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Hot ticket: Dalai Lama selling out

Ten thousand people have bought tickets for his sold-out May 12 teaching on "The Practice of Six Perfections." His public lecture on ethics is nearly sold out, too. And it's standing room only at an interfaith service in his honor.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama's upcoming visit to Utah has proven so popular that it may set an attendance record, says Pema Chagzoetsang , one of the event's organizers. The Tibetan spiritual leader's Buddhist teaching at the U.'s Huntsman Center may be the largest given by the Dalai Lama in the United States (although there is still a chance that San Jose, Calif., may end up selling even more tickets for the Dalai Lama's teaching there later in May).

The Dalai Lama's Utah audience will include Tibetans from the Intermountain West, as well as Dalai Lama fans from throughout the country. "It's sort of like the Grateful Dead," notes one event organizer. "A lot of people follow the tour."

During the Dalai Lama's six-city tour this spring he will visit Minneapolis; Portland, Ore.; San Francisco and Los Angeles, as well as San Jose and Salt Lake City. Each city has a Tibetan population as part of the 10-year-old Tibetan Resettlement Project.

During his stop in Salt Lake, the Dalai Lama will also meet with the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Both the Dalai Lama and LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley have written recent books about ethics and have had books on the top-10 religion books charts during the past year.

Tickets for the Dalai Lama's May 11 5 p.m. talk on "Ethics for the New Millennium" are nearly sold out, but event organizers are considering opening up another 1,200 seats. The extra tickets, at $15 each, would help defray the cost of metal detectors at the Huntsman Center.

Although the U.S. Diplomatic Security Service is providing bomb-sniffing dogs and a bulletproof car, as it does for all visiting dignitaries, it has determined that the Dalai Lama — spiritual leader of the world's 6 million Tibetan Buddhists and political leader of the Tibetan government-in-exile — is not in sufficient danger to warrant metal detectors. But event organizers, wanting to take no chances, have arranged to cover the cost of the detectors.

Ticket-holders have been cautioned to arrive at the events two hours early to allow for enough time to pass through security.

Organizers also officially confirmed last week that the Dalai Lama will also speak at a free public lecture at Utah Valley State College at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 12, where he will also be given an ethics award.

There are still tickets left for the $150-a-plate benefit luncheon Friday, May 11, at 12:30 p.m. at the Salt Lake City Marriott Downtown, sponsored by the World Affairs Forum.

For more information, visit www.utahtibet.org.


E-MAIL: jarvik@desnews.com