Somehow I forgot to blog about one of the most inspiring experiences of my short 20-year-old life. On Thursday, April 26th, 2012, the Dalai Lama came to my university to speak to all of us.
Getting tickets was a huge hassle. They opened up to students in March and sold out in HOURS. I was lucky enough to snag a ticket, but many people weren't. For the $10 I paid for the ticket, my seat was incredible...I was closer to His Holiness than some of the $100 seats.
Before the Dalai Lama came, I participated in a book club where we read one of his books, A True Kinship of Faiths. The Dalai Lama decided to come to our university because, although we are a Jesuit Catholic university, we have a huge population of Muslim and Jewish students. We're big on diversity. In this book club, a bunch of us with all different faiths discussed how His Holiness preached for more than tolerance of different religions: he preaches for acceptance.
Our school was all decked out with banners welcoming the Dalai Lama. In the words of many of my fellow students, we've never seen Loyola do something this "legit" before.
I was one of the first people in line (though in the picture it doesn't seem like it--you should see the people BEHIND me). I skipped classes to see the Dalai Lama because, let's face it, I'm sure his speech was a lot more inspiring than learning about the extracellular cell matrix or The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins.
The Dalai Lama welcoming the president of Loyola and giving him a ceremonial white sash.
He spoke for around an hour about interfaith and how our generation needs to promote acceptance of others. He's wearing a Loyola visor in the picture, which our university president gave him. Upon receiving it he said "I've gotten a lot of these from a lot of different universities. Someday I should put them [for sale] on the internet...they will make a lot of money!" His laugh is absolutely adorable.
That's his translator by his side, who helped him when he struggled with a few words. I think he was confused by how big the chair was. At one point he invited our university president, who was standing the whole time, to sit down next to him!
It was the most inspiring two hours of my life, probably more-so because I read the Dalai Lama's book ahead of time. I think he spoke about something truly important to our generation. With so much diversity in Chicago, he spoke a message that does not apply only to religions and faith, but to cultures as well.
I feel so lucky that I was able to take part in this!