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Dalai Lama Visits New Orleans
May 16-18, 2013

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His birth name was Lhamo Dondrub. His religious name is Tenzin Gyatso. The rest of the world knows him as the Dalai Lama, 14th in a long line of high priests of the Gelug or "Yellow Hat" school of Tibetan Buddhism. Winner of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize, he is world-renowned for his lifelong advocacy for Tibetans inside and outside Tibet, as well as his widely-received messages of peace and an end to human suffering.

The Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of about 8 million Tibetan Buddhists, will make his first-ever visit to New Orleans in May. He will speak at three public events, including Tulane University's commencement, where he will also receive an honorary degree. The Dalai Lama, who will be accompanied by eleven Tibetan monks, will speak at a conference titled, "Resilience: Strength through Compassion and Community" at the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Convention Center on Friday, May 17.

On Saturday, May 18, his second talk, titled "Strength Through Connection," will be held at the University of New Orleans Lakefront Arena. The Friday and Saturday talks are sold out but last minute tickets might come available. For ticket information go to http://dalailamanola.com/tickets.  

The general public's best opportunity to hear the Dalai Lama will be on Friday, May 17, from 10-11 a.m., when he participates in the "Resilience" panel discussion at the Convention Center. He will be on the panel with world-renowned author and speaker Margaret Wheatley and famed Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry Dr. Richard J. Davidson. Tickets are still available for that event.

The conference concludes at 5:30 p.m. Friday the 17th.

The Dalai Lama was persuaded to come to New Orleans and help rally support for communities still recovering from Hurricane Katrina. His calls for universal compassionate action and his message of responsibility, love, compassion, and kindness is expected to resonate well in a region facing an ongoing healing process.

Prior to the conference, on May14, there will be a Tibetan Bazaar that is free and open to the public in the Morial Convention Center, Hall G Lobby. The bazaar will feature Tibetan crafts, music and chanting by Tibetan Buddhist monks. On the following day, Drepung Loseling Monks, devout followers of the Dalai Lama, will unveil a sacred Sand Mandala in the same location. The bazaar and Sand Mandala will be open to the public on Thursday and Friday, May 16-17, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

For a more complete conference schedule go to http://dalailamanola.com/conference/schedule.

About the Dalai Lama

Born on July 6, 1935 in Taktser, Qinghai Province, China, the Dalai Lama was selected as the rebirth of the 13th Dalai Lama at the age of two, in accordance with Tibetan Buddhist custom. Fourteenth in a line of Dalai Lamas stretching back to the late 1500s. He was formally recognized as the 14th Dalai Lama on November 17, 1950, at the age of 15, a year after Mao Tse-tung and the communist Red Army took over the government of China.

Tibet, located high in the Himalayas with its capital at Lhasa, was a sovereign territory at the time of the communist takeover, having resisted attempts by the previous regime to formally incorporate Tibet into China proper. After the communist takeover, during which time the young Dalai Lama was the head of state, a loose governing agreement between China and Tibet was put into place. However, religious Tibetans resisted Chinese attempts at a full takeover and their resistance flared into open violence in 1959. With U.S. help, the Dalai Lama fled to neighboring India on the other side of the Himalayas. He established a Tibetan government in exile in Dharamshala, India and continued to be widely recognized as the political and spiritual head of Tibet.

Although he hasn't ruled over his home nation for 54 years, the Dalai Lama is still regarded as a head of state and is accorded diplomatic privileges wherever he goes. He travels the world, spreading a message of peace and calling for an end to suffering worldwide. He has met with other religious leaders, including three popes, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Chief Rabbi of Israel and heads of the Mormon, Eastern Orthodox, Sikh and Muslim faiths. His writings on many subjects are widely read and have been translated into dozens of languages.

In addition to the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize, he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007. In 2011 he resigned as head of state, retaining his spiritual status until the question of his successor and the manner of succession is resolved. He is still reverently referred to as "His Holiness."

For more complete biographical information go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/14th_Dalai_Lama.
 
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