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Dalai Lama, Emory faculty to discuss ethics, responsible citizenship

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Elaine Justice

The Dalai Lama is Presidential Distinguished Professor at Emory.

The public is invited to two public discussions Oct. 8, featuring His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama, Emory University Presidential Distinguished Professor, on the issues of responsible citizenship, ethics and education, to be held at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.   

A morning talk, "Pillars of Responsible Citizenship in the 21st Century Global Village," moderated by Paul Root Wolpe, director of Emory’s Center for Ethics, will focus on the fundamental human values that are the building blocks of an engaged and compassionate world. The Dalai Lama will outline his comprehensive vision of secular ethics, its underlying principles and the urgent need to embrace such a system in today’s increasingly connected and globalized society.  

Attendees and members of the public are invited to submit questions in advance through for a chance to receive a pair of tickets to the event and perhaps have their question read on stage.   

The afternoon panel session, "Secular Ethics in Education," features the Dalai Lama with scientists and scholars on the applicability of secular ethics in modern education through the lens of evolutionary biology, neuroscience and educational policy and curricula. Discussions will include the implications of secular ethics for America's education system, strategies of implementation and potential benefits.  

Panelists include:

  • Frans B. M. de Waal, director of the Living Links Center at Emory's Yerkes National Primate Research Center, who will speak on cooperation and fairness primates;

  • Richard Davidson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who will address the causes and consequences of innate goodness;

  • Brook Dodson-Lavelle of the Mind and Life Institute, who will discuss fostering compassionate and ethics development in education.

  • Arthur Zajonc, president of the Mind and Life Institute, will chair the discussion.

Tickets are available at the Gwinnett Center box office or through The events will feature additional musical and special presentations as well as a Tibetan bazaar. Each ticket purchased is good for both (or either) events.  

'Mystical Arts of Tibet: Sacred Music Sacred Dance'   

Emory and the Drepung Loseling Monastery-Atlanta will present the first-ever concert collaboration between Grammy-nominated Tibetan musician, Nawang Kechog and the famed multiphonic singers of Drepung Loseling Monastery. The performance features multiphonic chanting, wherein each of the chantmasters simultaneously intones three notes of a chord. The Drepung Loseling monks, who are particularly renowned for this unique singing, also use traditional instruments such as 10-foot-long dung-chen horns, drums, bells, cymbals and gyaling trumpets. Rich brocade costumes and masked dances, such as the Dance of the Sacred Snow Lion, add to the exotic splendor.  

Nawang Khechog is the first Tibetan musician to be nominated for a Grammy and is the most renowned Tibetan flutist in the world with more than 12 albums. A self-taught musician, his music appears on the soundtrack for the film "Seven Years in Tibet." For 11 years he was a monk and studied Buddhist philosophy and meditation with the Dalai Lama.  

This premier performance will take place in the Emerson Concert Hall at the Emory's Schwartz Center for Performing Arts at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9. Tickets are $35 plus a $4 processing fee. Tickets may be purchased at the Arts at Emory box office at 404-727-5050. Learn more about the Sacred Music Sacred Dance program.

Mandala Sand Painting Live Exhibition  

In honor of the Dalai Lama’s visit to Emory, the Drepung Loseling monks of The Mystical Arts of Tibet will create a Medicine Buddha Mandala, which is available for viewing during public hours at the Drepung Loseling Monastery Meditation Hall. This mandala will be dismantled in a Closing Ceremony at the conclusion of Drepung Loseling’s fifth Annual Tibetan Festival on Oct. 20.    

From all the artistic traditions of Tantric Buddhism, the unique method of painting with colored sand ranks as most exquisite. In Tibetan, this art is called dul-tson-kyil-khor, which means "mandala of colored powders." Millions of grains of sand are painstakingly laid into place on a flat platform over a period of days or weeks.  

As with the Buddhist tradition as a whole, sand painting has its roots in the Tantric legacy of Buddhist India, extending back more than 2,000 years. Formed of a traditional prescribed iconography that includes geometric shapes and a multitude of ancient spiritual symbols, the sand-painted mandala is used as a tool for re-consecrating the earth and its inhabitants.

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