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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Exhibit revisits the Dalai Lama's historic visit

October 24, 2008

By Laura Kovant
The Brown and White
October 23, 2008

A collection of photographs and memorabilia from the Dalai Lama's
historic visit to Lehigh in July is now on display at Linderman Library.

The collection includes memorabilia from this visit and items from
events held in preparation for his visit, which include a slideshow
of the sand mandala created by monks in the rotunda of Linderman in October.

The Dalai Lama is the head of state and spiritual leader of Tibet,
although he is currently in exile.

"I think it was an extraordinary thing to have a person of his values
and orientation in our midst ? a person committed to compassion,
peace, and cooperation," said professor Lloyd Steffen in an e-mail.
Steffen was co-chair of the committee responsible for preparations
during the year prior to the Dalai Lama's visit.

Steffen said he believes the event was a success and a great moment
in Lehigh history.

"I am still receiving comments of appreciation from people grateful
that Lehigh made the effort to make this visit happen," Steffen said.

In his opening remarks at the unveiling of the exhibition at
Linderman, Steffen said even today we are unable to appreciate the
Dalai Lama's criticism of the spiritual and moral problems of our
lives. These criticisms present too much of a challenge to the way we
live and what we value to even hear them or take them seriously, Steffen said.

Matt DiPisa, '11, said he didn't know much about the Dalai Lama and
the ideals he stood for before arriving at Lehigh.

"It's really important for college students to understand the
cultural and historical significance of such a figure as prominent as
the Dalai Lama," DiPisa said. "There's an awareness among students of
the Dalai Lama's ideas that definitely didn't exist beforehand."

In efforts to educate students on Tibet, Buddhism and the Dalai Lama,
Lehigh offered lectures and spring and summer semester courses that
focused on these topics.

Alexa Naas, '11, took advantage of these opportunities by enrolling
in a class about Buddhism.

"The class ended up changing how I view life in general. I now see
things from a different perspective," Naas said.

Other students said they felt the Buddhist presence on campus as they
watched monks create the sacred sand mandala in Linderman.

"I watched them work hard all week just to destroy their masterpiece.
It showed me that objects in life are impermanent." said Sri Rao, '11.

Lehigh students also got a taste of Tibetan food through a series of
monthly Tibetan lunches served in the dining halls. Jon Abramson,
'09, said he went out of his way to try the cuisine at Rathbone.

"I think it's great that Lehigh made such an effort to ensure a true
learning experience for all of us, even those who weren't able to be
here when the Dalai Lama visited," Abramson said.
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