14th Dalai Lama speaks to a sold-out crowd of more than 8,000 yesterday at the Tucson Convention Center. Tenzin Gyatso wrapped up a four day stop in Tucson as part of his two-week tour of the country.
By J. Ferguson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
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The 70-year-old Dalai Lama slipped off his red tennis shoes and got comfortable in the lotus position in front of thousands who came to hear him discuss the virtues of compassion.

An estimated 8,300 people flocked to the Tucson Convention Center yesterday to hear the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, give his afternoon speech.

With a playful smile, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate slapped his knees, saying most people have a different perspective on comfort and that many would find the lotus position uncomfortable. He sat in the position for the next 90 minutes.

The spiritual and political leader of millions of Tibetan Buddhists preached to the audience about the need to embrace an "inner disarmament" allowing compassion into their heart and letting go of anger.

In preaching the need to embrace compassion, he told a story about one of his drivers who had a short temper.

After bumping his head while working underneath a car, the driver then rammed his head repeatedly against the car to vent his frustration.

"The car may not hurt, but his head suffers more," the Dalai Lama said.

He said this was evidence that what makes us angry often has more than one cause.

"Every event is due to endless causations, not just one cause," the Dalai Lama said. "Anger needs to have one target. ... Anger blinds us so that we don't see reality correctly."

The true path to inner peace, he said, was with embracing a broader perspective and compassion, which in turn leads to a calmer self.

"It is easier to face things," he said. "That kind of (personal) atmosphere calms our minds and as a result our body functions more smooth."

The Dalai Lama touched on politics briefly - saying recent nuclear disarmament talks in North Korea were a positive step toward eventual world disarmament.

"This world should be free from nuclear weapons," the Dalai Lama said. "Although at this moment it may seem like a dream, the whole globe should be demilitarized. It is a necessity."

Calling the last century a time of war and senseless death, he urged the 1,000 students in the audience to create a new paradigm in the 21st century.

"The new generation should create a century of peace and dialogue," he said.

Chris Coduto/Arizona Daily Wildcat
The Dalai Lama was quite animated during his 90-minute speech yesterday at the Tucson Convention Center. More than 8,000 listened to him speak.

Shallon McClure, a studio arts freshman, said she was surprised such a large crowd came out to see the Dalai Lama.

She said she saw the Dalai Lama previously in San Francisco and was pleased to be able to see him again.

"I was fortunate to be (seated) so close," McClure said.

Bethany Lasky, an undeclared sophomore, said seeing the Dalai Lama was unlike anything she had done before.

"It was a good talk," she said. "It was cool."

Her friend, Meghan Harper, said they were fortunate to get tickets several weeks ago, being told there were a handful of free tickets left that were set aside for students.

"I was so excited," Harper said.

Harper, a history junior, said attending the 90-minute talk was memorable.

"It was amazing to be there, to see him live," Harper said.

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