Wait — did the Dalai Lama just choose sides in the epic UCLA vs. USC rivalry? As if Los Angeles' two biggest institutions of higher education didn't have enough to fight over — Bruins fans vs. Trojans fans, Alexandra Wallace vs. Kappa Sigma bro, seeker vs. snitch — now the embodiment of all things peaceful has fanned the rivalry by calling in sick to a scheduled UCLA appearance on May 2, then healing just one day later for a USC appearance on May 3.

Ouch. The Daily Trojan brags that His Holiness…

…was “wearing a USC hat with matching cardinal and gold robes,” speaking to a crowd of 5,500 on “the importance of individual happiness, which in turn creates a happy family, a happy community and a happy world.”

Oh, happy day! Meanwhile, the Daily Bruin wallowed in Lama-lessness:

Student tickets sold out fast, but [student Chris] Gurley showed up at the Central Ticket Office early – around 7:30 a.m.

“(The Dalai Lama) spoke at Berkeley about two years ago, and I had some friends who saw him and said it was incredible, so I was really looking forward to (the lecture),” Gurley said.

When he got back to his room Sunday afternoon after a day spent studying, Gurley's roommates broke the bad news to him.

“At first I didn't believe them,” he said.

It was disappointing news, although Gurley said he realizes there is little else that could have been done.

“He's an old guy and he's sick, so what can you do?” he said.

There are no plans to reschedule the Dalai Lama's appearance in the near future, according to a UCLA spokeswoman.

And uh, we don't mean to rub it in, but the speech at USC today sounds like it was pretty amazing.

“He was surprisingly open-minded about how society should be run,” one student told the Trojan. “He seems like a genuinely good person, through and through.”

“He was very charismatic and funny,” said another.

UCLA's only consolation: “[His talk] was hard to hear because there was so much echo in the center and there was the language barrier,” a third student whined.

Still, it's obvious which school came out on top. Today, thanks to some flash throat bacteria — or, more likely, some major private-school donations to the Dalai Lama's bank account — it's USC 1, UCLA 0.

Shucks. Shouldn't a Buddhist leader be opting for the proletariat? Then again, even demi-gods have bills to pay.


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