Dalai Lama’s visit tinged by Tibet controversy

By Matt Russell and Jeff Kiger

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

A group called "Truth about Tibet" has filed a permit with the city to protest the Dalai Lama’s appearance in Rochester this afternoon.

The permit says that about 60 to 80 protesters are expected, including many students from the University of Minnesota. They’ll protest in the area of Mayo Clinic and will have an exhibition about "the true nature of Tibet and the Dalai Lama," the permit says.

In Seattle on Monday, hundreds of demonstrators at the Dalai Lama’s appearance protested violence from rioting by Tibetan monks. Some protesters echoed Beijing’s stand that the Dalai Lama is behind the recent uprising against five decades of Chinese rule.


However, many other people are excited about the Dalai Lama’s appearance here. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate will speak at a private conference for Mayo Clinic employees, and he’s getting his annual medical exam.

Cambodian Buddhist monk Sokunthea Thun first saw the Buddhist leader in person during a 2006 speech at the Mayo Clinic. Thun, who lives at a Buddhist temple in southeast Rochester, marveled that the Dalai Lama, an international icon who for decades has lived in exile in India, would come to Rochester.

"This year I hope to invite him to visit the temple," said Thun, who, with the three monks who live with him, will see the Dalai Lama speak.

This year, the Dalai Lama’s visit will be charged by the increased attention the Tibetan leader recently has received amid recent Chinese crackdowns on the largest protests in Tibet in 20 years. Chinese rule of Tibet also has been an issue among people protesting the Olympic torch as it makes its way to Beijing for the 2008 summer games.

Rochester is the Dalai Lama’s second stop during a U.S. tour that also will take him to Ann Arbor, Mich., and Hamilton, N.Y. His first stop was Seattle.

At Mayo Clinic’s Siebens Building today, the Dalai Lama is scheduled to give a talk titled "Compassion in Medicine" before participating in a panel discussion with Glenn Forbes, chief executive officer of Mayo Clinic Rochester, and Daniel Goleman, a noted author and psychologist.

The Dalai Lama’s appearance is part of a daylong event called "Investigating the Mind-Body Connection: The Science and Clinical Applications of Meditation."

The event, sponsored by Mayo Clinic and the Colorado-based Mind and Life Institute, is focused on reviewing the current science and clinical applications of meditation.


For more information on the Dalai Lama’s visit to Rochester, go to

The Dalai Lama’s visit to Mayo Clinic

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