The Dalai Lama got into the spirit of the New Orleans-style moment on Saturday, after speaking to 2,800 Tulane University graduates.
Honorary degree recipient Dr. John’s rendition of “Right Place, Wrong Time” prompted the students to leave their seats and dance. Holding a Mardi Gras parasol given to him by Tulane’s president, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists kept time to the music.
In his commencement address, the 77-year-old Dalai Lama complimented the graduates for serving others, but urged them to move beyond the community to take on such international problems as pollution and climate change. “Please, graduates of the 21st century, think more globally and try to create a more peaceful world,” he said. “My generation is already gone, so we gradually say, ‘Bye-bye.’ … “You really are our hope. Please think more seriously how to build a happy century, a peaceful century.”
The Dalai Lama stressed the importance of compassion and trust, but also the importance of joy. “I always believe that the very purpose of our life is happiness … an existence based on hope. Now you start your real life. It could be more complicated, with more difficulties. You should not demoralize. … You must keep optimism and self-confidence.”
The raucous ceremony in the Superdome ended with fireworks and all that jazz.