(AP),9/8/2003: The Dalai Lama dedicated an interfaith temple Sunday and urged his audience of several thousand to be religious and choose a faith.
“Religion...should be part of our life,” the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader said during the second stop on a 16-day U.S. tour.
“If...people don’t have much interest in religion, they will see negatives,” he said.
The Dalai Lama, winner of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent struggle against Chinese rule of his homeland, visited Bloomington to dedicate a temple at the Tibetan Cultural Center, which is directed by his brother, retired Indiana University Professor Thubten Norbu.
The Chamtse Ling Temple, (translated: “Fields of Compassion”) is a $1.2 million, 10,000-square-foot center dedicated to promoting world peace and harmony. Among the guests...was Muhammad Ali, a Muslim. After the consecration, the Dalai Lama thanked the former heavyweight champion for attending.
“It has been a great pleasure for me to see Muhammad Ali in person,” he said. “I have seen his boxing matches. In my own case, if I were to step into the ring, I would be knocked down with the first punch,” he said, giggling and drawing loud laughter from the audience.
Ali, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, offered written comments read aloud by his daughter Hana. His remarks focused on the multifaith theme the Dalai Lama also emphasized. “Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams all have different names, but they all contain water,” Ali said. “So, too, different religions all contain truth.”
Also attending were representatives of 15 faiths who recited prayers in their own languages. A Muslim presented a small book titled The Meaning of the Quran, a Jewish rabbi offered a ram’s horn, and a Navajo religious leader gave a seashell filled with sage, representing land and water.
The Dalai Lama’s U.S. tour opened Saturday in California, where he received an honorary degree at Jesuit-run University of San Francisco.
[TBC: Locate the numerous ironies and irrationalities above. Example: non-violent Dalai Lama enjoying Ali’s knocking his opponents silly!?]