Dalai Lama to visit Stanford, Ravenswood school

Exiled Tibetan leader to discuss 'compassion in human life, society'

The Dalai Lama will visit Stanford University and East Palo Alto's Costano School in October to remind all those who listen that compassion deserves a priority place in the world.

Stanford announced Monday that Tibet's exiled political and spiritual leader will deliver an Oct. 14 talk on "the centrality of compassion in human life and society."

In East Palo Alto, he will meet with all seventh- and eighth-grade students in the Ravenswood City School District, which serves East Palo Alto and eastern Menlo Park.

"We are honored to be selected to have his Holiness the Dalai Lama visit us," Ravenswood Superintendent Maria De La Vega said. "We are formulating a committee to begin meeting as soon as possible to plan for his arrival."

The Dalai Lama will spend two days at Stanford at the invitation of School of Medicine Dean Philip Pizzo.

On Oct. 15, he will participate in a day-long conference on "Scientific Explorations of Compassion and Altruism," sponsored by the medical school's Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education.

Pizzo said the Dalai Lama's participation will "help further promote our understanding of compassion and altruism in scientific, medical and spiritual domains.

"His Holiness the Dalai Lama is one of the world's most renowned and respected spiritual and moral voices and has inspired generations and millions of people throughout the world about the fundamental underpinnings of a caring and compassionate life," he said.

The Dalai Lama also will participate in several "small, private gatherings" with groups, including Stanford's Ho Center for Buddhist Studies.

The Tibetan leader's visit to Stanford -- his third -- is co-sponsored by Pizzo and the Rev. Scotty McLennan, dean of the Office for Religious Life.

"The real impetus for the Dalai Lama's visit this time is his excitement about what Stanford is doing by starting the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education," the Rev. McLennan said.

"He thinks it's important to use the language of science to reach people. People will not listen to him merely as a religious person. He says he needs to connect with people using a language he feels is universal."

The Dalai Lama helped pay for the creation of the research center with some of his book proceeds, McLennan said.

In East Palo Alto, De La Vega said she believes the Dalai Lama's staff was referred to her by county education officials.

"I believe (the staff) called the San Mateo County Office of Education and gave a profile of what they wanted to see, and they referred them to us," she said.

"I was told that he frequently visits 'poor communities.' Given that he is visiting Stanford ... Ravenswood was close by.

"I believe His Holiness will be here for about two hours in the morning and has specifically requested an audience with the students. All of next year's seventh- and eighth-grade students will be bused to Costano for the event.

"In May, we will prepare the students for His Holiness' visit," De La Vega said.

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