His Holiness the Dalai Lama is in Vancouver for a quick, three-stop visit to B.C.’s largest city.
On Tuesday, the Dalai Lama met with students at Vancouver’s John Oliver Secondary and also stopped by the city’s Convention Centre for the Heart-Mind Summit. He also made online headlines by meeting 22-year-old celebrity Selena Gomez, who was in town (and has since returned to Los Angeles) for Vancouver’s We Day 2014 at Rogers Arena, which she hosted.
“words of wisdom #speechless” read Gomez’s caption on Instagram, where she posted a photo of their moment together (photo below).
The Dalai Lama was scheduled to speak at UBC on Thursday, with proceeds from that engagement reportedly going to help 1,000 displaced Tibetans living in Canada.
During the Dalai Lama’s visit, Vancouver-based yogawear company lululemon announced it would be pledging $75,000 in funding to the Dalai Lama Centre for Peace and Education.
“There are very few people in the world who have his moral authority,” said Victor Chan, a co-founder of the Dalai Lama Centre, in September. Chan also recently spoke about his life and his work with the Dalai Lama at TEDx Vancouver on October 18, 2014.
“Some of his contemporaries – like a Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela – they’ve all passed,” Chan said. “He’s now 79 years of age, and I hope that the October visit will be meaningful to the people here in Vancouver.”
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However, His Holiness was met with protest during his Vancouver visit.
During his downtown tour of Tuesday, a group of protestors carried signs saying ‘False Dalai Lama give religious freedom’ and called on the Tibetan Buddhist leader to “lift the ban (on Dorje Shugden) and give religious freedom, which is what he teaches,” said spokesman Darren Prout.
According to Global BC, Prout and the protestors – of the International Shugden Community – allege a ban on their form of Buddhism infringes on worshippers of their four-million-person religion.
Writes the Hindustan Times: “Dorje Shugden, referred to as ‘Dolgyal’ or ‘demon king’, is an ancient Tibetan deity denounced by the Dalai Lama. Its follower (sic) who revere the century-old deity as a ‘protector’, have in recent past intensified the protests against the Dalai Lama demanding him to lift the ban on rituals involving Dorje Shugden.
“However, supporters of the Dalai Lama said he had not banned any practice and that Buddhism does not allow for such restrictions.”
PHOTO: Selena Gomez meets with Dalai Lama in Vancouver