Dalai Lama “very happy to have opportunity” to speak at Loyola
By Kim De Guzman
On Thursday, April 26, the Loyola University Chicago campus was abuzz with the excitement of welcoming a world-famous spiritual leader to campus.
His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso visited campus to present a lecture about “Interfaith Collaboration” in Loyola’s Joseph J. Gentile Arena.
There were two programs: a morning session and an afternoon session. The morning program, although also held on the Lake Shore Campus, was sponsored and organized by the Tibet Center of Chicago.
The afternoon program was sponsored and organized by Loyola.
Anticipation for His Holiness’ arrival to Loyola has been slowly building up for weeks, ever since tickets went on sale last month on March 26. Tickets to the event were sold out to undergraduate and graduate students within 24 hours, leaving no tickets available for faculty, staff, or alumni to purchase.
By noon on Thursday, there were three long lines of Loyola students, faculty and others waiting to get into Gentile. When students finally reached the front of the arena, they were greeted by an airport style security system.
Before the program officially started at 1:30 PM, there were different theatre, music, and dance performances from several interfaith campus organizations and groups, including the Muslim Student Association, Hillel, and the Buddhist Student Organization.
Before officially starting the speech, His Holiness was given an honorary Loyola degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa. The degree was presented by President and CEO Michael J. Garanzini S.J. and Frank Fernell, PhD, the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
After the degree (and a red Loyola golf visor, which His Holiness was ecstatic to receive) was presented, it was then that His Holiness took the stage.
“I am very happy to have the opportunity to talk in a Catholic university,” he said.
The 40 minute speech centered on the ultimate source of happiness, the importance of fostering discussion between religiously diverse groups and people, and the focus of compassion and understanding.
“The ultimate source of happiness is your peace of mind, your inner peace,” he said to a crowd of almost 4,000. “The transformation of the mind is not that simple. The mind is formless but difficult to control.”
After His Holiness’ lecture presentation, several pre-selected Loyola students had an opportunity to ask questions in a Q-and-A session. However, not all students were able to ask their question due to the program’s time restraints.
Several questions included: “Who has influenced or inspired you in your life?” “What advice would you give to someone who wants to be an advocate for peace?” and “What are your views on globalization and the fluidity of modern culture?”
Many students who attended the event were honored that they had the opportunity to see the Dalai Lama.
“His insight was really inspirational,” says Dylan Gilmore, 21, a senior political science and international studies double major. “He had a really good message and as human beings, I think we lose sight of that message sometimes, so it was good to hear that perspective.”
Overall, audience members say they enjoyed themselves.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and it was a really awe-inspiring one,” says Matthew Morris, 20, a junior criminal justice major. “His message was perfect for our university, and I think it’s really cool that we can call him an “Honorary Rambler” now too.”
Kim De Guzman is the editor-in-chief. She can be reached at email@example.com.