The Dalai Lama spoke to about 15,000 people at the KFC Yum Center as the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists began his visit.
He spoke for about 40 minutes Sunday and then took questions from the crowd. A line started forming around the arena hours before the speech.
The Dalai Lama started his visit earlier in the day by blessing a temple in suburban Louisville. He handed out prayer scarves at the event and told the crowd there that the temple should be known more as a place of learning than of chanting.
The Dalai lama has lived in exile in India since the 1959 Tibetan Uprising. The Nobel peace Prize winner is considered the most visible symbol and spokesman for human rights and Tibetan autonomy.