The Dalai Lama’s coming to town

by Pete Talbot

This is cool.

An email/press release from my Buddhist friend Simone Ellis: the Dalai Lama will be visiting Western Montana. The Garden of 1000 Buddhas in Arlee seems to be the main draw for His Holiness.

I don’t have a specific date but a press conference is being held Friday, so I guess that’s when we’ll get the details.

Now, I’m not a strict Buddhist. I’m not a strict anything. But to me, this is bigger than a visit from the pope. Here’s what the news release says:

Everyone knows who the Dalai Lama is, but for the record, he is the 14th Dalai Lama, and the first to travel extensively outside of Tibet. Born Tenzin Gyatso, in 1935, recognized as the next Dalai Lama at an early age, he is both the head of state and the spiritual leader of the Tibetan government in exile, seated in Dharamsala, India, where he has lived since having to flee his homeland in 1959. He won the Nobel Peace prize in 1989, and is the author of dozens of books.

Also from the news release:

WHO: Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche, spiritual head of Ewam International, and the founder of the Garden of 1,000 Buddhas, announcing the pending visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

WHERE: Inner Harmony Yoga Studio, 214 East Main Street, entrance in the alleyway north of the Union Club. Parking on Main or on side streets to Broadway.

WHEN: 1-2 PM Friday March 19, 2010.

We’ll keep you posted.

(Update: Joe Nickell has the skinny, here. Looks like a fall arrival for the Dalai Lama — if the Garden of 1000 Buddhas is completed, that is.)

(Update #2: No disrespect but I think this might be a premature announcement. One million dollars needs to be raised, thousands of stupas, reliquaries, nimbuses and gabyuls [thanks, Joe Nickell, for making me drag out a dictionary] need to be built, there’s no firm date but Fall 2011 is being discussed — lots of maybes here.)

  1. Yeah, can’t wait to learn the details. This is a Big Deal, if you ask me.

  2. Big Swede

    Is he going golfing?

    “Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace, bald… striking. So, I’m on the first tee with him. I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one – big hitter, the Lama – long, into a ten-thousand foot crevasse, right at the base of this glacier. Do you know what the Lama says? Gunga galunga… gunga, gunga-lagunga. So we finish the eighteenth and he’s gonna stiff me. And I say, “Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know.” And he says, “Oh, uh, there won’t be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.” So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.”

    • Ty Webb

      There once was a zen philosopher that said a flute without holes is not a flute, and a donut without a hole is a danish. Funny guy……

    • petetalbot

      I gotta admit, Swede, that Bill Murray’s excellent lines in Caddyshack did cross my mind when I read the news release.

  3. Chuck

    He might be golfing. I saw him in Sun Valley several years ago, chummin around with the liberal elite. I thought he was just another rich guy hiding out with his girlfreind at a swanky resort.

  4. petetalbot

    The folks I know who practice Buddhism in Montana, Chuck, are probably liberal but they certainly aren’t elite.

    • JC

      I probably shouldn’t point this out, but Linda Pritzker (of Hyatt family fame) is a major player in the local Buddhist scene, and funder of the Ewam and many liberal causes. She lives outside St. Ignatius. I think she might classify as an “elite.”

      I guess you just know the wrong Buddhists, Pete. ;-)

      • Pogo Possum

        Nice catch J.C. I doubt the Dalai Lama would be visiting our community if it were not for the significant efforts and even more significant financial support Linda Pritzker has contributed to the Buddist community in this area.

      • Maybe if more of our politically elite were Buddhists, we’d not have so many wars.

        • Actually the Dalai Lama, while living a non-violent life and being a pacifist in his own life, has supported several wars (especially ones that would put him back in power). He’s also been a proponent of India’s nuclear program, the one that nearly led to a war with Pakistan a decade ago.

          Not sure why these traits aren’t mentioned very often.

  5. Quest

    Nothing against the Pope, but I think this is pretty big too Pete!

  6. problembear

    maybe the dalai lama can bring us some of that peace kharma that bearhead swaney tried to bring to the valley of the jocko with his white crosses….

    and quit having our kids brought home to us in boxes from the mideast.

  7. I might be confusing Buddhist with Hindu here (are they different?), but back in the 1960’s the Beatles and other assorted stars were assembled in India with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The master was going on a ride in a small plane one day, and asked for a companion from the group. John Lennon raised his hand and jumped up and down and said “Take me! Take me!” He did.

    Later, McCartney asked him why he was so excited to go on a plane ride with the master. Lennon said “I thought he might slip me the answer.”

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