Dalai Lama visits Chicago to talk about the road to happiness

July 18, 2011

(Flickr/Jan Michael Ihl)
The Dalai Lama at an event in 2008 event in Berlin. He spoke in Chicago Monday.

The Dalai Lama spoke in downtown Chicago Monday morning about how people of different religions can come together. The panel discussion, entitled “Building Bridges: Religious Leaders in Conversation with the Dalai Lama”, took place at the Harris Theater and was hosted by the Theosophical Society in America.

The Buddhist leader was joined by leaders from various faiths who discussed the similarities between different religions. Leaders included Rabbi Michael Lerner, Dr. Ingrid Mattson and Rev. Peg Chemberlin. The panel was moderated by Eboo Patel, the founder of Interfaith Youth Core, a Chicago non-profit.

The Buddhist leader, who was born Tenzin Gyatso, stressed the importance of inner and outer peace as a way to find happiness. "Everybody knows -- anger will not bring happiness. Violence will not bring happiness," he said.

Paying mention to political conflicts around the world, including long-standing schisms in Northern Ireland, Israel and Palestine, he said that "forgetting our basic commonalities is very sad."

Demonstrators from the Free Tibet campaign stood outside the event with signs protesting Chinese rule over Tibet.

The Chinese government criticized the Obama administration for meeting with the Dalai Lama on Saturday, saying it would damage Chinese-American relations.

The Dalai Lama was in Chicago for two days. Before arriving, he participated in a 10-day event for world peace in Washington, D.C.