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Sunday, May 19, 2024
His Holiness the Dalai Lama is making his 10th visit to Madison this week.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama is making his 10th visit to Madison this week.

?Dalai Lama calls for affection, understanding during visit with Madison community

Charming a sold-out crowd of more than 1,000 people with a charismatic, joyful attitude, His Holiness the Dalai Lama emphasized a need for religious coexistence and strengthening Tibetan identity Tuesday at the Madison Masonic Center.

His remarks are part of a string of public appearances in Madison this week as part of during the religious leader’s 10th visit to the area.

“We should make this a century of love, a century of compassionate love,” he said. “Human love is key in planting the seeds of a healthy mind. Whether believer or nonbeliever, we are human brothers and sisters.”

The Dalai Lama praised the Wisconsin Tibetan Association for keeping the Tibetan community strong, despite hardships for those in Tibet.

“The community here is really thriving in the Madison area. Back home, the situation is quite difficult. We live in constant fear and anxiety, and there is no freedom,” he said. “We are living in many different parts of the world, but fortunately, wherever we live in the world as refugees we have been able to make friends and be welcomed.”

In order to keep the community strong, the Dalai Lama encouraged young Tibetan Americans to understand their identity more fully.

“You have to know what being a Tibetan means. It’s not enough to just know what the alphabet is,” he said. “Be able to master the language and know what value the language and culture carries.”

The event, sponsored by the Wisconsin Tibetan Association, included appearances by Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis.

The Nobel Laureate’s last visit to Madison was in 2013. His relationship with the area has grown over the years through the cultivation of a close friendship with UW-Madison neuroscience professor Richard Davidson.

Davidson, who studies emotion and the brain, founded UW-Madison’s Center for Healthy Minds in 2008 to serve as “a global hub for innovations in affective and contemplative neuroscience in addition to well-being across the lifespan,” according to the center’s website.

The center will host a panel discussion Wednesday featuring the Dalai Lama and Davidson at the Overture Center for the Arts. The panel, entitled “The World We Make,” will focus on the world’s well-being through 2030. Although the discussion is sold out, the center will livestream the event.

The Dalai Lama arrived in Madison Saturday and was greeted by a crowd of nearly 300 people. Local officials including Parisi took part in the welcoming of the religious leader to the area.

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The Dalai Lama has been staying at the Deer Park Buddhist Center in nearby Oregon, Wis. The Buddhist Center’s founder, Geshe Lhundub Sopa, also played an instrumental role tightening the relationship between Madison and the Dalai Lama. The founder died in 2014, and the Dalai Lama paid respects to the former leader Sunday at the Deer Park center.

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