H.H. the Dalai Lama Meets Tibetans, Mongolians and Himalayan Buddhists

April 27th 2009

Berkeley, CA, USA, 26 April 2009 - His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressed to the members of the Tibetan community as well as those from Mongolia and the Himalayan region in Berkeley, a city on the east shore of San Francisco in northern California, on Saturday. 

His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived in San Francisco from Santa Barbara just before Saturday noon for his second leg of the tour of the  United States.

His Holiness was received by the Board of Directors of the Tibetan Association of Northern California (TANC) at Berkeley Community Center. 
Following the performance of a welcome song in praise of His Holiness the Dalai Lama by the young children of the community, TANC President Dechen Tsering presented the one year report of the association. She informed His Holiness of a new Quilt Project to honor the contribution of those many Tibetans who died for the cause of Tibet. A quilt was  displayed to His Holiness. 

In his remarks His Holiness talked about the commonality of the spiritual and cultural heritage of the Tibetans, the Mongols and the Himalayan people. He referred to the Tibetan Buddhist culture as a way of life saying that the Tibetan Muslims, who are not Buddhists, also shared this way of life. He talked of two levels of Buddhism, one at  the popular ritualistic level and the other that of the study of the deeper Buddhist philosophy.  He asked the people to study the Nalanda tradition from which Tibetan Buddhism originated. 
His Holiness said that the Tibetan language was the best language to study this tradition of Buddhism and thus asked these communities to pay attention to the Tibetan language. 
Referring to the Mongol people, His Holiness said that they had suffered a lot in the 20th century but that they had achieved freedom and are now seeing the revival of their religion in their country. As for the communities in Nepal, His Holiness said that there was a renewed interest in Tibetan Buddhism. He said the Sherpas, the Tamangs and others are beginning to think about their ancestral heritage that came from Tibet. He said one important aspect of identity is the traditional faith. 
His Holiness also emphasized the importance of modern education and how that had been a drawback in Tibet of the past.  He asked the Tibetan people to uphold the good Tibetan character.  He said the Tibetans have the additional responsibility to think about Tibet.  He said that since the Tibetans had the truth there was no need to lie as we do not have any state secrets.  However, the other side had to resort to likes and every violent suppression, which he said was a sign of weakness and not of strength.  His Holiness said there was thus no need to be discouraged. 
His Holiness said Tibetans should hope for the best but prepare for the worst.  He said China was changing.  Just as the Tibetans are passing through a desperate situation, the Chinese Communists are also passing through a desperate situation. He then referred to the demonstrations in Tibet last year and said that now another generation  is taking over the responsibility of the Tibet movement.  This, he said, showed that the Tibetan spirit has not died.   

Following His Holiness' speech, members of the Chaksampa troupe sang some excerpts from the Tibetan opera in praise of His Holiness. His Holiness then departed for his hotel.

Prior to meeting with members of the Tibetan, Mongolian and Himalayan Buddhist Communities, His Holiness attended a luncheon reception, which was hosted by the American Himalayan Foundation (AHF), a non-profit organization dedicated to helping the people and ecology of the Himalaya. 
Actress and member of the AHF Board of Director Sharon Stone welcomed  the gathering and spoke about AHF's projects in Tibet.  She said in 1995 at the suggestion of His Holiness the Dalai Lama AHF began developmental projects in Tibet and since then have build 33 schools, 24 bridges and helped orphans and elders.  She said currently AHF had  three urgent projects; building a school hostel, construction of a bridge that will benefit 3000 villagers, and establishing a drinking  water system that will benefit 2000 Tibetans.  She then introduced a video that detailed these and other AHF projects to help the Tibetan people. 
AHF Chairman Richard C. Blum spoke next and gave a background to his personal involvement with the Tibetan people.  He said 30 years ago at the invitation of his wife Dianne Feinstein (then mayor of San Francisco) and him, His Holiness the Dalai Lama had visited San Francisco (during his first ever visit to the United States).  Since then he said AHF had been assisting the Tibetan people, including those in Nepal. Blum then invited His Holiness to make some remarks. 
His Holiness began by expressing his deep appreciation for the very constructive work that AHF was undertaking throughout the Himalayan region.  He said the people along the Himalayan region although they may be Indian or Nepalese citizens share the same Tibetan cultural and spiritual heritage. He said that today even though the Tibetans are  homeless yet the many Tibetan monastic institutions in India are serving the monks and nuns of the entire Himalayan region.  He said those Himalayan people who trace their ethnic origin to Tibet are today paying interest in finding their original root as well as in their spiritual heritage. 
His Holiness said in the future if the situation in Tibet does not change Tibet may be finished but that the Tibetan spirit will continue as it was strong. He talked about the increasing support for the Tibetan people in the Chinese community. Since March 10 last year, he said there were over 400 articles in Chinese written by Chinese all of  which were sympathetic to the Tibetan cause and critical of the Chinese Government's policy. 
His Holiness said that he had been telling the Himalayan people that it was their responsibility, too, to help in the survival of the Tibetan Buddhist culture as it was beneficial to them.  He urged the AHF to continue its involvement in projects with these communities. 
Referring to projects inside Tibet, His Holiness said that I always welcome any help in Tibet in the field of education and health.  He said although in the bigger towns there were some facilities in these fields the remote areas of Tibet was being neglected. He said any help that can be rendered in these areas would be of immense benefit. 

Following the luncheon, His Holiness departed for the University of California in Berkeley's Greek Theatre to give a public talk on 'Peace Through Compassion', jointly organized by UC Berkeley?s Blum Centre for Developing Economies and the AHF. His Holiness was welcomed by Chancellor Robert Birgeneau on his arrival at the venue.


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