Dalai Lama urges finding a spiritual path

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The Dalai Lama dedicated an interfaith temple Sunday and urged his audience of several thousand people to be religious and choose a faith.

“Religion should implement. The teachings should be part of our life,” the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader said during the second stop on a 16-day U.S. tour.

“If there are people who don’t have much interest in religion, they will see negatives,” he said.

The Dalai Lama, winner of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent struggle against Chinese rule of his homeland, visited Bloomington to dedicate a temple at the Tibetan Cultural Center, which is directed by his brother, retired Indiana University professor Thubten Norbu. It was the Dalai Lama’s fourth visit to the city.

The Chamtse Ling Temple — the name translates as “Fields of Compassion” — is a $1.2 million, 10,000-square-foot center dedicated to promoting world peace and harmony.

Among the guests for the dedication ceremony was Muhammad Ali, a Muslim. Following the consecration, the Dalai Lama thanked the former heavyweight champion for attending.

“It has been a great pleasure for me to see Muhammad Ali in person,” he said. “I have seen his boxing matches.”

“In my own case, if I were to step into the ring, I would be knocked down with the first punch,” he said, giggling and drawing loud laughter from the audience.

Also attending were representatives of 15 faiths who recited prayers in their own languages. A Muslim presented a small book titled “The Meaning of the Quran,” a Jewish rabbi offered a ram’s horn, and a Navajo religious leader gave a seashell filled with sage, representing land and water.

The Dalai Lama’s U.S. tour opened Saturday in California, where he received an honorary degree at Jesuit-run University of San Francisco.

He also plans to visit Boston, New York and Washington, where he will meet with members of Congress and the Bush administration.

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On the Net:
• Dalai Lama: http://www.dalailama.com/
• Tibetan government in exile: http://www.tibet.com/index.html

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