SOUTH SALT LAKE – It was an exciting day for the Tibetan community of Utah as the Dalai Lama paid them a special visit Wednesday to wrap up his Utah trip.
Lines formed outside the Utah Tibetan Community in South Salt Lake Wednesday morning. People young and old awaited the arrival of their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
“The Tibetan community and supporters here in Utah were really eager to see him and to hear his message of compassion and love,” said Tenzin Zinzangma, a member of the Tibetan community.”
Organizers were putting together the final touches inside the hall where His Holiness will offer a teaching.
Dignitaries also in attendance included Lt. Governor Spencer Cox, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski, and Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill.
“For me, it's a really personal, special moment because I was born in India," Gill said. "My family immigrated here in 1969."
The motorcade escorting the Dalai Lama then pulled up into the parking lot.
His Holiness emerged to a crowd of traditional Tibetan dancers and music.
“It was very precious,” said Dorjee, a Tibetan community member.
It was an intimate setting. People were within arms reach, snapping photos on their cell phone. They felt blessed to be in his presence and hear his message of love, compassion, and preserving the Tibetan culture.
“We should not think only in terms of statues, images and temples--but teaching must actually take root in our own mind and our own being,” the Dalai Lama said.
“The one thing his Holiness is, always been very consistent about, is our responsibility to our fellow human beings,” Gill said.
Although his visit was brief, his presence made a big impact.
“He was here 15 years ago and most of us thought that we wouldn't get him back in his lifetime,” said Lt. Governor Spencer Cox. “This is something we'll remember for many, many years to come.”
Before leaving Utah, the Dalai Lama blessed the community center. Another sign of his devotion to his people.