Dalai Lama arrives in Minnesota, greeted by hundreds of Tibetans

  • Article by: ROSE FRENCH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 7, 2011 - 10:03 AM

"When you see his face, it's just happiness," one admirer says. Tibet's exiled leader is leading several events through Monday.

Hundreds of Minnesota Tibetans and others gathered outside the University of Minnesota president's residence in St. Paul on Friday, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Buddhist holy leader the Dalai Lama.

They weren't disappointed.

Dressed in his maroon monk's robe and gold scarf and wearing his signature glasses, the Dalai Lama emerged from a black car at the home's entrance and was greeted by university leaders, local and state government officials and philanthropic donors.

Tibetans in colorful cultural dress lined the driveway of the residence, chanting and singing in Tibetan in honor of the Buddhist spiritual leader.

The Dalai Lama bowed toward the crowd of 300 to 400 people, who swarmed the white picket fence surrounding the red brick house to get a look at the Tibetan leader-in-exile.

"It's always very emotional seeing him," said Tenzin Palkyi, 25, of Brooklyn Park, who has seen the Dalai Lama at least five times at appearances he's made in other states. "When you see his face, it's just happiness. It makes me feel peaceful."

Palkyi and many other Tibetans at the Dalai Lama's official welcome also plan on attending other events this weekend featuring the Dalai Lama. On Saturday, after taking questions from the media in downtown Minneapolis, he will speak to the local Tibetan community at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul.

On Sunday morning, he will lead a Tibetan cultural and spiritual ceremony at Mariucci Arena on the U's campus, an event that is open to the public. That afternoon, he'll give a public address at the arena titled "Peace Through Inner Peace."

The University of Minnesota's Center for Spirituality & Healing and the Tibetan American Foundation of Minnesota are co-hosting the Dalai Lama's visit, dubbed "One Heart, One Mind, One Universe."

The Dalai Lama, who met with university leaders and others in private at the president's residence on Friday, addressed the group for nearly 30 minutes about such topics as the importance of mindfulness and compassion and the benefits of the ancient practice of Tibetan medicine, said Tony Baisley, communications director for the Center for Spirituality and Healing.

The Dalai Lama made another significant visit to the Twin Cities 10 years ago that was also greeted with great fanfare from Minnesota's Tibetan community, the second-largest concentration of Tibetan-Americans in the United States.

Rose French • 612-673-4352

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