WestConn Prepares For Dalai Lama's Visit To Danbury

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Tibetan monks from the Drepung Gomang Monastery create an intricate sand exhibit at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury on Tuesday to celebrate the visit of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Photo Credit: Alfred Branch

DANBURY, Conn. – One of the world’s leading spiritual figures, his Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, is coming to Western Connecticut State University in Danbury on Thursday and Friday.

The Dalai Lama will present public talks on both days. The first is on “The Art of Compassion,” and the second is called “Advice for Daily Life.”

“I couldn’t believe he was coming to our school,” WestConn junior Vincent Brown said. Although he has not studied Tibetan culture, Brown said he knows enough about the Dalai Lama to know that it is a big deal that he is coming to Danbury. “You’d typically hear about something like that happening at someplace huge, like Ohio State or Iowa or USC.”

The talks are sponsored by the college and the Do Ngak Kunphen Ling Tibetan Buddhist Center for Universal Peace in Redding, which spent years on an initiative to bring the Dalai Lama to the area. His talks will be held in the Feldman Arena of the O’Neill Center on the school’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Ext.

The Westside campus will effectively be shut down for the two days to allow for extensive security checks for everyone who plans to attend. Day classes Thursday and Friday have been canceled, and the U.S. State Department is overseeing the coordination of the event.

“I regret not getting tickets,” WSCU junior Carly Slossberg said. “There have been events around campus for the past year celebrating his arrival, so I’m sure the turn out will be huge.”

Over the past year, there have been screenings in Danbury of films about the Dalai Lama and Tibetan culture, such as Martin Scorsese’s “Kundun” and the Brad Pitt feature “Seven Years in Tibet,” as well as a Tibetan medicine workshop.

The Thursday talk will be at 1:30 p.m., and the Friday talk will be at 10 a.m. Students and members of the public without tickets can watch the two talks via a live videocast for free at the school’s Ives Concert Hall at the WCSU Midtown Campus on White Street.

Additionally, the school will stream the talks on the Internet from a special website set up for the visit, and broadcast the event on the radio at WXCI-FM 91.7.

“This is a huge privilege and an honor to have someone so holy and important visit our school,” junior Anamilena Moreno said. She said she plans to attend the free video telecast in the Ives Concert Hall.

“My mom yelled at me when she found out he was coming,” Moreno added. “She was like, ‘Do you know who that is? Do you know how important he is?’ She wanted to go real bad.”

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