Dalai Lama cancels Utah visit because of health concerns

Posted at 10:15 PM, Sep 25, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-26 00:22:33-04

SALT LAKE CITY - Thousands of ticket holders anticipating a visit from the Dalai Lama next month, were disappointed to learn the event had been cancelled. After a medical exam in Washington DC earlier in the week, doctors recommended his Holiness cancel his trip and rest his body.

“Pretty disappointed,” said Tanvir Ahmed, a student at University of Utah who had bought tickets in July to hear the Dalai Lama speak next month.

“People were really looking forward to going and hearing what he had to say,” said Astin Goff, a University of Utah student.

The University of Utah announced Friday evening that a refund will be given to ticket holders within the next 7-10 business days if they purchased their tickets online. For those who bought them directly at the Box Office, they can either return to the office, or call the number directly to get a full refund.

But there’s no taking back the energy and time the Tibetan Community Center has spent to get it’s new building up and running.

“We have spent hundreds of hours and sleepless nights preparing for his visit,” said Lobsang Tsering, with the Community Center. The Dalai Lama had planned to visit the center for its grand opening next month.

“When we first heard he was coming, I we all started cheering. We were so excited.” Tsering says that sponsors began donating money and new features to the new center upon the news, including the addition of a life-size Buddha statue that was donated last month.

“His Holiness was going to bless our Buddha,” Tsering added.

When news came Friday morning that the trip was cancelled, the Center was in shock.

“As soon as I heard the news, my heart dropped.” Tsering said disappointingly.

Now, as the Dalai Lama returns home to rest and recover, the Community Center moves forward with its scheduled grand opening next month. Disappointed, the prevailing sentiment is a hope for the Dalai Lama’s well being and health.