Amid the low-pitched drone of chanting monks, the Tibetan leader emerged onstage. The Dalai Lama delivered his final teaching of the Heart Sutra to a packed IU Auditorium.
Before beginning his teaching, the 74-year-old Dalai Lama listened to monks chant a version of the Heart Sutra, Buddhism’s most well-known scripture, in Mongolian for the first time.
“It is wonderful,” he said, “[to hear] the Heart Sutra in Mongolian language.”
Audience members from all faiths appreciated the Tibetan leader’s universal message of compassion.
“I consider myself a Christian in my path, but I’m eclectic and ecumenical in all of my dealings,” explained IU grad student Zilia Estrada. “What [the Dalai Lama] had to say could be applied to any faith and religion I can think of.”
“It was inspiring,” said Ellen Adkins who traveled from Ohio with her husband to see the Tibetan leader speak.
“I was particularly interested in the subject because he was giving teachings on the Heart Sutra and that’s a special interest of mine because I think if we can open our hearts maybe humanity will stand a chance,” Adkins said.
Others were truly awestruck by the experience having traveled in some cases across the country. Sasha Mageras drove all the way from New Mexico to see the Dalai Lama for the first time.
“The Dalai Lama is an incredible living teacher,” she said. “It was incredibly well worth the trip.”
A group gathered outside the stage door of the auditorium to see His Holiness out one last time. The Dalai Lama blew a kiss to the well-wishers.