Dalai Lama Remains At Mayo Clinic For Medical Evaluation

The 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet remains at the Mayo Clinic for medical evaluation. The 80-year-old Buddhist spiritual leader went to the clinic for a routine annual checkup. However, Reuters reports he had to cancel plans to visit the United States in October at the advice of doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, following his annual checkup this week.

On Friday, the Dalai Lama’s office provided a statement saying doctors urged him to rest for several weeks. The statement did not indicate whether the Nobel Peace Laureate was ill. In addition, the office did not comment about any details of his state of health.

On the Dalai Lama’s official website, his office offered a statement regarding the spiritual leader canceling his October U.S. visits as he remains at Mayo Clinic.

“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.”

On Sunday, ABC News reported Mayo spokesperson Ginger Plumbo’s confirmation that the Dalai Lama remains at the Mayo clinic for evaluation but said she could offer no further details about his stay.

In an email last week, the Dalai Lama’s India-based secretary, Tenzin Taklha, said that the Dalai Lama was going to the Mayo Clinic for an annual medical checkup but was not ill.

The Dalai Lama’s checkup came as heads of state and diplomats were gathering for the annual United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York. However, on Thursday Taklha said the Buddhist spiritual leader did not make any plans to meet with any of the world leaders in conjunction with the session.

Chinese President Xi Jinping was due to make his United Nations debut as leader of China. China has ruled Tibet since Communist troops took over the Himalayan region in 1950, and considers the Dalai Lama as a dangerous separatist.

In 1959, the Dalai Lama fled into exile in India and to this day, he denies claims that he is seeking independence for Tibet. On the other hand, the Tibetan Buddhist leader advocates for greater autonomy of the region through dialogue with Beijing, China.

Dalai Lama In Exile
The Dalai Lama fled into exile in India in 1959. He has denied claims that he is seeking independence for Tibet, advocating instead for greater autonomy of the region through dialogue with Beijing. (Photo courtesy of Office of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama)

The Dalai Lama’s current presence in the United States also coincides with the visit of Pope Francis, who met with President Barack Obama and addressed the United Nations on Friday.

Smith College issued a statement on Friday saying the Dalai Lama had canceled scheduled appearances for October there and at two nearby Massachusetts schools, Amherst College and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, according to Reuters‘ coverage of this story.

CNBC reported that the Dalai Lama had also been due to appear next month at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Salt Lake City, and Philadelphia.

Dalai Lama Cancels Visits
The 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. (Photo courtesy of Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

According to CBS News’coverage, Friday morning the Office of Tibet notified the University of Colorado event planners about the cancellation.

University spokesperson Ryan Huff offered a comment about the Dalai Lama’s long anticipated visit and acknowledged that it would take a long time to plan another visit, since it took nearly two years to schedule the October visit.

“We’re certainly saddened by this news but we also hope the Dalai Lama’s health improves very quickly and someday he may be able to come to campus.”

The Dalai Lama was scheduled to receive an award from the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia on October 26.

The center’s president and CEO, Jeffrey Rosen, said officials are working with the Dalai Lama’s office to see if a representative can accept the award in his absence.

Rosen simply commented on the spiritual leader’s condition.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Dalai Lama as he recovers his strength.”

The Dalai Lama is scheduled to attend a conference in New Delhi, India on November 12 and 13. He is expected to participate in a 2-day conference on Quantum Physics and Madhyamika Philosophical View organized at Jawaharlal Nehru University.