ITHACA, N.Y. — On Wednesday, Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick announced that the Dalai Lama selected the town of Ithaca from dozens of cities to be the site of an international center for Buddhism.
The cultural center — called “His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama’s Library and Museum” — will be built on South Hill.
Myrick says that the library and museum will contain “the writings, teachings, and artifacts of all 14 Dalai Lamas,” referring to the monks who have served as the spiritual leaders of Tibetan Buddhism for centuries.
Additionally, the center will provide housing for Buddhist students and monks.
Myrick said the town was not involved in the application process — nor was it aware of it. Ithaca’s Namgyal Monastery, the current North American Seat of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, independently lobbied for Ithaca to be selected as the site of the new library.
Myrick was pleased to hear of the town of Ithaca’s selection, and welcomes the center as a “culturally, economically and socially important” development for the community.
Additionally, he argued that developments such as this reduce Ithaca’s economic dependence on a few select institutions.
“The more reasons for people to come to Ithaca, the better,” Myrick said, speculating that the center would draw visitors from around the world. “If all we are is Cornell and Ithaca College, then we’ll remain dependent on those things.”
He also pointed to the announcement as evidence of Ithaca’s growing diversity.
“Ithaca is a community that welcomes people of all backgrounds,” he said. “This will not just confirm, but expand that. The more diverse we are, the stronger we are.”
The mayor visited the Namgyal Monastery on Wednesday to make the announcement and celebrate the Dalai Lamas’s 81st birthday.
“The Namgyal Monastery let me cut the cake,” Myrick said.