Dalai Lama kicks off visit to Stanford, EPA; talks will be webcast

Oct. 14, 2010, 2:01 a.m.

The Dalai Lama is set to headline a variety of events on compassion, altruism and a meaningful life Thursday and Friday at Stanford.

The exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader’s last visit to campus was in 2005, when he discussed the biological meanings of compassion with scientists and Buddhist leaders and explored spiritual and scientific aspects of suffering, craving and choice.

On this visit, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama is set to host a public talk from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Thursday in Maples Pavilion about compassion and altruism and their central roles in human society. Following the public talk, the Office of Religious Life will host the Dalai Lama as the 2010 Rathbun Visiting Fellow, and as such, he is scheduled to give the annual memorial Harry’s Last Lecture on a Meaningful Life from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in Memorial Church.

On Friday, he is set to serve as a panelist in the all-day conference “Scientific Explorations of Compassion and Altruism” in Memorial Auditorium. His fellow speakers and panelists include education professor Linda Darling-Hammond, psychology professor emeritus Philip Zimbardo, neurosurgeon James Doty, associate bioengineering professor Karl Deisseroth and economics professor Bill Harbaugh, among others. The Dalai Lama is set to serve as a panelist in all four conference sessions, which cover both societal and biological interactions with compassion.

Tickets for both Thursday talks and the Friday conference are sold out, but the University is broadcasting both days’ events via live webcast. A recording of the event will be available on iTunes U and YouTube for several days after the event.

Many of the panelists, including Doty, are affiliated with the School of Medicine’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE), a center whose research focuses on joining psychology and neuroscience with examinations of human compassion and empathy. CCARE and the School of Medicine are hosting Friday’s conference.

The Dalai Lama also visited East Palo Alto’s Costano School on Wednesday, speaking to an audience of about 400 eighth-grade students. He also visited critically ill children at the Stanford Hospital whose parents are staying at the Ronald McDonald House.

— Ellen Huet

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