September 26, 2005
On Monday, September 26, 2005, the Dalai Lama participated in a morning-long look at Tibet’s contributions to globalization from integrative medicine to Buddhism. Held in the Rotunda at Low Library and hosted by President Lee C. Bollinger and Professor Robert Thurman, the conference included more than 400 guests, among them actors Uma Thurman, the Professor’s daughter, and Richard Gere, as well as model Christy Turlington.
This particular World Leaders Forum event was supported by the Department of Religion and featured several Columbia faculty from the department. Other faculty included Mark Taylor, Williams College; Visiting Professor, Department of Religion who moderated “Tibetan Studies in the Modern Research University” and Joseph Loizzo, M.D., Weil-Cornell Hospital who examined “Tibetan Studies, the Sciences, and Integrative Medicine.”
Joseph Hough, President of Union Theological Seminary moderated a rousing session on “Tibetan Buddhist Studies and Dialogue of World Religions.” He said that interfaith dialogue is endangered in this country. Citing a statement by the Dalai Lama that “politicians need religion more than anyone else,” Hough countered, “Our political leaders have too much religion. It is clear that the majority of Christians today think that salvation is only possible through belief in Jesus Christ.”
Hough complimented Tibetan Buddhism’s for maintaining non-exclusionary beliefs. “Its tenet of non-exclusion is the most important contribution to global thought.”