Dalai Lama finds calm in compassion

  • Article by: ROSE FRENCH and PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Updated: April 24, 2012 - 8:48 PM

He spoke to Mayo Mind Body Medicine Initiative.

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Dr. John Noseworthy, left, president and CEO of Mayo Clinic, greeted the Dalai Lama on Tuesday in the chapel at St. Marys Hospital in Rochester.

Photo: Ken Klotzbach, Associated Press

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In Rochester for a routine medical checkup at the Mayo Clinic, the Dalai Lama also spoke on the importance of using compassion to control stress, comments made as part of a panel discussion hosted by the Mayo Mind Body Medicine Initiative.

"Compassion ... opens our heart. Fear, anger, hatred narrow your mind," he told hundreds of doctors and other health professionals.

Wearing a maroon and gold visor with the University of Minnesota's gold M logo -- which matched his trademark gold- and maroon-hued robe -- the Dalai Lama spoke as part of a discussion on the topic of "resilience through mindfulness." The presentation was streamed live online.

Hosting Tuesday's event were Mayo President and CEO John Noseworthy and Amit Sood, chair of the initiative, which develops meditation, stress management and resiliency training programs for use in clinical practice at Mayo.

Having compassion for others is one way to help people build resilience when dealing with health-related problems and other concerns, the Dalai Lama said.

"When we face a problem, analyze that situation. If there's no way to overcome, there's no use feeling sad," he said.

Several hundred members of the Tibetan American Foundation of Minnesota welcomed the Dalai Lama when he arrived in Rochester on Sunday. He then addressed a gathering of more than 100 Chinese students and scholars studying in Minnesota.

About 8,500 Tibetans live in the United States, with 2,500 to 3,000 in Minnesota -- the nation's second-largest Tibetan community.

The Dalai Lama has lived in exile in India since 1959, following the Chinese occupation of Tibet. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his campaign to end Chinese rule in his homeland.

Over the past several years, he's periodically visited the Mayo Clinic for checkups. His last major visit to Minnesota was in May, when he addressed hundreds at the University of Minnesota's Mariucci Arena for an event promoting personal and societal healing.

rose.french@startribune.com 612-673-4352 pwalsh@startribune.com 612-673-4482

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