How much would you pay to see the 14th and current Dalai Lama himself? The flowing robes, the grace, bald…
Well, the Tibetan Buddhist leader will be speaking in several American cities in May, including a sold-out stop at the University of Oregon on Friday, May 10.
His speaking contract stipulates that the event remain noncommercial in nature, The Register-Guard of Eugene reports. The University of Oregon readily abided by the stipulation, pricing tickets at a mere $20 and limiting sales.
“We limited the number of tickets that any individual could buy to two so that we would avoid the situation where someone could buy up a large block of tickets and resell them,” university spokesman Phil Weiler said.
Selling a ticket to an event for more than you paid for it is not illegal in Oregon, though, and the Dalai Lama was unable to control basic market forces. One ticket broker — Ticket Liquidator — is reselling the $20 tickets for upwards of $280 per seat.
The Connecticut-based ticket broker has its hands on tickets for the spiritual leader’s 2013 American tour in other locales, too. Prices are over $300 in Madison, Wis. You can apparently expect to pay nearly $500 in Louisville.
Jim Blumenthal, an associate professor at Oregon State University who specializes in Indian and Tibetan Buddhist philosophy, warned that all manner of negative energy could be in store for anyone who tries to get a little something for the effort of selling tickets to one of the Dalai Lama’s speeches.
“If the motivation behind scalping, in this example, is really selfish and self-centered, then the effect that has on one’s own mind, one’s karmic predisposition, would be negative,” Blumenthal told The Register-Guard. “We suffer more ourselves, and we cause pain to others. It’s kind of a lose-lose situation.”
Eugene artist Cathy Coulson-Keegan told The Register-Guard that she and her husband made several fruitless attempts to buy tickets to the University of Oregon event when they first went on sale to the general public on March 11.
“The intention of the Dalai Lama was very clear, and that his intention was superseded in this classic entrepreneurial, slimy kind of way makes me ill,” she said of the ticket brokers.
“If everybody was fair and everybody tried to make things equitable, we wouldn’t have poor people,” she added.
Coulson-Keegan did end up with a ticket.
“A friend had an extra ticket, and, very compassionately, chose me for the ticket,” she told The Register-Guard.
So she’s got that going for her, which is nice.