Prayer Flag Day kicks off monthlong Dalai Lama events in New Orleans

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Tibetan prayer flags
  • SOPHIACREEK
  • Tibetan prayer flags

In preparation for His Holiness the Dalai Lama's first-ever visit to New Orleans in May, the team organizing his visit invites New Orleans residents and businesses to raise Tibetan prayer flags beginning April 20 through May, when the Dalai Lama hosts two public talks (both already sold out) May 17 and May 18.

Presented by Tulane University's School of Social Work, more than 60 events will celebrate the visit. Beginning May 14, there will be a Tibetan bazaar at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center where monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery will sell Tibetan crafts and goods. The monks also will create a sand mandala, a large colored-sand painting made over four days. On May 17, a procession will lead the mandala to the Mississippi River where it will be ceremoniously dispersed. The convention center will be open to the public 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 14-17.

At the public talks at the convention center and at the UNO Lakefront Arena, the 14th dalai lama will address "strength through compassion" and "strength through connection," respectively. He also presides over an academic conference ("Resilience: Strength Through Compassion and Connection") where author Margaret Wheatley and psychology and psychiatry professor Richard J. Davidson also will speak.

The Dalia Lama NOLA Community Outreach Team will sell prayer flags from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 14 at 1780 Prytania St. Flags also can be ordered via email.

Dr. Ronald Marks, dean of Tulane's School of Social Work, has led graduate social work student trips to Dharamsala in north India for more than a decade.

The Dalai Lama, now 77, was recognized as the 14th dalai lama in 1950, making him the longest-seated dalai lama. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his protest of Chinese rule in Tibet, which he fled in 1959. He makes two annual trips to the U.S. a year, typically in May and October, though this will be his first to Louisiana. He also will address graduating Tulane students at the 2013 commencement ceremony May 18.

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