'Common Ground' Brings Dalai Lama, Islamic Leaders Together In Bloomington, Ind.

May 12, 2010

Author: Peter Smith

Source: The Courier-Journal


The Dalai Lama's entourage stood ready to whisk him across the Indiana University campus on Wednesday afternoon to a waiting audience of thousands at its main auditorium, where he was overdue to resume a daylong series of teachings.

But he wasn't rushing. He lingered patiently with several prominent American Muslims at a table, admiring a book newly published in Louisville that formed the basis for their short but momentous meeting in a nearby campus building.

And he left only after standing and blessing each one, draping prayer scarves across their shoulders.

One by one, he and several Muslim leaders had issued statements recognizing each other's religions as valid spiritual paths, which participants described as a potential breakthrough in relations between the two religions that encompass much of Asia and count nearly 2 billion people as followers worldwide.

“All major religious traditions (are seeking) something beyond words,” said the Dalai Lama, the 74-year-old spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists and for many the most recognizable face of Buddhism in the world. He said it's “very unfair” to paint all Muslims as terrorists for the actions of some.