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The 14th Dalai Lama Visit’s Matthew Knight Arena

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The Path to Peace and Happiness in a Global Society

Lhamo Thondup, the youngest of 7 children was born on July 6, 1935 to a farming family in a small hamlet located in Taktser, Amdo in Tibet.  When Lhamo Thondup was two years old, he was recognized as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama Thubten Gyatso.

Lhamo Thondup began his monastic studies at the tender age of 6.  His curriculum consisting of five major and five minor subjects, which included logic, Tibetan art and culture, Sanskrit, medicine and Buddhist philosophy; which then divided into five further categories; Prajnaparamita, the perfection of wisdom; Madhyamika, the philosophy of the middle way; Vinaya, the canon of monastic discipline; Abhidharma, metaphysics; and Pramana, logic and epistemology.

On November 17, 1950 when he was 15 years old he was officially enthroned as the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso (his name shortened from Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso;   Holy Lord, Gentle Glory, Compassionate, Defender of the Faith, Ocean of Wisdom.)  He was now the political leader of his people.

During the Tibetan uprising in 1959, fearing for his life The Dalai Lama fled with the help of the CIA’s Special Activities Division.  Crossing into India in March of that year and reaching Tezpur in Assam mid April.  80,000 Tibetan refugees followed him into exile.  Forming the Central Tibetan Administration (the Tibetan government in exile) he created the Tibetan education system; teaching the language, history, religion and culture.  In an attempt to preserve the Buddhist teachings and the Tibetan way of life, he supported the refunding of 200 monasteries and nunneries.

The Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso remained head of state for the Central Tibetan Administration until he retired on March 14, 2011.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, being recognized for his life long support and work for peace.

History of Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama is the high lama in the Gelug or “yellow Hat” school of Tibetan Buddhism.  The name is a combination of the Mongolian word dalai meaning “Ocean” and the Tibetan word bla-ma (the be is silent) meaning “guru, teacher”.  In Tibetan Culture, it is believed that each Dalai Lama is the reincarnate of his predecessor.

The first Dalai Lama:  Gendun Drup lived from 1391 until 1474.  It can take one to two years to find the reincarnate Dalai Lama after a passing.  It took 4 years to find the 14th Dalai Lama after the passing of his predecessor.  Since the second Dalai Lama;  Gendun Gyatso, each Dalai Lama has held the name Gyatso, with only the first name being changed with each Dalai.

“Today is a beautiful day in the life of the universe”

The efforts given to bring His Holiness here has been an amazing journey.

The story begins long ago and with a girl named Jangchup Palmo (knowns as Amala, honorific for mother).  She was about 15 years old when the Chinese Communists took by force the Tibetan region of the northeastern Himalayan mountains.  Her parents and three of her five siblings were killed.  She was taken prisoner but was able to escape two years later.

Jangchup was forced to flee her homeland along with many other Tibetans.  Injured by 6 bullets; two to her arms and 4 in her legs, she made the difficult journey over the Himalayan mountains by foot into India and then eventually into the United States.

Dedicating herself to the Buddhist practice, she spent sixteen years in solitary meditation in a cave.  She went on to having a family of her own, 7 children; five boys and two girls.

The Eugene Sakya Center is led by two of her sons the venerable Jigme Thrinley Rinpoche and Venerable Ngaglo Rinpoche, both of whom are Tibetan Buddhist leaders, arriving with their mother in 1997.

Jangchup Palmo, known now as Lady Palmo is highly known internationally.  She founded the weeklong annual World Peace Prayers held in Portland and Switzerland.  A wise and compassionate teacher, Lady Palmo is the person who first initiated bringing the Dalai Lama here to Eugene; writing letters to his representatives of the Office of Tibet every month over a ten year period.

With the efforts of Lady Palmo, the University of Oregon and the Sakya Center, his Holiness arrived by motorcade to the Matthew Knight Arena on May 10, 2013.

The arena was packed to capacity with 11 thousand people in attendance.  When His Holiness walked on stage, the arena erupted with major applause, even whistles.

“We love you” someone shouted from the audience.

He bowed to us and smiled, and then began to wave at us as if to say, “oh go on”.  He then sat in his chair, the stage adorned with beautiful flower arrangements.

Michael Gottfredson introduced The Dalai Lama and presented to him the University of Oregon Presidential Medal, (the highest honor bestowed by the president of the University) as well as a University of Oregon visor, which he promptly placed on his head.  As anyone could imagine, the arena erupted once again.

The Dalai at that time gave white silk scarves to Gottfredson, Mark Uno and venerable Jigme Rinpoche.  Bending at the waist, each recipient bowed so the Dalai Lama could place the scarf around their neck.  In all my years I have never witnessed such a beautiful gesture.  When after draping the white silk scarf around their necks, he embraced each person by their cheeks, raising them and smiling.

“For you” he said.

He then sat for only a couple of moments until the formalities were complete, Gottfredson turning over the stage floor to His Holiness, the Dalai Lama.  He and his interpreter once again rising, he stood at the front of the stage.

The arena quieted and the Dalai Lama began to speak in his broken english, which only added to his charm.  I didn’t want to miss anything, trying my hardest to retain everything that he said, wanting to absorb every word.  I am witnessing history.

He is a sweet, adorable, compassionate man and not without a sense of humor.  He had the audience laughing numerous times.

He emphasized that we can not have peace in this world until we have peace within ourselves.

His Holiness begins by saying “we are same human beings, we are human brothers and sisters.  We must accept our differences.  We are same.  Everyone wants happy life.  We are just one small planet.  One world.  We must make clear concept of oneness of humanity”

“Suffering due to injustice.. bullying all these are problems due to our own creation”.  We must become one.  For example.. “Faith creates we and they” separating each other.

He states that “Sometimes compassion does not bring happiness to others, but to yourself.”    He was in Germany and smiled at a woman, “my habit, I smile, the lady sees suspicion”.   He laughs at the memories

He talks about people who say “I, I, I and me and mine.  Those people have a greater risk of heart attack!”  He made light of this but it was clear the message he was sending.

Which ever religion you accept is entirely up to you.   “my religion is very simple, my religion is kindness”.    “Respect all religions”  We don’t have to know other religions.  Just respect them.

He spoke about meditating and praying daily but also says;  “action is more important than prayer.  We must not rely on prayer or meditation.  Action requires vision.  Unrealistic action brings failure.”

He tells of a story when speaking to a woman.  “Do you think there will ever be a female Dalai Lama?” she asks.

“Yes, why not.  I think in 600 years, and she will be very, very  attractive!” he leads the audience with his own laughter.

Dalai Lama
The 14th Dalai Lama as a Child l File Wikipedia

I truly feel females should take a more active roll in history.  They are biologically more sensitive.  We would not have wars.  Please provide maximum compassion to your children.  Love, forgiveness, tolerance and contentment.”

When I was a boy, the baby of the family, my mother used to carry me on her shoulders, even when she worked in the fields, my mother was very efficient (he admitted to being spoiled) I would grab her ears and steer her where I wanted to go, if I wanted to go this way, I would pull that ear” he giggles at the memory.  “I never saw my mother with an angry face”.

“We get our affection from our mothers.  It is in their skin, in their blood.”  The Dalai urges us to spend more time with our children so they get the maximum affects of our compassion.

“Our very survival depends on community.  In order to promote individuals, peace must come from inner peace. not society or groups.”

“You must be healthy in order to do this.”  He gave an example:  “If you go to a doctor and he is not well, then he can not treat you very well.”

He preaches self confidence, compassion and moral ethics.

Taking a poll he asks the audience “below 15 raise hand” there were not so many.

“below 30…” many raise their hands.  “Above 70, raise hand” he keeps his hand in the air…there were lots!  The arena erupts into applause.

“So, my generation…our century is gone.  Ready to say bye bye”.  He wave to the crowd.

“So for those of you below 30, you truly have opportunity to create new shape of this century.”  Encouraging words from a great peace maker.   “In your time, you can see peace world wide.”  It has to start with them.


When The Dalai Lama had decided it was time, he took a seat for a question and answer period.

“If you could say something to the next Dalai Lama, what would you say?”  He smiles “I don’t know… That is a foolish question.”  The arena broke out in laughter.

It was a huge honor to see him.  As much as I would like to have been able to transcribe all that was said, I simply don’t have the power.

If we could all learn from him, something very simple.  It would be to find peace.  First within our selves, and then to share it.  It is a small gesture of kindness, as simple as a smile that could begin to change our world.

As the Dalai Lama left the stage in his crimson robes, the arena stood, applauding him.

To view the entire event click on the following link.

learn more about the Sakya center: www.

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