By RICK CHATENEVER,
WAILUKU – Nobel Prize-winning activist for peace, happiness and political freedom the Dalai Lama will come to Maui next April for a two-day visit.
The leader of the Government of Tibet in Exile, who is perhaps best known in the U.S. for the best-selling “The Art of Happiness,” will be on Maui April 24 and 25. His visit was confirmed formally earlier this week by the Office of Tibet in New York. He will be appearing under the co-sponsorship of the Maui Dharma Center in Paia and the Tibetan Cultural Conservancy of Maui. Details of his appearances have yet to be arranged, but he plans to make at least one public presentation.
This will be the first visit to Maui for the spiritual and political leader who has been to other Hawaiian isles twice before.
Known for advocating compassion even as he champions the survival of his homeland, which systematically is being homogenized by the government of China, the Dalai Lama is a tireless world traveler. The citation accompanying the Nobel Prize presented in 1989 to “the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso,” acknowledged, “In his struggle for the liberation of Tibet (he) consistently has opposed the use of violence. He has instead advocated peaceful solutions based upon tolerance and mutual respect in order to preserve the historical and cultural heritage of his people. The Dalai Lama has developed his philosophy of peace from a great reverence for all things living and upon the concept of universal responsibility embracing all mankind as well as nature.”
The visit culminates efforts to bring the holy man to the Valley Isle by Lama Tenzin, a Tibetan immigrant who came to Maui to become director of the Dharma Center in Paia in the early 1980s.
“Lama Tenzin had been inviting His Holiness to come and visit our community since he came to Maui,” says Georgiana Cook, a board member of the center who served as Lama Tenzin’s translator before his death.
Noting that the world figure “is so busy, and this is a small island,” she expressed joy at the announcement.
“We’re so pleased and happy because of His Holiness’ position in the world community. He promotes peace and harmony for all religions, amongst all religious followers. He gives such good advice to all people, no matter what path they follow. We are so happy that he’s coming to meet the community, which is itself so diverse and so rich with so many cultures.”