Scalping Dalai Lama tickets is bad karma, professor says

Scalping Dalai Lama tickets is bad karma, professor says
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama greets followers as he arrives to deliver religious talks at the Buddha Jayanti Park in New Delhi, India, Saturday, March 9, 2013. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Scalpers be warned: You may make good money selling tickets to the Dalai Lama's speech, but a follower says it's bad karma.

The $20 tickets to the Tibetan religious leader's speech May 10 at the University of Oregon are being re-sold by an online ticket broker for $225 to $282 a seat, the Eugene Register-Guard reports.

That risks spiritual harm, said Jim Blumenthal, an Oregon State University associate professor who also teaches at Maitripa College in Portland, sponsor of the Dalai Lama's appearances in Portland during a three-day visit to the state.

"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 said. "We suffer more ourselves, and we cause pain to others. It's kind of a lose-lose situation."

The broker, Ticket Liquidator, didn't respond immediately to an email message seeking comment.

Although ticket resale is legal in Oregon, the Dalai Lama's representatives worried about scalping and wanted a noncommercial appearance with tickets at a nominal price, said university spokesman Phil Weiler.

To thwart sales of large blocks of tickets, they were limited: two a person.

The university gave 2,500 tickets free to students, sold about 3,000 to faculty and staff members, allocated 2,200 to the event's co-sponsor, Eugene Sakya Center, and sold the balance, 11,000, by phone and online to the public.

"The intention of the Dalai Lama was very clear, and that his intention was superseded in this classic entrepreneurial, slimy kind of way makes me ill," said Eugene artist Cathy Coulson-Keegan.

She and her husband tried to buy online and by phone when tickets went on sale at 10 a.m. on March 11.

They failed. Coulson-Keegan's karma, though, must be good.

"A friend had an extra ticket, and, very compassionately, chose me for the ticket," she said. "I am quite humbled by that."