His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Bloomington, IN - May 11, 2010

May 11th 2010

Bloomington, IN, USA, 11 May 2010 - His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived in Bloomington, Indiana, this afternoon on the first leg of his tour of the United States.  On his arrival first in Chicago from Europe, His Holiness was received by Kasur Lobsang Nyandak Zayul, Representative of H.H. the Dalai Lama to the Americas. The President of the Tibetan Association in Chicago was also there to receive His Holiness. On his arrival in Bloomington, His Holiness was received at the airport by Arjia Rinpoche, Director of the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center, which is hosting His Holiness in Bloomington, along with some board members of the Center.

His Holiness walks with Arjia Rinpoche, head of the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center in Bloomington. (Robert Scheer/The Indianapolis Star)

As His Holiness’s vehicle entered the ceremonial gate of the Center, children from the Tibetan community in Chicago performed the Tashi Sholpa dance.  There were staff and supporters of the Center, including Tibetans, Mongolians, Japanese, Chinese, Americans and others, who stood beside the road, festooned with Tibetan and Buddhist flags, to welcome His Holiness. His Holiness blessed the newly constructed prayer wheel pavilion before proceeding to his residence. Among the lamas who received His Holiness at the entrance to his residence were the abbot of Gomang Monastery, Geshe Yonten Dhamchoe, the abbot of Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, Kachen Lobzang Tsetan, the abbot of Gandantegchinlen Monastery in Mongolia, Khamba Lama D. Choijamts (Choekyi Gyatso), Telo Rinpoche, head of the Kalmyk Buddhists of the Russian Federation, as well as the abbots of Erdene Zuu Monastery and the Kalachakra Temple also in Mongolia and the President of the Indiana Tibetan Association.

His Holiness’ teaching program begins on May 12, 2010 in Indiana University’s auditorium.

His Holiness is accompanied by Secretary Chhime R. Chhoekyapa and Secretary Tsegyam for this US visit.

Following is a news item that appeared in a local daily, Indianapolis Star.

Bloomington center is eager to welcome Dalai Lama
This week's visit is sixth here for Tibetan leader

By Robert King
The Indianapolis Star
Posted: May 11, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- In recent days, artisans at the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center have been hand-painting Tibetan characters on large copper drums that contain thousands of tiny written prayers.

Meanwhile, visiting Drepong monks spent a week painstakingly crafting a table top mural using colored sand -- an ornately detailed picture of a lotus blossom within the walls of a castle -- in a stuffy vinyl tent that prevents the wind from destroying their work.

And elsewhere in this 108-acre park devoted to a culture and a faith, volunteers have built ponds for ornamental fish and hustled to finish more mundane tasks like cutting the grass in anticipation of the arrival of the most important returning visitor the cultural center ever sees.

The Dalai Lama -- Nobel laureate, philosopher, Buddhist spiritual leader and head of the Tibetan government in exile -- will be making his sixth visit to Indiana this week.

Starting Wednesday, he will deliver two days of religious teaching. Then on Friday he's scheduled to give a public talk at Conseco Fieldhouse geared toward a wider audience and focusing on compassion and wisdom through periods of difficulty.

His visit has significance in several ways.

The trip is his first to Indiana since the September 2008 death of his elder brother and cultural center founder Thubten J. Norbu. While devout Buddhists view physical death as a pause before rebirth, cultural center officials say the Dalai Lama's return signals that the Bloomington center will remain important even though his brother is gone.

The Conseco discussion will mark his first public appearance in Indianapolis since 1999. Aside from a stop at Purdue University in 2007, most of his Indiana visits have been limited to Bloomington.

Finally, this visit will offer the Dalai Lama an opportunity to gauge the cultural center's progress since it had financial problems in 2007. Officials say the center is solvent once again and expanding beyond Bloomington. During the Bloomington teachings, which are sold out, the discussion will be geared to Buddhist practitioners and focus on one of the foundational scriptures of the faith -- the Heart Sutra. Its core idea -- that form is emptiness and emptiness is form -- holds profound meaning to followers about the interrelatedness of everything.

The Dalai Lama will tailor aspects of the same notions for the general public at Conseco Fieldhouse. "He will be talking about it to the average person in a way they can understand it. And more importantly, it is what you do with that and the contributions you make to your society," said Larry Gerstein, a member of the Indiana Buddhist Center, which is co-sponsoring the Indianapolis appearance. "It is a basic principle and philosophy of Tibetan Buddhism."

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