Dalai Lama Spreads Message of Compassion at Santa Clara University

The Dalai Lama visited the South Bay Monday morning for a sold-out event at Santa Clara University.

The 78-year-old Buddhist spiritual leader who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his quest to liberate his native Tibet from China, spoke about ethics in business at the university's Leavey Event Center.

He also discussed the importance of compassion.

"Through kindergarten up to the university we must include teaching of compassion or teaching of warmheartedness," he said.

The Dalai Lama also assured the audience that if they were guided by the universal principles of compassion, affection and respect, they too would benefit.

His speech was projected in the student center cafeteria, where students with papers to write and studying stopped their tasks to listen.

"I think it would be really shortsighted to focus on getting homework done or not getting homework done fast enough, and not have that experience to listen to his wisdom," said Katie O'Keefe, a Santa Clara University senior.

But not everyone welcomed the the Dalai Lama with open arms.

MORE: Bay Area Buzzing Over Dalai Lama Visit

A group of protesters gathered outside and across the street from the event to protest what they say is the Dalai Lama's persecution and banning of Tibetan-exiles who make prayers to the Buddhist deity Dorje Shugden.

"He's enforcing a ban that affects millions of people," said Len Foley, 46, spokesman for the group International Shugden Community.

"We want the Dalai Lama to end this discrimination, to end this religious abuse," Foley said.

The group also held signs up saying "Dalai Lama Stop Lying" and "Dalai Lama Give Religious Freedom."

The Dalai Lama's visit to Santa Clara wrapped up three days of public events in the Bay Area. He also attended events in San Francisco on Saturday and Berkeley on Sunday.

Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

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