The Dalai Lama will make an appearance on the University of Wisconsin campus this May, marking his second visit to the campus within two years.
The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso — a revered spiritual leader for the Central Tibetan Administration who is thought of as a reincarnation of the Dalai Lamas before him — will visit the Waisman Center May 15-16 to be part of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds’ grand opening ceremony.
When UW neuroscientist Richard Davidson met with the Dalai Lama in 1992, he became the motivation for Davidson’s research and establishment of CIHM.
When during his visit the Dalai Lama posed the question of why society is not studying the positive qualities in the mind, Davidson turned all of his time and energy to researching a specific neurological solution to the causes of qualities like happiness, compassion and kindness, spokesperson for CIHM Mel Charbonneau said.
May 16 will feature a public dialogue between Davidson and the Dalai Lama at Madison’s Overture Center for the Arts, CIHM Assistant Director Donna Cole added.
“I think what is most exciting is the public event that we’re having at the Overture Center where Richie and the Dalai Lama will have a really unique, unplugged conversation,” Charbonneau said. “It is just this rare opportunity to see these two individuals who know so much and can offer so much.”
Currently, the Waisman Center hosts the Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior, but starting May 15 when NIHM opens, the center will no longer be strictly for scientific experimentation.
“The center will have a meditation space and a brain imaging lab, and I don’t think any other academic institution will have that,” Charbonneau said.
The effect of Davidson’s research and establishment of CIHM should have a wide-spreading, global impact outside of the UW community, Charbonneau said.
“If you take the time to look at the type of work that we’re doing, there is great potential for the world as a whole to relieve human suffering and to offer ways in which people can become involved,” she said.
The Dalai Lama strives to promote harmony and morality through Buddhist teachings. He won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, and the May visit will mark his 8th visit to Madison.