Valley gears up for Dalai Lama visit
Idaho Mountain Express[Wednesday, September 07, 2005 21:23]
Message of Healing and Compassion to be delivered Sept. 11

By DANA DUGAN

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
After months of build-up, the weekend that the Wood River Valley hosts His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama is upon us.

The Dalai Lama is the spiritual and secular leader of six million Tibetan people, and is considered the spiritual leader of Buddhists around the world. He is scheduled to speak at several public and private events in the valley from Sept. 11 to Sept. 13.

Born Lhamo Dhondup on July 6, 1935, to a peasant family, His Holiness was recognized at the age of 2 as the reincarnation of his predecessor, the 13th Dalai Lama. His Holiness is considered an incarnation of Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of Compassion.

Because of the Chinese occupation of Tibet, there are more than 120,000 Tibetan refugees in India, Nepal, Bhutan and in the West. Since 1950, His Holiness has resided in Dharmasala, India, which serves as the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile.

Besides being one of the most recognizable people in the world, His Holiness is the author of more than 10 books, including his newest, "The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality," which is being released on Tuesday, Sept. 13.

The Dalai Lama comes to Sun Valley on the fourth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks at the invitation of personal friend and principal sponsor Kiril Sokoloff.

Sokoloff, a Buddhist, is the president of 13D Research, an investment research group, based in Boca Raton, Fla., and resides part time in Ketchum.

In 2003, Sokoloff hosted the Dalai Lama's sister, Jetsun Pema, director of the Tibetan Children's Villages in India, during a visit to the valley. And in May of this year he hosted His Holiness' youngest brother, Tendzin Choegyal, who is making a return visit this weekend.

The Dalai Lama will send a healing message of compassion to an audience of 10,000 at the Wood River High School football field on Sunday, Sept. 11. On Monday, Sept. 12, he will give an address to Idaho children, also at the high school football field.

Sokoloff on Monday is also hosting a private gathering for invited guests from the business world. He said the morning address will be attended by money managers, business leaders and people in finance, with the mission being to spread compassion in business.

Several VIP dinners are planned, as is an invitation-only benefit dinner dance on Tuesday, Sept. 13, at a private home north of Ketchum. Proceeds from this event will go to support compassion programs in the Wood River Valley, such as housing for Blaine County school teachers.

The Dalai Lama is not expected to attend any of the evening events, as he retires early, Sokoloff said.

On Tuesday, a prayer wheel made by Tibetan monks in Dharmsala will be blessed by His Holiness. The hand-painted prayer wheel will be installed permanently at the newly created Garden of Infinite Compassion, designed by Sensei Martin Mosko at the Sawtooth Botanical Garden. The event is private and by invitation only.

Key people involved in the organization of this landmark event are valley residents Rod Rinker and Pirie Grossman, Buddhist monk Tenzin Dhonden and Organizing Committee Director Reneé Kline.

CNN plans to televise the Sept. 11 "Healing Address" live across the world.



"Changes in attitudes never come easily. The development of love and compassion is a wide, round curve that can be negotiated only slowly, not a sharp corner that can be turned all at once. It comes with daily practice."

—His Holiness the Dalai Lama

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