BY JAWEED KALEEM
Just six months after several sold-out appearances at Broward County universities, the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan leader-in-exile and one of the most revered spiritual figures in the world, has announced his return for a two-day speaking tour in South Florida Oct. 25 and 26.
On Oct. 25, the Dalai Lama will attend lush, private fundraising event for the Religious Studies department of Florida International University, to which he donated $100,000 last year when the department was in danger of closing because of budget cuts. The next morning, he will speak at Temple Emanu-El on Miami Beach. That afternoon, he will take the stage at the BankUnited Center at the University of Miami to talk about on ``The Quest for Happiness in Challenging Times.''
Temple Emanu-El, Florida International University, Florida Memorial University and UM are sponsoring the public speech at the the synagogue, which can hold 1,400 people. Ticket distribution has not been announced. The UM event will be only for students, staff and faculty.
``He believes the study of religions is very important for the whole world,'' said FIU religious studies professor Nathan Katz, who has helped organize the Dalai Lama's visit and the fundraiser.
The Dalai Lama was scheduled to speak in Miami in late May, but the plans were canceled because of a scheduling conflict, Katz said, adding that ``barring ill health or hurricane, this one is firm.''
The spiritual leader of millions of Tibetan Buddhists, the Dalai Lama is also revered by practitioners of strains of Buddhism worldwide. Followers of Tibetan Buddhism believe that he is a reincarnation of a long line of Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leaders.
``We are honored once again to host His Holiness the Dalai Lama on our campus. His Holiness teaches us all an important lesson in hope, compassion, and humility,'' UM President Donna E. Shalala said in a statement.
The spiritual leader last spoke to a sold-out crowd at the university in 2004 as part of a five-day visit that also included stops at Nova Southeastern, FIU, and the BankAtlantic Center. More recently, he spoke at NSU, Florida Atlantic University and Broward College in late February.
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