His Holiness inaugurates World Parliamentarians’ Convention on Tibet, meets Canadian PM

April 28th 2012

Ottawa, Canada, 27, April 2012 - His Holiness began his program in Ottawa on April 27th by giving interviews to Graham Richardson of CTV Ottawa and Campbell Clark of Globe & Mail newspaper.  They asked about His Holiness’ message to Canadians, how the West should deal with China, future of the world, technology, temptations, and succession issue.

Thereafter, His Holiness left for the University of Ottawa to speak to the students and staff on the topic of Education of the Heart.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the University of Ottawa on April 27, 2012. Photo/Don Loga
His Holiness talked about the fundamental sameness of humanity and that all human beings have the same desire for a happy life and the right to it.  However, there is a misconception among some people that becoming rich would help one reach the goal of being happy.  He added that mental attitude is more important for a happy life.

His Holiness emphasized the importance of a secular approach to developing inner values saying that doing this not through preaching or meditation, but through awareness helps one in the long run.

Following his initial remarks, His Holiness responded to questions selected from the students and staff. On being asked about one step to being ethical, His Holiness talked about using common sense to do deeper analysis.  He said these days universities in the United States were experimenting on projects relating to awareness training.

When asked for advice to young people today, His Holiness said any decision that an individual wishes to take should be done using a realistic method.  He said unrealistic method would fail to bring satisfactory results and that too much expectation does not enable one to see reality.

His Holiness was asked whether compassion would make the Chinese authorities respect the dignity of the Tibetan people. He said that he differentiated between the Chinese Government and the people.  He said more and more Chinese people were understanding the reality of the Tibetan issue, particularly because the struggle was non-violent and the approach was the Middle Way.  Since our struggle is between the power of compassion and the power of gun, there is some effect on the Chinese, he said.

Another students wondered who His Holiness’ inspiration was given that he was an inspiration to millions of people.  His Holiness said that his real influence was the Buddha and then Indian Buddhist masters of the Nalanda tradition, including Nagarjuna, Arya Asanga (although not that much) and Shantideva.

Following his remarks, a representative of the students expressed gratitude for His Holiness coming to their university and said they were inspired by his message of compassion.

After lunch at his hotel, His Holiness left for the venue of the sixth world Parliamentarians’ Convention on Tibet.  He first met members of the Canadian Parliamentary Friends of Tibet.  He appreciated their concern and said although he had retired, he would like to thank them on behalf of the six million Tibetans.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama is welcomed by Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney to the "World Parliamentarians' Conventions on Tibet" conference in Ottawa, Canada, on April 27, 2012. Photo/Reuters
Thereafter, he went to address the inaugural session of the 6th World Parliamentarians’ Convention on Tibet (WPCT). Senator Consiglio Di Nino, Chair of the Canadian Parliamentary Friends of Tibet, welcomed His Holiness and the participants. Thereafter, Mr Jason T. Kenney, Canada's current Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, welcomed His Holiness and informed of the Canadian Government’s pride at the contribution of Canadians of Tibetan origin to the social fabric of the nation.  He also talked about a new office of religious freedom that Canada was establishing.  He said Canada continued to encourage a positive dialogue on the Tibetan issue.

Democratic Leader in the United States Congress, Nancy Pelosi, who was to participate in the convention, had to cancel at the last minute on account of a crucial vote scheduled today. Her aide Jonathan Stivers read her message. Congresswoman Pelosi called for the need of a multilateral approach on the Tibetan issue and said His Holiness is the greatest voice for democracy.


Speaker Penpa Tsering of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile speaking at the "World Parliamentarians' Conventions on Tibet" conference in Ottawa, Canada, on April 27, 2012. Photo/tibetonline.tv
Speaker Penpa Tsering of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile spoke next and welcomed everyone as a co-host of the convention.  He remembered Mr. Brij Bhushan Tiwari, an MP from India, who was to attend the convention but had passed away a few days before. He appreciated Canada’s pluralism and multiculturalism and said that is a lesson that China should learn from Canada.  He also spoke of the need to strengthen the International Network of Parliamentarians (InPat).

Then Mr. Thomas Mann, Member of the European Parliament and a co-chair of InPat introduced His Holiness by saying that today people have come to appreciate the wisdom of His Holiness’ devolution of his authority. He added that the 150 members of InPat fully support the non-violent struggle of the Tibetan people and the Middle Way Approach. He thanked His Holiness for his inspiration and vision.

His Holiness then addressed the gathering.  He said he regarded all the participants of the Convention (some of whom are old friends while other are new) as directly supporters of truth.  He said although he had the same face as during the last convention, this time he no longer had the temporal responsibility.  His Holiness joked saying that the “small” fourteenth Dalai Lama had ended a tradition established by the Great Fifth Dalai Lama.  He said that the world belongs to humanity. Canada belongs to the Canadian people and not to the political parties. Tibet, he said, did not belong to the Dalai Lama, but belongs to the six million Tibetans. His Holiness then gave the history of the devolution of his authority, from 2001 when he had become semi-retired to 2011 with the election of Kalon Tripa Lobsang Sangay and his complete retirement. Pointing to both Dr. Lobsang Sangay and Speaker Penpa Tsering who were on the stage, His Holiness said they are both from the new generation, having been born and educated in India.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the "World Parliamentarians' Conventions on Tibet" conference in Ottawa, Canada, on April 27, 2012. Photo/tibetonline.tv
His Holiness said he was now devoting his time to his two commitments, that of promotion of human values and promotion of religious harmony.

His Holiness then shared his views on two issues for the consideration of the gathering.  First was the issue of Tibetan environment, which he said had an impact beyond Tibet.  He said this this issue was greater than the political issue of Tibet. The political issue can be resolved but the environment once damaged cannot be recovered, he said. Second was the issue of Tibetan cultural heritage.  He said that the preservation of the Tibetan Buddhist culture was in the interest of not only the Tibetans but for the wider world.  He added that even non-Buddhist find value in the Tibetan Buddhist culture, recalling a statement by a Scientist at a Mind & Life conference who wished that the Tibetan debating system could be utilized for modern studies.

His Holiness made a distinction between Tibetan Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhist culture.  Tibetan Buddhism was of concern to Buddhists, he said, while Tibetan Buddhist culture was for the wider community. He referred to the Tibetan Buddhist culture as a culture of peace, non-violence and of compassion.

Talking of the Tibetan struggle, His Holiness said that one the one hand the situation in Tibet is serious. The rich ancient cultural heritage was facing threat, he said. The more the Tibetan people demonstrate, the more the Chinese authorities suppress, torture and arrest, he said.  On the other hand, the Tibetan spirit continues to be strong, he said, adding that this was specially so among the younger generation. He added that the more the Chinese authorities suppress, the stronger is the spirit of the Tibetan people.


Delegates attending the "World Parliamentarians' Conventions on Tibet" conference in Ottawa, Canada, on April 27, 2012. Photo/tibetonline.tv
Referring also to the situation of the Uyghur and the Mongol people also, His Holiness said that suppression would not bring about unity.

His Holiness asked the supporters of Tibet not to be discouraged.  He said not only the present generation of Tibetans, but even the coming generation will remember their support.

Mr. Matteo Mecacci, MP from Italy and a co-chair of InPat, thanked His Holiness for his presence.  He concluded by saying that if you support dictatorships abroad you are killing democracy at home.  Senator Di Nino recognized Kalon Tripa Lobsang Sangay who was also on the stage and said that he would be addressing the gathering in the next panel.

His Holiness then went to Parliament Hill where he addressed an event to mark the launch of intercultural harmony program by Mossaic with the support of the Canadian Government.  The program aims to promote dialogue between Canadian Tibetans and Canadian Chinese on issues of concern to them relating to Tibet and China.  Senator Di Nino said at the event that this was the continuation of a process started some years back.  In his remarks, His Holiness reiterated his message of the oneness of humanity saying that issues arise when there was too much stress on the secondary level of identity be it racial or otherwise.  His Holiness talked about his effort to reach out to the Chinese people, the developments following the 2008 demonstrations in Tibet and how we needed to differentiate between Chinese government and people. He repeated that while his faith in the Chinese Government is shaken, but he had not lost hope on the Chinese people. His Holiness also talked about the need for China to open up and allow freedom to the people.  He said the 1.3 billion Chinese people have every right to know the reality. And then once the Chinese people know the reality, the 1.3 billion of Chinese people have the ability to judge what is right and what is wrong. Therefore, censorship is immoral, he said.


Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper greets His Holiness the Dalai Lama at his office on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on April 27, 2012. Photo/Andrew MacDougall
Following this event, His Holiness had a separate meeting with Minister Jason Kenney. He then had a meeting with Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper before returning to his hotel.

On April 28, 2012, His Holiness will address a public talk and will be departing Canada at the conclusion of his trip.
 

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