Dalai Lama coming to Aspen
November 2, 2007
ASPEN ” His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, will speak at the Aspen Institute in July.
The three-day event, titled “The Dalai Lama at Aspen: A celebration of Tibetan Art and Culture,” will kick off with a celebration July 24 and will feature a series of cultural events and symposiums.
The Dalai Lama will speak at the Aspen Music Festival tent on July 26.
It’s not the first time he’s been to Aspen, but it’s the Dalai Lama’s first public event in town, according to Kitty Boone, vice president of public programs.
“It’s just an honor for us to have him,” Boone said.
Having fled the Chinese invasion of his native Tibet in 1959, the 72-year-old spiritual leader resides in Dharamsala, home of the Tibetan government in exile.
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On Oct. 17, the U.S. Congress presented the Dalai Lama with the Congressional Gold Medal, and His Holiness met with President Bush ” a move that angered Chinese officials, according a New York Times article.
But in his speech accepting the award, the Dalai Lama did not call for full independence from China. Instead, he asked for “meaningful autonomy for Tibet,” according to The New York Times.
“He, himself, will not speak about politics,” Boone said, adding that plans for the July visit are in the early stages.
But she said recently the Dalai Lama has been stumping for a “middle way” approach to reconciliation between Tibet and China.
“Recognized by China or not, he is a head of state,” Boone said. “It’s always exciting to have a world leader in Aspen, and he brings a different character than many global leaders just by who he is.”
Film director Martin Scorsese, the actor Richard Gere and Robert Thurman, a professor of Indo-Tibetan studies at Columbia University, will be in attendance, Boone said.
“I think it will be a really substantive and thoughtful view to Tibetan life,” Boone said.
The Dalai Lama travels with a retinue of monks and Tibetan lamas. And symposiums will include discussions about the relation between science and the mind, the brain and meditation, as well as a ceremony around a planned sand painting on the Aspen Institute campus.
Security around the spiritual leader will be tight, Boone said, and she could not disclose where the Dalai Lama will stay.
The events will be limited by space, but tickets for a number of public forums will be available to the public, Boone said.