Dalai Lama visits Lehigh University

<div class="meta image-caption"><div class="origin-logo origin-image none"><span>none</span></div><span class="caption-text">The Dalai Lama waves to onlookers as he arrives at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on July 10, 2008.</span></div>
July 10, 2008 4:22:55 PM PDT
The Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled Buddhist leader, is in the Lehigh Valley for a 6-day visit.

The Dalai Lama arrived earlier than expected on the campus of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa.

He'll spend 20 hours lecturing on one specific Buddhist text during his visit. Hundreds came to the Lehigh Valley from around the world to listen and to be in the presence of Tibet's spiritual and political leader.

Shantanand Saraswati of Bethlehem, Pa. told Action News, "I just wanted to enjoy his vibrations, his energy feel and his words of love, compassion and wisdom."

His holiness arrived shortly after noon and waved to onlookers thrilled to be in his presence.

"I never thought I'd have the opportunity. I've always admired him," said Yvonne Draxler, who came across country from Sterling, Col.

The Dalai Lama's visit to Bethlehem comes less than a month from the start of the Olympics in Beijing. It's an event that has triggered worldwide protests over the Chinese government's treatment of the Tibetan people.

In Tibet, violent protests against China resulted an unknown number of deaths and arrests. China blames the Dalai Lama. He denies promoting the protests.

During his first day at Lehigh, members of the audience like Glenn Burney from Paris, France noted that he spoke specifically about the Chinese language.

"There he is and he starts off his talk today saying Chinese is the most important language for transmitting Buddhism in the world," Burney said.

The Dalai Lama also spoke of peace and happiness. The themes that always draw hundreds to hear him, and some in the crowd were impressed as his personality shown through.

"For being such and important person," Young Suk of Lansdale, Pa., said, "he was a friendly guy and actually made a lot of jokes on stage. He seems really cool like someone anyone could get along with easily."