Have you ever wanted to ask the Dalai Lama a question about compassion, spirituality or life in the modern world?
This could be your chance.
Auburn's General Gomez Arts and Events Center on May 17 will be hosting a live interactive event with the 14th Dalai Lama, one of the world’s most revered spiritual leaders.
The Dalai Lama, who will be in Dharamshala, India, will participate in a dialogue with University of California Professor of Psychology Emeritus Paul Ekman, who will be on the UCSF campus, where an event also is being hosted.
Their conversation is titled "Moving Toward Global Compassion." Ekman has been exploring this topic with the Dalai Lama since 2012, and their collaboration led to a book of the same title.
A few members of the audience will be able to ask His Holiness questions during the live interactive event, said Tenzin Ravi Verma, founder of Tibet House California. A Sacramento-based non-profit dedicated to preserving Tibetan culture, the Tibet House California is assisting in organizing the event.
“We will also be live streaming it on Facebook, YouTube and Livestream," said Verma, 52, owner of a software company in Rocklin and a Tibetan Buddhist.
Now 82, the Dalai Lama has drastically reduced his trips outside of India where he lives in exile, said Verma, an Indian immigrant who has made a historical documentary with the Dalai Lama and translated his book on ethics into Hindi.
“He has continued to teach from his residence in a hill station in India, and his talks have been webcast over the Internet,” Verma said. “This was a good opportunity to bring a California audience to him.”
The Dalai Lama traveled to California in June 2016 to address the state Legislature. He talked about “compassion, the environment and ethical leadership" during that trip, Verma said.
This time, “His Holiness will talk about global compassion that is not limited to your tribe or friends,” Verma said. “What motivates a person who jumps on the subway tracks to save a total stranger?”
The Dalai Lama is no stranger to using technology to spread his message, and he is active on social media. On April 19 he tweeted: “Not only is it the case that happy people are more willing to help others, but as I generally point out, helping others is the best way to help yourself, the best way to promote your own happiness. It is you, yourself, who will receive the benefit.”
On April 30, he tweeted: “There is a link between our physical and verbal actions and emotions. If, instead of anger, hatred and suspicion, we are moved by loving-kindness, we will naturally have greater respect for others and our actions will be non-violent.”
The Dalai Lama, born Lhamo Thondup on a farm in northern Tibet, has been the leader of Tibetan Buddhism since he was declared next in the long line of Dalai Lamas at the age of 2. He was forced to flee Tibet to India in 1959 because his followers felt his life was in danger at the hands of the Chinese occupiers, Verma said. Until 2011, the Dalai Lama led the Tibetan government in exile.