Vancouver is about to get some serious lessons on compassion from the world’s leading authority on the subject.
The Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of a prominent school of Tibetan Buddhism and Nobel Peace Prize winner, returns to the city for a pair of engagements, Oct. 21 and Oct. 23. He will focus on two familiar subjects: the theme of heart-mind learning and the universality of compassion.
So who is the man behind the robes? Tenzin Gysato is the 14th Dalai Lama, in a line stretching back to the 14th century in Tibet. Each Dalai Lama is thought to be the reincarnation of the “bodhisattva of compassion” (if Wikipedia hasn’t steered me wrong on this). The current Dalai Lama was born in 1935 and has reigned since 1950. In 1959, during the Tibetan uprising against China, he was forced to flee to India and establish his administration there.
Since that time, he has travelled nearly constantly, advocating for Tibet and teaching on themes related to compassion, from women’s rights and non-violence to the environment, reproductive health and sexuality. This work earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.
The Dalai Lama kicks off his Vancouver whirlwind tour on Tuesday, Oct. 21, at the Vancouver Convention Centre with Be the Village. During this dialogue, he’ll inspire audience members to “be the village” and expand on the importance of “heart-mind” learning for youth. This “education of the heart” has been shown not only to improve the well-being of children but also to improve academic performance. The Dalai Lama will be joined by a panel of prominent speakers, including TED all-star Sir Ken Robinson and Janet Austin, one of Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women. Tickets are $69-$250,
The focus turns to practical teachings on compassion at a full-day event at UBC’s Thunderbird Arena on Thursday, Oct. 23. This “empowerment teaching” shows how kindness and compassion transcend religious boundaries. Audience members are then shown specific practices for cultivating compassion and how these practices can lead to inner happiness and balance. Proceeds from the event will support the Tibetan Resettlement Project, a humanitarian initiative to resettle 1,000 displaced Tibetans (currently living in refugee camps in India) to Canada. Tickets are $35-$200.
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