Dalai Lama speaks to 15,000 students at University of Maryland - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Dalai Lama speaks to 15,000 students at University of Maryland

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. -

About 15,000 people came to the Comcast Center on the campus of the University of Maryland in College Park, Tuesday, to listen to the Dalai Lama.

From the moment he entered the arena, the Dalai Lama was playful, putting on a University of Maryland visor, sparking a loud cheer from the crowd.

As he usually does, the spiritual leader of Tibet (who lives in exile) addressed the throng without notes. His messages were simple: all humans are equal, even Nobel Peace Prize winners, such as himself.

"If I look at you," explained the Dalai Lama, "If I stress: 'I am Buddhist. I am Tibetan.' And, perhaps, 'I am the Dalai Lama. [Am I] some special person?' Nonsense!"

The guest speaker told his mostly young audience material comforts are fine, but they don't provide inner peace.

"In order to achieve a happy life, don't trust only material values," warned the holy man.

The Dalai Lama got an honorary doctorate from the University of Maryland, and during a short question session, was asked about "radical Islam." The Tibetan holy man pointed out that religious extremism has caused chaos in Christian Northern Ireland, and he told the crowd that when too much emotion is mixed with religion, religion becomes "easily ... manipulated."

The students appeared to love it.

"I think I really took his words to heart," said Assad Hayat, a sophomore. "And I think I might think more about my actions ... try to be more compassionate toward others."

Noting that the governor was in the audience, the Dalai Lama suggested he may send to Maryland a proposed course on "human values" to be taught here first, and then, perhaps, it would be spread to other universities.


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