Dalai Lama Cancels Trip to Philadelphia

Philadelphia was supposed to play host to another holy leader this fall, when the Dalai Lama came to town to accept the 2015 Liberty Medal at the National Constitution Center (NCC). It was announced over the weekend, however, that the 80-year-old spiritual leader has canceled his trip to the U.S. after he was advised by a doctor to lay low and rest over the next several weeks.

The cancellation was confirmed by a statement on His Holiness’s website:

His Holiness the Dalai Lama is in the United States for a medical check-up. The doctors have advised His Holiness to rest for the next several weeks. As a result, His Holiness’ planned October U.S. visit has been cancelled. We deeply regret the inconvenience caused by this decision and apologize to all the people who have worked so hard in organizing the visit as well as to the public. We thank you for your support and understanding.

The news prompted this response from NCC President and CEO Jeffrey Rosen:

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Dalai Lama as he recovers his strength. We look forward to honoring His Holiness’ contributions to world peace and individual freedom at the Liberty Medal ceremony on October 26 and are working with his office to arrange for him to accept the award in absentia through a representative.

In addition to that ceremony, the Dalai Lama was supposed to attend two other events organized by the Tibetan Association of Philadelphia and the Chenrezig Tibetan Buddhist Center of Philadelphia: a public teaching on the “Eight Verses for Training the Mind” at La Salle University, and he was supposed to lead a forum on “Finding Happiness in Troubled Times: Educating the Heart in the 21st Century” at Temple’s Liacouras Center.

As far as the Dalai Lama’s health is concerned, a secretary to His Holiness said the instruction from doctors shouldn’t cause alarm. According to 6 ABC, he visited the Mayo Clinic “and had had no health complaints. …  Test results were fine and the Dalai Lama would soon be returning to Dharamsala, India.”