Transforming Suffering, and other talks by Venerable Palden Gyatso

October 12-18 2005                                                                                                    

Human rights groups are leaving their marks on the world, and an individual or a community motivated to help others will find that world peace will come naturally, a Tibetan monk said during a lecture Tuesday night at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 N.H.

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Speaking through an interpreter to an audience of more than 100 people, Palden Gyatso described himself as "just a monk" armed with the weapon of truth during a lecture he called "Freedom, Dignity and Justice in the Land of Snows."

Gyatso, who was born in 1933, became a Buddhist monk at the age of 10. He was arrested in 1959 for protesting Chinese occupation of Tibet. He spent the next 33 years in prisons and labor camps where he was often tortured. When he was released, he fled to India in 1992. He said he knew that if he survived that ordeal, he would speak up for his rights.

Gyatso commended the work of human rights groups today and he urged people as individuals and communities to cherish the needs of others over their own. In doing so, their own needs will be taken care of naturally, he said.

Gyatso also urged individuals and communities to exercise anger control.

"Once we accept that we have anger then we can do something about it," he said. "We should not let anger dominate us. If we do, then we become helpless."

Gyatso has been in Lawrence for the past several days conducting lectures and participating in discussions. His appearance was sponsored by the Hall Center for the Humanities at Kansas University and the Lawrence Arts Center's Committee on Imagination & Place.

In 1998, Gyatso was awarded the John Humphrey Freedom Award by the Canadian group Rights & Democracy. The award is named for John Peters Humphrey, a Canadian human rights law professor who prepared the first draft of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Palden Gyatso will appear in four events in the next week in Lawrence, Kansas:

  • “Surviving Three Decades of Political Violence,” lecture followed by book signing, 2:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.  Wednesday, Alderson Auditorium, Kansas Union at the University of Kansas).

  • “Transforming Suffering: Compassion for All,” roundtable discussion, 7 p.m.-9 p.m. Friday, Hall Center for the Humanities, KU.  Panelists will be Gyatso; Felix Moos, professor of anthropology; John Robertson, licensed psychologist; and Kenny Massey, undersheriff for Douglas County.

  • Tibetan crafts sale and book signing, 2 p.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Zen Zero, 811 Mass.

  • “Freedom, Dignity and Justice in the Land of Snows,” Imagination and Place Lecture, 7 p.m., Lawrence Arts Center, 940 N.H.

Page 14 of Hall Center for the Humanities Annual Report 2005-2006