Skip to main content

Dalai Lama visits Minneapolis to celebrate Tibetan New Year


The Dalai Lama celebrated the Tibetan New Year in Minnesota Sunday, his first time observing the new year outside of India, since his exile more than 50 years ago.

He presided over a Tibetan New Year ceremony at Augsburg College Sunday morning – the event drew roughly 3,000 people Tibetan-Americans, according to the Star Tribune. The Dalai Lama spoke on the nature of happiness, fulfillment and embodiment at Macalester College Sunday afternoon.

The Tibetan spiritual leader gave a keynote speech at the 26th annual Nobel Peace Prize Forum at the Minneapolis Convention Center Saturday. During the forum, one Augsburg student got the chance of a lifetime – to run the Dalai Lama's errands.

Tenzin Yeshi Paichang, a sophomore at Augsburg, is a first-generation Minnesotan born to Tibetan immigrants. Tibet was annexed by China in 1950 and after a failed revolt in 1959, the Dalai Lama fled to neighboring India. Paichang's grandparents were among the tens of thousands of Tibetans who followed their political and religious leader into exile, according to the Pioneer Press. In 1992, Paichang's family immigrated to the United States. Paichang was the first baby born in Minnesota to the first wave of Tibetan immigrants to the U.S., the newspaper reports.

Paichang calls the Dalai Lama "respected, holy, just an icon," according to WCCO, and when he found out he would be running errands for the spiritual leader he was very excited.

"I picture myself, like 20 years from now, like when I have children, I’m going to be telling them like ‘Oh, I got His Holiness a cup of coffee,” Paichang told WCCO.

This isn't the first time Paichang has been associated with the Dalai Lama – when he was two years old he played His Holiness in a Martin Scorcese film, Kundun. Paichang told WCCO anything related to His Holiness, including playing him in a film, is a blessing. He said the Dalai Lama is not just a man he portrayed on screen, but one he hopes to emulate in life.

Minnesota is home to some 2,500 Tibetans and has the second largest concentration of Tibetans in the United States, second to New York, according to the Pioneer Press.

Next Up

Target store

Target unveils deals for 2-day 'Cyber Monday' event

The promotion kicks off Sunday, November 28.

Screen Shot 2021-11-27 at 9.59.30 AM

Edina police warn of recent burglary trend targeting garages and vehicles

The Edina Police Department is increasing patrols in affected neighborhoods in response to the trend.

Screen Shot 2021-11-27 at 9.03.06 AM

Charges: Man shot Uber Eats driver making a delivery in Cottage Grove

Otis Donnell Shipp was charged with second-degree attempted murder after turning himself in on Wednesday.

Screen Shot 2021-11-27 at 7.36.14 AM

Waterfront hotel in Duluth sustains damage in kitchen fire

Authorities estimate the damage at around $75,000.

Screen Shot 2021-11-27 at 7.15.18 AM

Large groups of thieves target 2 Twin Cities Best Buys on Black Friday

It bears similarities to the flash-mob style thefts seen recently in California.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Timberwolves' winning streak snapped at five games

The Wolves' bid for their longest winning streak since 2014 came up short.

Screen Shot 2020-08-14 at 6.45.53 PM

Teen arrested over fatal shooting of 5-year-old boy in Brooklyn Park

Police say the teen was filming a social media video while handling a gun.

Joe Biden

President Biden coming to Minnesota to promote Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Tuesday's trip follows passage of the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal.

Kirill Kaprizov

Kaprizov gets into the holiday spirit to rout Jets

Kirill Kaprizov's four points led the Wild to a 7-1 victory.

Kirk Cousins

Coller: Cure to Vikings' disrupted season lies in an explosive passing game

The Vikings go to San Francisco knowing that a win would be a huge boost to their playoff hopes.


Dalai Lama arrives in Rochester for checkup

On Sunday, several hundred members of the Tibetan American Foundation of Minnesota gathered to welcome him at Saint Marys Hospital, the Rochester Post-Bulletin is reporting. He walked among the well-wishers, shaking hands and speaking briefly with them. He also addressed a group of college students.