COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJZ) — Nobel Peace Prize winner and spiritual leader of Tibet, the Dalai Lama, addressed more than 15,000 people at the University of Maryland Comcast Center Tuesday.

Pat Warren reports the Buddhist monk delivered a message of well-being.

The Dalai Lama, who calls himself a simple Buddhist monk, proved both enlightening and lighthearted.

He happily donned a Maryland visor provided by the university.

“Since my childhood, I always love new things so I have this new hat,” he laughed.

The University of Maryland visor seemed as big a hit with the Dalai Lama as he was with the students assembled to hear him.

“It was nice to hear somebody preach about peace and harmony among multiple faiths,” said University of Maryland junior Robert Pangborn. “Sometimes, we just get caught up in thinking about ourselves too often.”

The Dalai Lama told an intently listening audience that differences between people should not be allowed to cause conflict.

“Whether believe or non-believer, we are [the] same,” he said. “Human beings.”

He says his life is guided by basic human values in the interest of happiness, harmony between religions and the welfare of the Tibetan people, for whom he serves as the Buddhist spiritual leader.

Chanda Arya, a graduate student, was encouraged by the message.

“He was sending an important message of how each of us as individuals can try to live his ideal. We can try to be humble. We can have compassion for others,” Arya said.

The Dalai Lama spoke in honor of Nobel Prize winner and former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, who was assassinated in 1981, two years after the peace accords in Camp David. President Sadat’s widow, Dr. Jehan Sadat, embraced him on stage.

Student Alex Ferrufino was inspired.

“He made very good points about how we can continue to work towards peace,” she said.

Governor Martin O’Malley was in the audience and later had a moment on stage when the Dalai Lama insisted the two rub noses.

“New Zealand native people,” he said. “Their tradition is touch nose.”

During the event, the Dalai Lama was presented with a University of Maryland doctorate of humane letters.

The Sadat Lecture was inaugurated in the fall of 1997 in the memory of the Egyptian president’s efforts to break the cycle of war in the Middle East.


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