University News

UCLA welcomes Dalai Lama to campus May 2

[Note: The Dalai Lama visit on May 2 has been canceled due to illness. More information.]
UCLA, home to the largest Buddhist studies program in the Western world, welcomes Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, to campus on Monday, May 2, where the Tibetan spiritual leader will deliver a talk and participate in a public symposium on Buddhism and neuroscience.
The day's events are presented by the UCLA Center for Buddhist Studies, the UCLA International Institute, the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, and the UCLA Burkle Center for International Relations.

The Dalai Lama will deliver his public lecture, "What Is True Wisdom?", from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m at the Royce Hall Auditorium. Drawing on his decades of study and training in traditional Buddhist sources and his deep personal experience as a Buddhist monk, he will discuss the true meaning of wisdom and how it may be applied in daily life.
Following the talk, Robert Buswell, director of the UCLA Center for Buddhist Studies, will pose questions that have been submitted online in advance to the Dalai Lama. A UCLA student, whose pre-submitted question is judged to be the best, will receive a complimentary ticket to the talk and will be publicly acknowledged at the event.
"We are thrilled to host His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama for a stimulating day of discussion and interaction with the greater UCLA community," Buswell said. "UCLA's program in Buddhist studies is the largest outside Asia, with more faculty, graduate students and undergraduate courses in this field than at any other university. It is therefore especially meaningful that His Holiness has chosen to speak on the topic of wisdom, which is one of the central topics in the Buddhist scholastic tradition and the goal of Buddhist meditative practice."

From 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., the Dalai Lama will join four world-renowned UCLA researchers in a symposium at the Royce Hall Auditorium exploring the effects of Buddhist meditative practices on the power of concentration, suppleness of mind, creativity and compassion.
The symposium, "Buddhism and Neuroscience: A Discussion on Attention, Mental Flexibility and Compassion," is organized by Lobsang Rapgay, a research psychologist in the UCLA Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and a former Tibetan Buddhist monk.
"UCLA is uniquely renowned for its leadership in Buddhist studies and in Western neurosciences, which offer distinctive but complementary perspectives on the importance of attention, mental flexibility, compassion and creativity," Rapgay said. "Hosting His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a great honor to the university, as well as an opportunity for the public to experience an exceptional dialogue among leading minds in both fields."
The symposium is sponsored by the UCLA Center for Buddhist Studies and UCLA's Semel Institute, and is supported by a gift from the Frederick P. Lenz Foundation for American Buddhism.

In addition to the Dalai Lama, symposium participants will include:

Robert Bilder
The Michael E. Tennenbaum Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Psychology, UCLA Semel Institute

Susan Bookheimer
The Joaquin Fuster Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, UCLA Semel Institute

Lobsang Rapgay
Research psychologist and director of the clinical training program for mental health professionals at the Mindfulness Awareness Research Center, UCLA Semel Institute

Dr. Peter Whybrow (moderator)
Director of the UCLA Semel Institute; Judson Braun Distinguished Professor; executive chair of the department of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
UCLA has one of the few programs in the nation that offers degrees in Buddhist studies, ranging from the bachelor of arts to the Ph.D. Each year, several hundred UCLA students — more than at any other U.S. university — enroll in more than 25 courses on Buddhism. UCLA's libraries maintain one of the nation's largest collections of Buddhist materials, including one of the most extensive collections of Tibetan materials.
The Dalai Lama recently approved the creation of a fund in his name to advance the study of Tibetan Buddhism at UCLA. Donations to The 14th Dalai Lama Endowment for Tibetan and Buddhist Studies at UCLA go directly to activities aimed at spreading knowledge about Tibetan Buddhist traditions and practices.

A media advisory for the Dalai Lama's May 2 visit will be issued within two weeks of the event.
Tickets to both the lecture and symposium are sold out. For more information, please visit

The UCLA International Institute serves as the focal point on campus for international research and teaching. Through its mul­tidisciplinary centers and programs dedicated to the study of world regions and global issues, the institute fosters learning about and active participation in the contemporary world. It also coordinates formal agreements concerning student exchange and research collaborations between UCLA and foreign universities. Throughout the year, the institute brings together researchers, digni­taries, policymakers, artists, activists and students for public events and lecture series on issues of local and international relevance. The institute also offers specialized training for K–12 and community college teachers and programs that meet the needs of businesses and government agencies.

The UCLA Center for Buddhist Studies is the largest program of its kind in the Western world, with more faculty, graduate students and undergraduate courses than any university outside Asia. The center trains scholars and educates the broader community about the Buddhist religion and Buddhist culture, in all of their diversity.

The Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA is an interdisciplinary research and education institute devoted to the understanding of complex human behavior, including the genetic, biological, behavioral and sociocultural underpinnings of normal behavior and the causes and consequences of neuropsychiatric disorders. In addition to conducting fundamental research, institute faculty seek to develop effective strategies for the prevention and treatment of neurological, psychiatric and behavioral disorders, including improving access to mental health services and shaping national health policy. Of particular relevance to this program is the institute's emphasis on well-being, as carried out at its Mindful Awareness Research Center, and its focus on dimensions of brain and behavior that include exceptional abilities, as studied at the Tennenbaum Center for the Biology of Creativity.

The UCLA Burkle Center for International Relations brings together the leading minds in the fields of international relations and foreign policy to explore and shape the debate on global issues and serves as the primary forum on campus for the inter­disciplinary study of international affairs. The center has hosted visits and lec­tures by many eminent figures in world affairs, including Ban Ki-moon, Kofi Annan, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Yasuhiro Nakasone, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dr. Wangari Maathai and others. The center funds research and courses on international affairs; sponsors programs, including student dialogue groups and an internship program; administers fellowships and scholarships; and provides Web-based publications, podcasts and video op-eds that raise awareness and shape debate about important issues in international relations.
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