Each year, His Holiness the Dalai Lama travels throughout the world offering teachings and public talks to individuals of all faiths and backgrounds.
This year on October 18, 19 and 20, The Gere Foundation and The Tibet Center are honored to host His Holiness’s return to New York City where he will bestow teachings on The Heart Sutra, The Sutra of Truly Remembering the Sublime Three Jewels, and The Wisdom Chapter of A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life.
His Holiness will also offer an initiation into The Buddha Establishing the Three Pledges and give a public talk titled, The Virtue of Nonviolence.
The 2013 visit will take place at the Beacon Theatre.
About His Holiness The Dalai Lama
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, describes himself as a simple Buddhist monk. He is the spiritual leader of Tibet. He was born on 6 July 1935, to a farming family, in a small hamlet located in Taktser, Amdo, northeastern Tibet. At the very young age of two, the child who was named Lhamo Dhondup at that time was recognized as the reincarnation of the previous 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso.
The Dalai Lamas are believed to be manifestations of Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezig, the Bodhisattva of Compassion and the patron saint of Tibet. Bodhisattvas are believed to be enlightened beings who have postponed their own nirvana and chosen to take rebirth in order to serve humanity.
His Holiness began his monastic education at the age of six. The curriculum consisted of five major and five minor subjects. The major subjects were logic, Tibetan art and culture, Sanskrit, medicine, and Buddhist philosophy which was further divided into a further five categories: Prajnaparimita, the perfection of wisdom; Madhyamika, the philosophy of the Middle Way; Vinaya, the canon of monastic discipline; Abidharma, metaphysics; and Pramana, logic and epistemology. The five minor subjects were poetry, music and drama, astrology, composition and phrasing, and synonyms. At 23, His Holiness sat for his final examination in Lhasa’s Jokhang Temple, during the annual Monlam (prayer) Festival in 1959. He passed with honors and was awarded the Geshe Lharampa degree, the highest-level degree, equivalent to a doctorate of Buddhist philosophy.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a man of peace. In 1989 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent struggle for the liberation of Tibet. He has consistently advocated policies of non-violence, even in the face of extreme aggression. He also became the first Nobel Laureate to be recognized for his concern for global environmental problems.
His Holiness has travelled to more than 67 countries spanning 6 continents. He has received over 150 awards, honorary doctorates, prizes, etc., in recognition of his message of peace, nonviolence, inter-religious understanding, universal responsibility and compassion. He has also authored or co-authored more than 110 books.
His Holiness has held dialogues with heads of different religions and participated in many events promoting inter-religious harmony and understanding.
Since the mid-1980’s, His Holiness has begun a dialogue with modern scientists, mainly in the fields of psychology, neurobiology, quantum physics and cosmology. This has led to an historic collaboration between Buddhist monks and world-renowned scientists in trying to help individuals achieve peace of mind. This has also led to the introduction of modern science in the traditional curriculum of Tibetan monastic institutions re-established in exile.
A History Of New York City Visits
In 1991, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was invited by Richard Gere and Khyongla Rato Rinpoche to bestow the Kalachakra initiation in New York City. Following an eight-day preparation period during which a magnificent Kalachakra sand mandala was created, His Holiness conferred the Kalachakra initiation upon more than four thousand people in Madison Square Garden’s Paramont Theater. It would be eight years before he returned to New York in 1999 to deliver teachings on Kamalashila’s Middle Length Stages of Meditation and Togmay’s Sangpo’s Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas. During this visit, His Holiness addressed an extraordinary public gathering in Central Park attended by over 200,000 people.
In 2003, at the request of The Tibet Center and The Gere Foundation, His Holiness returned to New York City. This visit’s ambitious four-day teaching on the Root Verses on Indian Philosophies, by 17th-century Tibetan scholar, Jamyang Shepa and The Seven-Point Mind Training by 12th-century Geshe Chekawa, also included a public talk in Central Park on The Bodhisattva’s Jewel Garland by Atisha. Over 200,000 people attended the event and this visit included A Concert for Peace and Reconciliation at Lincoln Center, which was released on CD under the same title in July 2007.
His Holiness returned to New York City in 2007 at the request of The Tibet Center and The Gere Foundation to teach for three days. These special teachings centered on two texts, The Diamond Cutter Sutra and Nagarjuna’s Seventy Verses on Emptiness. The visit featured a public talk titled, Peace & Prosperity, which was recorded in front of a sold out audience at Radio City Music Hall and later distributed on DVD by National Geographic.
In 2010, the Dalai Lama returned to New York City once again to teach Nagarjuna's A Commentary on Bodhicitta and A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life. The Dalai Lama also gave a public talk titled, Awakening the Heart of Selflessness. The entire visit was recorded and later distributed by the late great Adam Yauch and Oscilloscope Laboratories under the title, Compassion in Emptiness.
About The Gere Foundation
Founded by Richard Gere in 2001, The Gere Foundation is a private grant-giving organization focused on advocacy and cultural preservation within the Tibetan community, public health, and emergency relief.
For more information please visit gerefoundation.org.
About The Tibet Center
Founded in 1975 by the Reverend Khyongla Rato Rinpoche, a scholar and reincarnate lama of the Gelugpa order of Tibetan Buddhism, The Tibet Center provides a place where members and the general public can explore Buddhist teachings and practices as well as those of other faith communities.
Currently at The Tibet Center, the Reverend Khyongla Rato Rinpoche and Khen Rinpoche Nicholas Vreeland offer weekly classes in Buddhist practice and theory. Ancient Indian and Tibetan texts are taught alongside methods of integrating them into daily meditation and practice. Visiting masters regularly offer Buddhist teachings. The Tibet Center also hosts weekend seminars and retreats.
The Tibet Center currently holds classes at 273 Bowery, University Settlement, New York, NY 10002.