is name is Tenzin Gyatso. Tibetans normally refer to him as Yeshin Norbu, the Wish-fulfilling Gem, or simply, Kundun, meaning The Presence. To most of the world he is known as the Dalai Lama.

At this moment he is chuckling and smiling as he ambles onstage of the Fleet Center, usually home to the NBA's Boston Celtics. Tonight, however, in place of the famous parquet basketball floor, is a set appropriate for what is billed simply as a "public talk." In the minutes leading up to the Dalai Lama's entrance, the Fleet Center crew dart about the stage transforming its raised platform. An Oriental carpet is unrolled and two off-white, overstuffed chairs are placed in the rug's center, angled slightly so as to face both each other and the audience. In front of the chairs, a small box is draped in green silk and topped with a matching green, glass vase in which a single Lotus flower floats. A rectangular coffee table and two cobalt-blue water bottles with matching goblets complete the comfy scene. In a blink, the set appears much like a page from the latest Crate & Barrel catalogue.

For the first time ever,The Portola Palace, Now a Museum nearly 200 pieces of art are on tour from the Portola Palace in Lhasa, Tibet, and the former home of The Dalai Lama, and now a World Heritage Site, and since 1979, a museum.

The first stop of the U.S. tour is at the Bowers Museum in Orange County, California. Items displayed include: silver prayer wheels, a seal of the fifth Dalai Lama, a human skull cup, and a thangka, which is quite rare, and often only seen in old books. You can view the history of the Dalai Lamas through murals and painted panels, along with explanation of Tibetan rituials; enjoy the large screen slide show of Tibetan scenes. The roving show will also tour these cities, after it's run at the Bowers Museum ends May 16, 2004:

Houston Museum of Natural Science
Houston, Texas
October 16, 2004-January 8, 2005

The Rubin Museum of Art
New York City
February 8, 2005-May 8, 2005

Asian Art Museum of San Francisco
June 12, 2005-September 11, 2005

Fifth Dalai Lama Seal -
17th Century Tibet -
Chinese, Manchu, and Tibetan inscriptions, carved into this official seal, express the international stature and importance of the Fifth Dalai Lama, the "Buddha of Great Compassion in the West and Leader of the Buddhist Faith beneath the Sky." The Fifth Dalai Lama, also known as the Great Fifth, built the Potala Palace and served as both the secular ruler and spiritual teacher of Tibet, a dual role held by each subsequent Dalai Lama.

But, as a reminder that we're not window shopping on Boston's Newbury Street, a gigantic 30' video screen above the stage projects a close-up image of the saffron-robed monk bowing and gesturing the traditional Tibetan greeting to the crowd of 15,000 who have come, brimming with expectation, to see His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama, spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people, who in news stories during his recent U.S. visit, has been referred to as religious leader, head of state, pop icon, multimedia phenomenon, and ascetic Buddhist superstar, among other sticky tags. The International Herald Tribune reported, "The Dalai Lama's popularity owes something to his beatific visage on hundreds of books and videos. One, 'The Art of Happiness', sold more than 1.2 million copies and stayed on The New York Times best-seller list for two years." So on this Sunday night in Boston my son Corey, his partner Carmen, my wife Robin, and this correspondent have allied ourselves with thousands of people who are here, possibly, for as many reasons as there are attendants.

In a moment he is joined onstage by Thupten Jinpa, a classically trained Tibetan academic and holder of doctoral degrees in religious studies from Geshe Lharam in India and the University of Cambridge, U.K. Since 1985, Jinpa has been the principal translator for the Dalai Lama. For most of his talk the Dalai Lama speaks in English, on occasion reverting to Tibetan in search of precisely the right expression. On stage the two men will look like old friends having an interesting, often humorous conversation, appearing relaxed and at ease as they move seamlessly between their languages with the translator speaking the message of the Dalai Lama directly to the audience only when considered necessary.

The Dalai Lama signals for everyone to sit down. From the $100 front-section seats (scalpers were reportedly selling these for two to three times face-value) to the upper reaches of the cavernous hall, in seats apparently miles above the stage, the sold-out arena settles back in anticipation of what is to come. As I take my seat, I realize that I have an oversized grin on my face and it won't come off. I look around the Fleet Center to see the same expression on virtually everyone else's face. It's a particularly strange feeling, because he hasn't said a word. In fact, nothing at all has really happened, and yet here we are, all 15,000 of us, looking like we just ate warm ice cream. Suddenly, in what seems a great revelation I think, "Oh yeah, THE PRESENCE."

The Dalai Lama and his translator are seated in the Crate & Barrel chairs and for a moment he pauses, smiling and giggling, seeming to be almost embarrassed with the crowd's reception. (A week later 65,000 will show up in New York's Central Park for their version of the public talk.) He begins by saying there are a lot of categories of people who come to see the Dalai Lama: some are curious, others want to learn more about the teachings of The Buddha, still others think the Dalai Lama has special healing powers to which he says, getting a good laugh from his audience, "If anyone knows someone with these powers I'd like to talk to them about my knees." Tonight, he explains, "We're just going to talk about how to live a happy life."


In response to a petition submitted by the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Tibetan Plateau Project of the Earth Island Institute, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that listing the Tibetan antelope as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act is warranted and Published a listing proposal in the Federal Register.

Tibetan antelope or "chiru," is native to the Tibetan Plateau, as well as small areas of northern India and western Nepal. As recently as 40 to 50 years ago, between 500,000 and 1,000,000 Tibetan antelope may have roamed the Plateau. Today its numbers have declined precipitously and could be as low as 65,000-75,000.

The Tibetan "Chiru" Antelope Tibetan antelope populations are declining principally because large numbers of animals are being killed illegally for their wool, known in the international marketplace as "shahtoosh" or "king of wool." Shahtoosh is considered to be one of the finest animal fibers in the world and, since the 1980s, expensive shahtoosh shawls and scarves have become high fashion status symbols in the West. This international commercial demand for shahtoosh has, in turn, brought about sharply increased poaching and fuels a lucrative illegal trade which continues to thrive despite conservation and enforcement efforts by the Chinese government. Tibetan antelope are always killed to collect their wool. No cases of capture-and-release wool collection are known, nor is naturally-shed wool collected from shrubs and grass tufts for use as is often erroneously stated, primarily by people within the shahtoosh trade. Wool is smuggled from China to the States of Jammu and Kashmir in India, where it is woven into expensive high-fashion shawls and scarves and subsequently exported illegally to the principal markets in the U.S. and Europe.

Since 1979, international commerce in shahtoosh and shahtoosh products has been prohibited by virtue of the species' listing in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), an agreement which regulates global trade in animals and plants. It is illegal to commercially import shahtoosh products into the United States.

Listing the Tibetan antelope under the Act would prohibit the sale or offering for sale of shahtoosh products in interstate or foreign commerce. This would give U. S. prosecutors additional means of fighting shahtoosh smuggling and the illegal market within the United States.

Habitat impacts, especially grazing for domestic livestock, also appear to be contributing to population declines, and could have potentially greater effect in the near future.

For information concerning U.S. laws protecting the Tibetan antelope, visit the Fish and Wildlife Service's homepage - - and go to "conservation issues." You can download a copy of the October 6, 2003 Federal Register Notice by visiting the international affairs homepage -

Comments, information, and questions may be submitted until January 5, 2004, either by mail to the Chief, Office of Scientific Authority; Mail Stop: Room 750, Arlington Square, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, DC 20240; by fax to: 703/358-2276; or by e-mail to Public hearing requests must be received by November 20, 2003.

In the hour that follows he talks about the practice of love, compassion, forgiveness, contentment - these things he says, "Something very useful, something very important for a happy life." He suggests, maybe, a little more focus on our internal world. He uses bright and amusing metaphors that emphasize the practical application of his philosophy. And he delivers a message of hope even in the face of cultural annihilation, which he points out is the current plight of Tibet and the Tibetan people who live under increasingly aggressive efforts by the Chinese government to erase any semblance of Tibetan independence and assimilate what remains. In 1959 he was forced into exile to India after the Chinese military occupation of Tibet. Since 1960 he has resided in Dharamsala, the seat of the Tibetan Government in exile. In fact, while there is some controversy regarding the phenomenal popularity of the Dalai Lama, those close to him say he has made a conscious decision to be highly public, motivated partly by a sense among Tibetans that their history of isolation left them vulnerable to the Chinese takeover. Those who have visited him in Dharamsala say the Dalai Lama lives in the austere style of a "simple Buddhist monk."

The crowd is absorbed with the man on the stage. Our eyes stay glued to his and we hang on every word he speaks. In an arena more comfortable with the cheers and noise of a raucous sports event, the silence is eerie. We all realize, it seems to me, that just watching and listening to the Dalai Lama is an extraordinary experience. In some ways though, it's not because of what he says, but the way he says it. There is no fire and brimstone in his remarks, no belligerence or boasting, no unnecessary forcefulness or threat of peril from not following his way. Instead, he is humorous and self-deprecating, at ease with himself. He appears to be a happy man, and that happiness easily translates to the thousands of us who hear him. What comes across is a man with a small ego and a giant heart. "We are all the same," he offers. "There are no different colors, no different faiths. We are all just human beings." In the end he distills his message to the simplest of ideas. It's kindness, he encourages us, "Learn to be nice to the other person."

The hour or more whizzes by. During the Q & A period, questions from the audience are read aloud by his translator. To one who asks what two things he might suggest for living in America, given all of our wealth and attachment to the material life, he pauses, giggles and says, "I don't know." His unpretentious answer is completely refreshing and the audience erupts with laughter. A few more questions answered thoughtfully and he concludes, "Well, that's it. Thank you." The audience stands and roars its approval. The Dalai Lama rises and bows in respect to each of us who, in his words, "have been so kind as to come and listen."

As we make our way out of the Fleet Center, Robin sums up what we have just seen. "You know," she says, "some spiritual leaders try to take you on that charismatic wave, but with him it's much more of a grounding experience. He reminds you what's really important in life." I echo her observation, "You're so right," I answer, "and he leaves you feeling so centered." We descend the long, narrow escalators and glide through the crowd with a sense that we share a heightened appreciation for the warm September night into which we have emerged, and for the moment we are living right now. We hold hands and coast quietly through the city streets together with our own thoughts and again, I think, "Wow, The Presence."

By Jim Hollister, New England Correspondent.
The Art of Happiness The Art of Happiness

The Dalai Lama is probably one of the only people who, if you ask him if he's happy, even though he's suffered the loss of his country, will give you an unconditional "yes." What's more...

Brahmamahurta !\

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