Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 9
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Students travel to Seattle, hear Dalai Lama

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, the manifestation of the Buddha of Compassion, the Ocean of Wisdom, was in Seattle for a five-day series of events focusing on the issue of compassion from April 11 to 16. Many students traveled the five hours from campus to attend workshops and lectures at the wuest Field and the University of Washington.

The Dalai Lama has been in exile since 1959, living mainly in Northern India after the Chinese occupation of Tibet. For the past 50 years he has set up cultural, religious and educational systems to preserve Tibetan heritage around the world. In 1989 he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in Tibet and his opposition to violence.

Nearly 22,000 people attended the first three events held on Friday, April 11. The main public lecture was held at the Qwest Field, home to the Seattle Seahawks, where tickets were free.

On Monday, April 14, the Dalai Lama received an honorary doctorate at the University of Washington where over 7,000 people attended his lecture, most of whom were students.

“It wasn’t about how awesome the Dalai Lama is. It was that everyone was coming to talk about compassion, the future, how we want change and how to invest in our children,” said first-year Abigail McCoy.

Throughout the event, workshops and lectures reiterated the importance of children.
“There was a lot of focus on instilling compassion in the next generation,” said first-year Dana Bialek.

“He spoke to how we can nurture children’s innate sense of compassion instead of squashing it,” said McCoy.

In response to one student’s question on how to get government leaders to act with compassion, the Dalai Lama suggested the meeting of every international political leader on a holiday. No business would be discussed, they would just have dinner.

“He wanted to have their kids play together and to eat together and to talk and get to know each other as humans,” said senior Marina Heppenstall. “So that when conflict arises we can address it human-to-human rather than as political powers.”

The program closed with the braiding of compassion bracelets. Two neighbors wove together strings and a large wooden bead.

“It was supposed to symbolize weaving compassion together,” said sophomore Katie Rouse.

“It’s kind of a nice reminder everyday to remember to incorporate it into our daily lives.”

The Seattle Times wrote that over 400 protesters marched across the University of Washington’s campus on Monday in support of Chinese actions. While there were fewer demonstrators at the Qwest Field event, many students were surprised to see radical Christians protesting the Dalai Lama.

“To me it just shows how we don’t fully understand each other, because he always says his religion is compassion and really supports other religions,” said Heppenstall.

Through five days of lectures and events, the Dalai Lama was met with criticisms and praises. He spoke on the individual level, of internal disarmament, and how to cultivate compassion.

“The cool thing about compassion is that every person can access it. Every person has the ability to make positive change and act with intention,” said McCoy.

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