Following the most devastating natural disaster of the new century, we could all use a little Dalai Lama in our lives. Lucky for Los Angeles, His Holiness has chosen our smog basin as one of the longest legs of his 2011 world tour -- and lucky for the college kids at UCLA and USC, their campuses will host about half his trip.
Then again, USC just got sprinkled with the holy teachings of President Obama in October. Hard to beat that.
Here's where you can catch the one and only Lama on his way through in May:
Teaching in Los Angeles, CA, USA on May 1: His Holiness will confer the Solitary Yamantaka Initiation (jigje wang) in the morning organized by Gaden Shartse Thubten Dhargye Ling at the Terrace Theater. Contact Website: www.tdling.org/hhdl2011
Public Talk in Los Angeles, CA, USA on May 1: His Holiness will give a public talk on Secular Ethics and Meditation in the afternoon organized by Gaden Shartse Thubten Dhargye Ling at the Terrace Theater. Contact Website: www.tdling.org/hhdl2011/gstdl-weekend
Public Talk in Los Angeles, CA, USA on May 2: His Holiness will give a public talk on What is True Wisdom? in the morning organized by the UCLA Center for Buddhist Studies at UCLA Royce Hall. Contact Website: http://www.dalailama.ucla.edu/
Public Symposium in Los Angeles, CA, USA on May 2: His Holiness will participate in a public symposium on Buddhism and Neuroscience: A Discussion on Attention, Mental Flexibility and Compassion in the afternoon organized by the UCLA Center for Buddhist Studies and the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA Royce Hall. Contact Website: www.dalailama.ucla.edu
There are also (apparently more obscure) USC dates, not listed on his own website, but proudly announced by the university and the Daily Trojan on theirs:
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet will visit USC on May 3 for two events hosted by the USC Student Interfaith Council. ...
The first event will take place in the morning at the Galen Center, where the Dalai Lama will give a public talk on secular ethics, religious pluralism and the relationship between spirituality and science. A question-and-answer session moderated by Dr. James Doty, board member of the Dalai Lama Foundation, will follow the lecture.
The Dalai Lama will participate in a panel of scholars, also including USC neuroscience professor Antonio Damasio and USC professor of philosophy and law Gideon Yaffe, in an event that afternoon at Bovard Auditorium. The panel will talk about consciousness, cognition and contemplation.
Yes, enlightenment this exclusive has a price: Buy your $50 ticket here. Or, if you're a USC student, you can get one for $30 less. Woo hoo! (Then again, discount status costs $40,000 a year.)
USC Dean of Religious Life Varun Soni told us in an e-mail that the university's student Interfaith Council (IFC) is the one who set up the May visit, after getting in touch with the Dalai Lama Foundation.
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"[IFC] is comprised of student leaders representing our many student religious groups on campus," says Soni. "And they invited him to campus because he embodies the spirit of interfaith engagement and religious pluralism that they promote."
The announcement came hand-in-hand with the news that the Dalai Lama will be retiring as Tibet's leader, making way for Western-style democracy. Hey, we'll take him: Dalai Lama for 2012!
That is, if the world hasn't ended yet.