Dalai Lama Speaks To Nearly 3,000 At Middlebury College

10/12/12 5:50PM By Steve Zind
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AP/Toby Talbot
The Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists, sits with Middlebury College Chaplin Laurie Jordan before an appearance at Middlebury College on Friday.

The Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibet, took a message for young people to Middlebury College on Friday.

The Dalai Lama spoke to Middlebury faculty, students and staff in a crowded college sports arena.

His talk was preceded by an ecumenical program that included everything from bagpipes to gospel selections to an improvised traditional Tibetan selection

The 77-year-old Tibetan leader, who is most properly addressed as His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, made a quiet entrance without fanfare.

He told young people that this was their century and urged them to make it one of peace, which he said can only come through educating the heart to learn generosity and compassion.  

"Education should be equal," the Dalai Lama said. "Material values, external values, external comfort and internal values.  I think that's important. Marvelous brain and warm-heartedness combined.  Then your life is really a successful, happy life."

This was the Dalai Lama's third visit to Middlebury College.  He joked about his age and went into details about his gall bladder surgery. He also described meeting Mao Zedong in the 1950s and being impressed with the Chinese Communist leader.

He described his own as Marxist, telling the audience that unlike capitalism, Marxism calls for the equal distribution of wealth.

"A Marxist economy very much puts the emphasis on the importance of equal distribution, not just thinking how to make a profit. Whereas capitalism is not talking about equal distribution."

Earlier this year, the Dalai Lama relinquished political leadership of his government in exile but he remains a spiritual leader to Tibetans.  Tenzin Namdol was one of a number of Tibetan Vermonters at the event. 

"For us, we see him as a God figure first, and then comes the political leader," Namdol said.

The Dalai Lama will meet with Tibetans living in Vermont after he speaks at an event Saturday at Middlebury College. 

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