Dalai Lama Addresses Impromptu Crowd In Saint Marys Chapel

April 28th 2009

Rochester, MN, USA, 27/4/09 (Post-Bulletin) - The Dalai Lama met with Tibetans and others Monday afternoon at the Saint Marys Hospital chapel while he is at Mayo Clinic for a health checkup.

In his third visit to Rochester since 2006, the spiritual and political leader of Tibetan Buddhists told the audience that they must encourage the younger generation to speak the Tibetan language, said Tenzin Samten of Edina, one of many Tibetans who hurried from the Twin Cities this morning once they learned the Dalai Lama was in Rochester.

Minnesota has the second-largest concentration of Tibetans behind New York. Most of the Tibetan population in Minnesota is in the Twin Cities.

Samten relayed what the Dalai Lama said during his 40-minute talk that began shortly after 1 p.m. Monday. Close to 400 people packed into the chapel at the hospital's east end. A security detail was seen earlier in the day at Saint Marys Hospital. The Dalai Lama said he is here for a checkup. He visited Rochester in 2006 and again in 2008 for similar visits to Mayo.

The Dalai Lama, the recipient of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize, now leads a government in exile from Dharamshala, India. Also called Tenzin Gyatso, the 73-year-old lama is believed by Tibetan Buddhists to be a reincarnation of previous Dalai Lamas; he is the 14th man to hold the title.

The Buddhist leader told his audience that they should do good work for others in their community and not rely on him, Samten said.

The Dalai Lama noted the conflict between Tibet and China, but said "history is history," Samten said. Instead, the Dalai Lama said Tibetans and Chinese people can work together through education and knowledge to improve their relationship.

On Thursday, the Dalai Lama is scheduled to speak in Boston at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. On Sunday, he visited a soup kitchen in San Francisco. 


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