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Monday, March 4
The Indiana Daily Student

Dalai Lama presents Heart Sutra at IU Auditorium

The engines of four empty buses growled around the otherwise quiet Showalter Fountain. Yellow police tape flapped in the mid-afternoon breeze, and a cluster of police officers surrounded every entrance into the IU Auditorium.

Slowly, the doors opened, and the capacity crowd began filing out of the Dalai Lama’s public teachings Wednesday.

As she left the auditorium, Bab May was speechless. She said she was still processing and taking in his teachings.

May, an Indianapolis resident, described the first of the Dalai Lama’s teachings on the Heart Sutra as impressive.

“He focused on being more compassionate,” May said. “You wanted to practice what he preached.”

The Dalai Lama is in Bloomington through Thursday, giving three public teachings.
The events are ticketed.

He will be at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Friday to give a public talk. Tickets for the Indianapolis event cost $25.

Several attendees at Wednesday’s Heart Sutra teaching said they were impressed by the simplicity of his message.

“It was compassion you could learn,” Indianapolis resident Jeff McCarty said.

Despite the straightforward message, Mark Moss of Kokomo said his own personal studies of Buddhism showed him that the Dalai Lama’s message is more complex.

“It’s too deep without a philosophy background,” Moss said. “But the
simplest parts are easy. It’s deep, but he always brings it back to how compassion is easy. The hard part is letting go of delusions.”

Seeing the Dalai Lama’s teaching was, for Moss, just another step in what he called a 10-year relationship with the spiritual leader.

After a personal crisis, he saw the Dalai Lama on TV, beginning his own life-changing spiritual journey.

“I saw him on TV and I asked myself, ‘Is he fake?’” Moss said. “It pulled me in and stripped away the negative.”

The Dalai Lama’s visit to Bloomington also featured an international cultural pageant at the IU Auditorium on Wednesday night.

Several other community organizations also sponsored events throughout the month of May.

Additionally, a tent in the Herman B Wells Library parking lot featured a Tibetan bazaar with brightly colored goods, the smell of incense and stalls with representatives from Tibetan nonprofit organizations.

As the Dalai Lama arrived on-stage Wednesday morning, Bloomington resident Mary Gray said the entire auditorium fell silent.

“I’m always struck by how powerful it is when he enters the room,” Gray said. “The auditorium was completely full but silent. Then, he broke the silence by laughing. He’s just so full of joy.”

Zach Baker, a student in West Virginia, came home to Bloomington in time for the teaching.

He said he felt a connection to the Dalai Lama after hearing him speak.

“He’s not just some figure on the other side of the world,” Baker said. “He’s an actual person.”

The Dalai Lama develops closeness and a personal connection to his audience by making his message accessible to all backgrounds by welcoming all spiritualities, Moss said.

“His message always starts with Buddhism not being about conversion,” Moss said. “You’re hearing teachings from a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and it’s something we should all take and share.

“There’s so much misery in America. ... It’s important that Hoosiers can look and see this great opportunity.”

Gray said the spiritual leader visiting Bloomington in particular gives the city a
responsibility for cultural change.

“It’s one of the things that makes this town special,” Gray said. “Instead of just a plain old town in Indiana, we’re a center of possibility of peace and change.”

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