“Hello. Good Morning. Sit Down,” said the older balding man in tinted glasses and a red robe to the laughing crowd. He raised his hands, gave a slight bow and a large smile.
Downplaying the significance of his own presence, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, visited Santa Clara University on Feb. 24. It marked the first visit by a Dalai Lama in the Jesuit institution’s 162-year history.
Finishing up his three-day Bay Area trip His Holiness, a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, was the guest of honor for “Business, Ethics, and Compassion: A Dialogue with the Dalai Lama.” The event was co-sponsored by Santa Clara University’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, along with Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education.
The event proceeded smoothly in spite of the expected protestors (practitioners of Shugden Buddhism, a subset of the religion that disagrees with the Dalai Lama) who lined up across the street from the university.
His Holiness arrived a fashionable 15 minutes late. The estimated 4,000 attendees who were asked, for security reasons, to arrive two hours before the event gave only positive energy for the Dalai Lama, cheering when in lieu of his traditional red sun visor he donned one instead emblazoned with the words “Santa Clara University.”
After performances by traditional Tibetan throat chanters and a youth choir, the Dalai Lama addressed his audience on the importance of humanity and kindness in a materialistic world, stressing his belief that humans are born with an innate compassion.
The Dalai Lama then joined a panel with Santa Clara University President Father Michael Engh, S.J. and Lloyd Dean, the president/CEO of Dignity Health, one of the top five largest healthcare systems in the United States, to further discuss the ethical issues of compassion in business and medicine.
“The Dalai Lama’s words were very thought-provoking. Profit and compassion are often seen as antonymous in today’s business world, but it doesn’t have to be that way,” said Ian Teraoka, an SCU marketing major attending the event.