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Students inspired by Dalai Lama's message

A day in the presence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a day Brian Buckner won’t soon forget.

Aside from the fact that the man named Tenzin Gyatso is also a spiritual leader whose wisdom and appeal transcends religious, geographic and cultural boundaries, he’s a bit of a rock star in the eyes of the younger generation.

That’s why Buckner, who teaches history, government and economics at Hillsboro’s Liberty High School, was thrilled to be able to take 40 Liberty students to hear the Dalai Lama speak last Saturday in Portland.

Maitripa College, which hosted the Dalai Lama’s visit, gave Buckner 50 free tickets to the event on the last day of his three-day Environmental Summit.

Student groups from LEP Charter High School, Sandy High School and Catlin Gabel School also attended.

“His message is simple,” said Buckner, reflecting on Saturday’s speech. “It’s something we as Americans should take time to pause and consider.”

The day, Buckner said, was a chance for students to experience “living history.” The Dalai Lama talked about China’s politics, and his own life of exile from Tibet in India.

Buckner said his students commented they could feel the energy of the day as they exited the MAX train at the Rose Quarter Saturday morning. They commented on how the Dalai Lama’s “laughter was contagious” and how funny, compassionate and humble he came across.by: HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - A group of Liberty High School students and teachers attended the day-long activities last Saturday when the Dalai Lama visited Portland. The group has tickets donated courtesy of Maitripa College.

His students completed a project in order to earn a ticket to the event, including writing essays.

Senior Jake Litterer wrote about his preconceptions of the Dalai Lama and what he had learned after watching a film.

“As I watched the film, I found myself thinking that this man ... does not seem to be a great man ... he doesn’t seem to be anything special. The last 15 minutes of the film I realized how ridiculous a mistake I had made.”by: COURTESY PHOTO: BRIAN BUCKNER - Canda Zavala-Juarez and Yetlanezi Zaval-Juarez pose with Liberty social studies teacher Brian Buckner last Saturday at the Memorial Coliseum. The sisters both had their artwork on display as a part of the Dalai Lamas visit to Portland.

“One quote from the Dalai Lama has continually inspired me and has helped me to be a better person,” another student wrote. “If you don’t love yourself, you cannot love others.”

Accompanying the history students were five art students whose work was displayed in the concourse of the Memorial Coliseum. The art — several pottery masks and paintings — illustrated the students’ individual ideas of diversity and equality.



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