The XVI Dalai Lama spoke with students last Friday during two events at the Bren Events Center. Discussing ethics and society, the morning presentation was directed at students while the evening event was open to the public.
The XIV Dalai Lama, 68, is a world-renowned spiritual and Tibetan leader known for his message of peace, non-violence, understanding and compassion while traveling around the world in exile from Tibet. He also won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.
More than an hour before the first event began at 9:30 a.m., nearly 5,000 students representing 36 middle and high schools, nine community colleges and universities, 11 religious groups and 12 youth organizations lined up outside the Bren to pass through heightened security.
Entitled ‘Ethics for a New Millennium,’ the Dalai Lama’s morning discussion was aimed at an audience of students. The presentation began with a musical introduction by Tibetan flutist Nawang Khechog, then continued as the Dalai Lama came on to stage and humorously sported a UC Irvine visor. He introduced himself as a humble peer rather than someone beyond our reach.
‘Perhaps we’ve had different experiences, but we’re all the same,’ he said, with the assistance of his translator. ‘If you consider me as a Buddhist or something different, then sometimes it may hinder closer communication.’
The Dalai Lama addressed issues of violence, ethics and education.
‘As a young person who faces a long future, I think we should analyze more of our inner potential while you are getting a modern education,’ he said, continuing to explain that our educational system often neglects the focus on ethics and morals that he feels are important to growth.
Keeping the mood light-hearted with humor, the Dalai Lama even talked about studying Buddhism in his childhood.
Halfway through the program, five representatives from community service groups gave speeches on the Dalai Lama’s visit and presented him with gifts in return for traditional ‘kata’ silk scarves representing good faith and honesty.
Students found the presentation inspiring.
‘Hearing him talk, I really learned from him,’ said Chiao-Yen Dyi, president of the Buddhist Association at UCI and fourth-year ICS major. She admired the strength he held despite his exile from Tibet.
‘I admire that he gets people to be more compassionate,’ Dyi said. ‘He has a good attitude toward life