So we’re meeting the Dalai Lama?

dalai lama being cute The University at Buffalo is really gearing up for the arrival of the 14th Dalai Lama. Lamp post banners line the streets depicting his highness and students get emails regularly reminding them of the grand event. In fact, it’s turning out so big that UB has literally declared September 19, 2006 as a “Day of Learning” (no classes)!

Here at the ETC, librarians have been tasked to produce all kinds of print material for the event. From beautiful posters to pretty postcards, a bunch of us have been helping them make sure everything turns out right from layout design to the oversized printing.

So lately I’ve been talking to a few people around campus about it. I’ve heard interesting stories about how some president of a student body once said how he’d go listen to him, but said that it wouldn’t be a popular event with undergrads because they won’t know who he is (ouch!). Some felt that the whole thing was overblown, that he is a fugitive of China, that it’s be hard to separate the religion from philosophy and that it’s propaganda.

I guess you can never please everyone, but even though I have a book from the Dalai Lama called The Art of Happiness, this whole event has been one of the biggest university campaigns I’ve seen in my six years here. If it’s this big everywhere else, the Dalai Lama probably has a closet full of honoraries from the numerous prestigious universities he’s visited.

In any case, this evening’s email from the UB administration took the cake. A mass mail was sent out to inform everyone who the Dalai Lama is. I guess it makes sense not to look silly in front of a dignitary, but it’s stuff like this that reminds me of how Singapore works. Despite my cynicism, it’s a good safety measure nonetheless.

Here’s the first portion of the lengthy email about the 14th Dalai Lama. Take a look and let me know what you think:

Everything You Need to Know about the UB Visit of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama


  • At age 15 the Dalai Lama was the head of state, leading Tibet during the threat of a full-scale war with China.
  • At 20, he was meeting Chinese leaders Mao Tse-tung, Chou En-lai, and Deng Xiaoping to discuss the political fate of Tibet.
  • By 30, he was driven into exile in India, followed by 80,000 Tibetan refugees.
  • By 54, his efforts to liberate Tibet while consistently opposing the use of violence earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.

The visit of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama is a chance for all UB students to see the human face of peace—to reflect on how we can each, individually, achieve greatness for the benefit of our world.

For most UB students, the UB visit of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama (Sept. 19, 2006: performances: 1 p.m.; lecture: 3 p.m.) will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear this Nobel Peace Prize winner. His message is simple: a future of peace, human compassion, and cultural freedom is possible; it is in the hands of today’s students.

Click here to learn what’s happening—especially for students. Hear interviews with other UB students and faculty who have personal experience with the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhism. Find out about a special UB-student-only movie screening of Vajra Sky Over Tibet on Fri. 9/15/06; and find out where and when to get your tickets.

Power in Our Hands
“In a world full of war, a voice of peace is sometimes considered insane. What he has to say is not new. He tells us what we know to be inherently true. He’s not here to talk about being Buddhist or Tibetan. He’s here to talk about being human and living in an increasingly violent world. In 10 or 20 years, we, the young people, can use this to make a difference in our world.”
— Amalia Rubin, UB sophomore, Asian Studies


Day of Learning
September 19, 2006 has been designated a Day of Learning (no classes on North Campus). There is a full schedule of events on Sept. 18-19. Click here for a complete list.

5 thoughts on “So we’re meeting the Dalai Lama?

  1. I attended events to host His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the early 90s at my alma mater Cornell. Even back then we filled Barton Hall, bigger hall than anything here at UB. He was a regular guy. Told jokes and smiled as he delivered his message of peace. There was minimal security and this was before mass use of email on campus.

    Surely the thought isn’t lost on me how in all these years we’ve escalated to such levels of heightened nerves as a people that we can’t allow umbrellas at an event to promote peace. It seems that things have gotten worse in all that time, instead of better. But despite all the “preparedness” I will be volunteering at the events to show my support not only for his message but for all the people who worked so hard to bring something like this to fruition. Kudos to all of them as this has been years in the making.

  2. I bet you my university will do a video stream of this lecture. If not, I’ll bring my camera and record it. Interestingly, a special invitational email was sent out only to the Chinese population in UB. I was included of course, but this invitation was to allow the Dalai Lama to talk to us in private. I wonder what’s going to happen there.

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