TIBETAN spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, received rapturous applause after speaking for close to an hour about the compassion and hope in an address called ‘The Power of Forgiveness’ at the University of Limerick Sports Arena this Thursday morning.
Watched by an audience of 3,100 people and thousands more on a live stream on the internet, the event was the largest on the Buddhist leader’s two day visit to Ireland, his first in 20 years. This was his first ever visit to Limerick.
Arriving by helicopter, the Dalai Lama was greeted by UL President Prof Don Barry after landing on the ‘Sports Bowl’ beside the Arena. The 76-year old monk was accompanied by his friend Richard Moore, director of the charity Children in Crossfire, who organised the visit to Limerick.
A large contingent of invited guests were among the audience including former UL president Roger Downer, Fine Gael TD Kieran O’Donnell, Cathaoirleach Richard Butler, Shannon Development chief executive Vincent Cunnane and the Mayor of Limerick, Maria Byrne, as well as former Bishop of Limerick Donal Murray.
Members of the families of murdered rugby player Shane Geoghegan and Michaela Harte were also in attendance.
The Dalai Lama spoke for close to an hour and received a standing ovation after his address, during which he spoke about “the promotion of human values and the promotion of religious harmony”.
“If you practice compassion, it will benefit not only yourself, but create a positive atmosphere (around you),” he said.
UL director of corporate affairs, Eamonn Cregan, who helped to organise the event, said people had been queuing since 6.30am this morning to get into the event.
“It has taken a lot of effort to get him here - we had a big events team working on this. It has been a fantastic team effort,” he explained.
FOR A FULL REPORT ON THE DALAI LAMA EVENT, SEE THE LIMERICK LEADER CITY EDITION