By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
This will be the Dalai Lama's third Central Park visit. The first, in 1991, drew only about 5,000 people. Officials estimated that 40,000 or more people turned out for the '99 appearance, which, according to former city parks commissioner Henry Stern, was the largest non-entertainment event held in the park after Pope John Paul II's 1995 public mass. Considering the publicity machine driving the September visit, numbers are likely to be even higher this time, perhaps even catapulting the spiritual leader into a realm previously populated only by gurus of rock 'n' roll.
Once the crowds have dispersed, and after his Lincoln Center appearance, His Holiness will travel upstate on September 22 for a private gathering of Tibetan teachers and students. He will return the following morning for a Town Hall conference on global ethics before leaving Wednesday for Dharamsala, India, where he lives in exile.
For New Yorkers left behind who want to put the teachings into practice, MeditateNYC, a coalition of Buddhist centers and teachers, is capitalizing on the Dalai Lama's visit by hosting events throughout the city. Science writer Daniel Goleman, clinical psychologist and author Tara Brach, high-profile local Buddhist teachers, and others will address issues of change, activism, and mindful living over the course of the following week. It will be a test of Buddhism's resiliency to see just who remains standingor sittingin the meditation halls once the celebrities have left the building.
General Information 212.777.0606, dalailamanyc.org
Buddhist Events "Training the Mind, Opening the Heart," September 17 through 20, 10 a.m. to noon and 2 to 4 p.m. (arrive by 8 a.m.), Beacon Theater, 2124 Broadway. Beacon box office: 212.496.7070. Ticketmaster: 212.307.7171, ticketmaster.com. Cost: $300 to $400 for a four-day ticket. Limited number still available.
"An Evening With the Dalai Lama" September 19, Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue, 202.467.0577. Cost: $2,500 for dialogue and dinner. Or view the event, an award ceremony and dialogue sponsored by the International League for Human Rights, via closed-circuit TV for $100. Susan Sarandon and Ambassador Richard Holbrooke will be present.
Public Talk in Central Park Sunday, September 21, noon, East Meadow. Enter at 90th Street and Fifth Avenue. Cost: free. Seating begins at 10 a.m. Bring a blanket; expect large crowds.
"Concert for Peace and Reconciliation" September 21, 7 p.m., Avery Fisher Hall, 64th Street at Columbus Avenue. Lincoln Center box office: 212.875.5030, lincolncenter.org. Center Charge: 212.721.6500. Cost: $35, $50, $75; $250 for patrons. Proceeds benefit Healing the Divide, an organization that revitalizes impoverished communities throughout the Himalayan region.
"Conference on Global Ethics" Town Hall, 123 West 43rd Street, September 23, 9 a.m. Visit tibethouse.org for ticket information.
MeditateNYC Over a dozen Buddhist-related events, including open houses and teachings throughout the city. September 22 through 28. Visit meditatenyc.com, or call 212.479.7722. Cost: $10 suggested donation.