Despite ongoing rain showers yesterday, the Beacon Theatre was filled to capacity to welcome the 14th Dalai Lama-Tenzin Gyatso to New York City. The event was organized by Tibet House (US) and was a teaching on the "Quintessence of Compassion," a topic illuminated in the opening chapter of Chandrakirti's Entry Into the Middle Way.
The teaching was originally intended to be two days, however, it was reduced to one on the cautionary advise of the Dalai Lama's medical team. (He has recently tapered back all his teachings after being hospitalized last August in Mumbai.) Nonetheless, the septuagenarian was in fine form — performing a well ordered exegesis that was both comprehensible and erudite.
As director of Tibet house, Columbia Professor Robert Thurman was master of ceremonies for the event. At the close of the teaching he performed the traditional offerings of gratitude in a manner that attested to his genuine reverence for the Dalai Lama. Uncharacteristically taciturn, Thurman's closing remarks were simply expressions of gratitude and full disclosure of the fiscal particulars (no monetary profit was garnered).
The chapter of Chandrakirti's text that the Dalai Lama taught was originally translated by the Venerable George Churinoff and subsequently edited by Annie Bien, Robert Thurman, and Tom Yarnall. The Tibetan edition was edited by Tenzin Gelek, Dr. Lozang Jamspal, and Tom Yarnall. The teaching itself was greatly enhanced by the stellar translation services of Thubten Jinpa.
Please note that Venerable George Churinoff will be leading a free follow-up class on the Dalai Lama's teaching this Thursday at 7pm at The Tibet Center (25 Washington Street, Suite 304, Brooklyn, NY 11201).