By John W. Barry
Under sunny skies and awash in a brisk breeze, the Dalai Lama today spoke simply for roughly 45 minutes to some 2,500 who had gathered in Woodstock about compassion, inner strength and love.
Speaking at times with a booming voice that echoed, while at other points his voice quivered, the Dalai Lama told stories about visiting Jersualem and Roman Catholic shrines to Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ.
He spoke from a stage draped in yellow and framed by hundreds of roses, carnations, spider crysanthemums and irises shaped like a huge, inverted horse shoe. Shortly after taking the stage he commented on the "tidy houses" he saw in Woodstock and pointing to the Woodstock Cemetery located next
to Andy Lee Field, he said, `"And there, there is the final destination."
The crowd, which just minutes earlier had rippled with the kind of applause afforded an orchestra conductor as he takes the stage, erupted in laughter.
Hearing a world leader speak plainly about such non-political subjects as love and compassion was striking. But forming just as impressive an image was the sight of thousands, sitting on the ground, perfectly quiet and still for nearly an hour. The only sounds accompanying the Dalai Lama speaking were
those of children playing in the distance and a baby in the crowd shaking a rattle.
The spiritual leader and exiled Tibetan head of state made his public appearance between two private stops in Ulster County that precede a sold-out, three day teaching program he will run next week at the Beacon Theater in Manhattan. This morning the Dalai Lama was at the Menla Retreat Center in Phoenicia for a conference. Friday morning, he will be at the
Karma Triyana Dharmachakra Monastery in Woodstock, where he will perform a religious ceremony.