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Dalai Lama spreads message of peace at first Portland appearance

The Dalai Lama greeted about 6,000 people at the University of Portland’s Chiles Center Thursday morning, offering a message of peace during a multicultural gathering.

KOIN Local 6 reported that the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader arrived around 9 a.m. and spent time talking with people as he made his way into the Chiles Center. Once on stage, he put on a University of Portland visor and said it protects his eyes from all the lights. Purple is his favorite color, he told the audience.

The interfaith dialogue featured Muslim, Catholic, Jewish and Native American leaders who talked about the environment and spirituality. The overall message: with 10 billion people expected to occupy Earth soon, we need to do a better job taking care of our planet, according to KOIN Local 6.

And he joined the others with the message that people should not harm each other in the name of their faith. Though the summit is about the environment, he said part of that is respecting God.

“Compassion, affection — a biological factor,” the Dalai Lama told the audience. “So even an animal has that. But religious faith, only among human beings.”

In the afternoon, the 77-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner delivered a speech at the University of Portland’s Chiles Center called “Universal responsibility and the inner environment: the Nature of Mind.”

Before the Chiles Center event, the spiritual leader met with staff and Tibetans students participating in the Global Leadership Initiative. He recalled that as early as the time of his predecessor, the Thirteenth Dalai Lama, there had been efforts to introduce modern education in Tibet. Then, soon after coming into exile in India, priority was given to setting up schools to educate children. Those have largely been successful, he said, but what is needed now is for Tibetans acquire expertise and specialized training

According to a press release from the Dalai Lama’s office, he spoke to the Tibetan students in their native tongue, talking to them about the value of education for Tibetan society.

“We may regret that the tragedy that befell Tibet was attributable to our lack of modern education, but as far as Buddhist science, logic and epistemology are concerned, they are presently only to be found in Tibetan,” the Dalai Lama told the students. “We are thus the custodians of a world treasure. Now, in addition, we need to produce specialized scholars who study up to PhD level and beyond. We may not need space technology, but there are many other aspects of knowledge and technology that would be of help to us.”

Other events planned by the Dalai Lama during his visit include:

Friday, May 10, 9 to 11 a.m. The Dalai Lama will participate in a symposium on “Life and After Life” at Maitripa College in Portland. A live webcast of the event is planned at www.dalailama.com/live-portland10am

Friday, May 10, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. The Dalai Lama will give a public talk on “The Path to Peace and Happiness in the Global Society” at the University of Oregon’s Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene. A webcast of the event can be seen at www.uoregon.edu.

Saturday, May 11, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. The Dalai Lama will join political and environmental leaders to talk about “Universal Responsibility & the Global Environment” at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland. A webcast is planned at www.dalailama.com/live-portland11am

Saturday, May 11, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. The Dalai Lama will talk about “Inspiration for the Global Environment” at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum. A webcast can be seen at www.dalailama.com/live-portland11pm

KOIN Local 6 contributed to this news story.