His Holiness shares his thought on building a positive world

April 29th 2012

Ottawa, Canada, 28 April 2012 - On his last full day in Ottawa during this visit, His Holiness the Dalai Lama began his program with an audience to the Tibetan community held in the Assembly Hall of the Ottawa Civic Center, the venue of the morning public talk. Kalon Tripa Lobsang Sangay, Tashi Namgyal and Norbu Tsering, both members of the Tibetan Parliament from North America, were among those who received him at the venue.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to the Tibetan community at the Assembly Hall of the Ottawa Civic Center in Ottawa, Canada, on April 28, 2012. Photo/Fred Cattroll
In his remarks His Holiness talked about the changes in the Tibetan political system since his last visit to Canada and the devolution of his authority. He said this is implementation of his desire for a democratic system since his childhood and not because, as some say, of his fear of something like that happened in Tunisia

His Holiness said that the Tibetan struggle is for the rights of the Tibetan people. He recalled how one Chinese official told a Tibetan delegation that included Kasur P.T. Takla, His Holiness’ brother Lobsang Samten, and Kasur Juchen Thubten Namgyal, that the Tibetan struggle was dependent on just one individual and that when he was gone that is the end.  His Holiness said the situation is not like this.  He said that with the recent development the democratically elected leadership has assumed full political authority. He said Kalon Tripa Lobsang Sangay has been good in assuming his responsibility and seems to be planning ahead.

His Holiness said the new generation of Tibetans in exile, including those in Canada, has great determination and sincerity.  Those younger generations of Tibetans in Tibet, even though they grew up under the Chinese Communist Party, have great courage and sincerity.

His Holiness said he told some friends that the Tibetan spirit is derived from Buddhism, which is more than 2000 years old, and is also gaining increasing attention.  On the other hand, the Chinese Communist Party is based on Marxism, which is around 200 years old and its image is getting worse day by day.  Therefore, Tibetan spirit will outlive the Chinese Communist Party.

President Hu Jintao has talked about a harmonious society, which is great, said His Holiness adding that for harmony trust was needed, which in turn is generated by equality. He said that it is a matter of time before changes occur in China.


Members of the Tibetan community listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama speak at the Assembly Hall of the Ottawa Civic Center in Ottawa, Canada, on April 28, 2012. Photo/Fred Cattroll
Looking from one perspective, His Holiness said that 53-54 years of the Tibetan struggle is a long time in terms of an individual.  Both Kalon Tripa Lobsang Sangay and Speaker Penpa Tsering, who are at the helm of the Tibetan leadership, have been born and brought up in India, he said. During this period, the Tibetans in Tibet have continued to maintain their determination.

His Holiness said that while changes will certainly occur in China, the Tibetans should also bear in mind the adage to “Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.”

His Holiness said there are reasons why Tibetans can have pride in themselves. Even before the invention of the current Tibetan script during the time of King Songtsen Gampo, he said there was a script called Shangshung Maryig.

Talking about the richness of the Tibetan language, His Holiness said the most complete Buddhist scriptures are found in Tibetan.  His Holiness said he referred to the Tibetan Buddhist culture is the common wealth of the world.  He advised the Tibetans to really study their Tibetan culture. He said families with children should strive to speak the Tibetan language at home.  His Holiness told the gathering about a Tibetan girl in Chicago who was one of the winners of an essay contest.  He said that she had been born in India and spoke Tibetan well. He said it was admirable that she competed with many other students to become a winner and this showed that Tibetans have the ability.

His Holiness concluded his remarks by giving the Tibetans the good news that his most recent medical checkup at Mayo Clinic showed his health was good and there was no change in his physical condition since he started his annual checkup seven years back.

Thereafter, His Holiness gave an interview to Canada’s national weekly current affairs magazine Macleans columnist Paul Wells.

Before His Holiness entered the Arena to give his talk on “Ethics for the Whole World,” Mr. Nima Dorjee of the Canada Tibet Committee and the head of its Project Tibet Society informed the gathering about a project to resettle 1000 Tibetans currently sheltering in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh to India. The Government of Canada is facilitating the immigration of these Tibetans. Part of the proceeds of the event will go towards this project, said Mr. Dorjee while mentioning His Holiness’ principle of not benefitting in any way from such events connected with him.


Actor Richard Gere introduces His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the audience at the start of His Holiness's talk in Ottawa, Canada, on April 28, 2012. Photo/Fred Cattroll
A long time friend of the Tibetan people, Richard Gere, introduced His Holiness. Referring to His Holiness’ positive attributes, he said that he did not think there was anyone like him in our lifetime.

In his remarks, His Holiness talked about how the 20th century was a century of violence and bloodshed (according to some historians, about 200 million people were killed through violence) and how people’s attitude changed in the latter part of the century.  He said from an attitude of citizens supporting war efforts in the post Vietnam War period, people have realized that wars and violence bring more suffering. Therefore, in the wake of the Iraq war, people from Australia to the United States came out publicly to launch campaigns against wars.

His Holiness talked about the efforts of individuals like Nelson Mandela and Archbishop in bringing about a change in South Africa through their move for reconciliation in the society.  He said that such kind of reconciliation effort was needed in North Africa.

His Holiness also mentioned the change in people’s attitude about relationship between science and religion. He said that previously many people believed that science and spiritually were different and had no meeting points. Now more scientists are find about human brain and the connection to emotions.

He added that in this 21st century we are continuing with the change that we have seen in the latter part of the 20th century. Therefore, there are reasons to be optimistic, he added. His Holiness said that we have to look to the future, not the past. He added that while there is guarantee about the future yet it is open.  He said the future depends on the present and so we must utilize the present properly. If we make plan with vision and determination, he said this century could be a century of peace. He said there is the possibility of seeing a demilitarized world in this period.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking during his talk "Ethics for the Whole World" in Ottawa, Canada, on April 28, 2012. Photo/Fred Cattroll
His Holiness said the materialization of this possibility depends on the younger generation. We have to develop the concept of the oneness of humanity he said, adding that too much self-centered attitude leads to fear, anger and anxiety. He said that constant fear, anger and hatred were every bad for our health.

His Holiness said that warm heartedness was the key factor for success life. He suggested a universal way to cultivate these inner values saying that although a religion may be widely practiced it would not be universal.

His Holiness then answered questioned gathered from the public. When asked for advice on parenting and how to bring up a one year old child with strong moral values, His Holiness emphasized on the importance of showing maximum affection to young children. But he joked that since he had no experience of raising a child he could not say more.

Another question was about making the global community more compassionate. His Holiness responded by saying that the modern education system was inadequate for the all round development of an individual. He said that there was the need to introduce education on warm heartedness in the curriculum, from Kindergarten to University level.  He talked about experimental research being conducted in universities such as University of Wisconsin, Madison; Emory University; and Stanford University on the training of mind, mindfulness and compassion.  His Holiness suggested that if there was interest among the people here they could experiment on this in one school at first, see the result and expand accordingly.

There was a question by a supporter of Tibet who felt that no difference was being made and wanted advice on what to do about it. His Holiness said that some changes were taking place.  He talked about the moral support to the detained Chinese democracy advocate Liu Xiaobo. He said although there may not be immediate results impact was being made.  His Holiness told the gathering that he had heard about some Chinese demonstrating outside the venue of the public talk.  He said he welcomed these Chinese enjoying Canada’s freedom and hope that such freedom exists in China.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama answers questions from the audience during his talk "Ethics for the Whole World" in Ottawa, Canada, on April 28, 2012. Photo/Fred Cattroll
His Holiness asked the people not to be discouraged.  He gave his own experience of having to shoulder political responsibility when he was 16 thus losing his freedom, then having to learn the art of hypocrisy while co-existing with the Chinese for nine years. He said it was only in April 1959, when he arrived in India that he was liberated from having to be hypocritical.  Since 1959, he had become a refugee even as things inside Tibet continued to be bad.

But there is no reason to feel hopeless, he said. His Holiness said that the Tibetan struggle was one between the power of truth, power of compassion and the power of gun, power of hate. In the short run, he said the power of gun might dominate but in the long run the power of truth will win.

His Holiness said that foolish local officials who sought recourse to force and repression to deal with matters that they did not like caused the seriousness of the situation in Tibet.  However, he said the more suppression is used the stronger is the Tibetan spirit.

His Holiness talked about the increasing support for Tibet among Chinese intellectuals who understood the reality of the situation.  He reiterated that the Tibetans were not seeking separation but meaningful autonomy, and that economically it was in Tibet’s own interest to remain with the People’s Republic of China. 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 adding that China must practice transparency and the Chinese judiciary must be independent and up to international standard. Once China becomes more open, transparent, and without censorship it would be beneficial for all. His Holiness said therefore support should be extended for the freedom of the 1.3 billion people in China.

After answering a question about compassion and how it could be cultivated, His Holiness hosted a lunch for parliamentarians participating in the 6th World Parliamentarians Convention on Tibet.

Following lunch, His Holiness met with the media. In his initial remarks, he spoke about his two commitments of promotion of human values and promotion of religious harmony, and the important role of the media in looking into issues to have a clean society, healthy society, healthy politician, healthy businessmen, etc.  He said previously he had a third commitment on the issue of Tibet, but that he had handed over this responsibility to the elected political leader and pointed to Kalon Tripa Lobsang Sangay who was present in the room.

The first question was about what His Holiness had told Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper during their meeting on April 27, 2012.

His Holiness said that he had thanked the Prime Minister for accepting another 1000 Tibetans on top of the Tibetans who have already been resettled here. He said originally we had hoped to bring Tibetans from Nepal for this resettlement, but that there was some difficulties from the Nepalese Government side. Therefore, we had decided to bring over Tibetans from India who were not properly settled, he said.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to members of the media in Ottawa, Canada, on April 28, 2012. Photo/Fred Cattroll
His Holiness said he had also thanked the Prime Minister who had, despite some inconveniences (the close economic ties with the People’s Republic of China), the courage to have the meeting. That is important, His Holiness said adding that while business and economy were one thing, the value of democracy was another. He said he thought Prime Minister Harper had managed it very well; while maintaining close relations with China, at the same time standing firm on his own democratic values.

His Holiness joked that as an honorary citizen of Canada, he had called him “my Prime Minister.”

Another question was about any advice His Holiness had given to the Prime Minster. His Holiness responded that the Prime Minister had asked about overall suggestions.  He said that the Prime Minister is an experienced leader. He said he had mentioned about an occasion in Japan many years ago when some young politicians wanted his suggestions. His Holiness had responded to them then that potential leaders, they should carry all their work transparently and consistently. These are important qualities as they bring trust from the voters and so even from the viewpoint of elections, honesty was important, His Holiness said.

Asked about his view on Canada, His Holiness said he thought the country was advancing well economically. Having a small population compared to the area it had good potential for the future he said adding that to give a more thorough answer he would need to spend more time to study the situation in Canada.

His Holiness then referred to the situation of the native people in Canada, the First Nation, and thought that they may have progressed slower than some other people, like the indigenous people in Australia or the Maori people in New Zealand who are highly developed in education field, etc. His Holiness added that he however did not know this in detail.

To a question about the dialogue process with China, His Holiness said in one aspect there has been no improvement in the situation inside Tibet. But on another aspect, support has increased from Chinese people, mainly the intellectuals, Chinese students and as also those involved in the struggle for openness and democracy, he said. His Holiness added that we have solidarity with these people and many of them show us the spirit of solidarity. He said a number of Chinese are now getting better knowledge of the reality of Tibet and the present difficulties through Twitter etc. Once they get more awareness, automatically they show sympathy and concern and solidarity, he said.

His Holiness said that he considered that in the long run the people were more important than the government. Therefore, while there are difficulties with the Chinese Government, but at the Chinese people’s level we have really built healthy, closer feeling, he said. His Holiness said our nonviolence approach makes tremendous impact on their mind. And also we are not seeking separation or independence despite our past history, but we are looking forward. He said that Tibet is materially backward and so for our own interest it is better to remain within China as this is much helpful for development. But there was the need for meaningful autonomy so that we can protect our own culture, our own language, and our own environment, he added.

On a question about his views on the cut in Canada’s foreign aid, His Holiness first joked that despite being an honorary citizen, he was a foreigner and the Canadians should think over this and raise the issue. He said basically we are all living on one planet and it was natural to help each other and to take care, both at the global level and the national level. He said he had always been concerned about the gap between the rich and the poor, at the global level as well as the national level.

Asked about ways to approach corruption in Mexico, His Holiness said Mexico is a democratic country and its citizens should make their concerns known and the government should be made accountable. He however cautioned against becoming discouraged and hopeless as that would really be a failure. He said merely complaining about problems without facing them would not lead to any solution.  His Holiness talked about the Tibetan people’s perseverance despite difficulties and cited a Tibetan adage,  “nine times failure, nine times effort.”

On a question on taking up environmental concerns, His Holiness said from his own experience, in the early 1960s he had no idea of the meaning of ecology. Then after meeting scientists and ecologists, etc, he had developed real concern. He said education, including by the media, could help. He said the Rio summit more or less failed, while the Copenhagen summit failed because national interest was considered more important while global interest was not considered an emergency. That was a mistake, he said adding that global warming is a concern for everybody. So big nations should give priority to the global issue and then to their national issue. He, however, said now more and more people are seriously talking about these things, which was positive.

Asked about his views on the worldwide Occupy movement, His Holiness said basically there was the need to bring issues of concern to greater awareness of the general public, including leaders. If people remained silent, he said the concerned authorities might not pay attention. He recalled participating in a meeting in New Delhi, India on the difficulties of the poorer section of society during which some people were talking of a demonstration. He said at that time he had told them that if they organize well he might even join the demonstration for the poorer people.

His Holiness said the method should be non-violent as they will then have more sympathizers. He added that if the motivation was good, and the end was justified, but if the method was too negative then even sympathizers may feel disaffected and disillusioned.

His Holiness left for the airport following the press meet to begin his return journey to India.  His Holiness had arrived in Honolulu on April 13, 2012 and had spoken at six universities in Honolulu, San Diego, Chicago and Ottawa, in addition to participating in a Nobel Peace Laureates’ Summit and giving a Buddhist initiation.
 
 

Latest News

A Meeting of Diverse Spiritual Traditions in India - Second Day
September 21st 2014
New Delhi, India, 21 September 2014 - The second day of the Meeting of Diverse Spiritual Traditions in India opened with the second plenary session on the theme ‘Environment, Education and Society’. Moderator Arun Kapur opened discussions with the suggestion that we seem to live in competition with nature. People and nature are not distinct from each other, he said, therefore it is a mistake to try to compete with or conquer nature.

A Meeting of Diverse Spiritual Traditions in India - First Day
September 20th 2014

Explaining Secular Ethics to the Indian Merchants’ Chamber and Its Ladies Wing
September 18th 2014

Tata Institute of Social Sciences - Convocation
September 17th 2014

His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Convene Meeting of Diverse Spiritual Traditions in India
September 13th 2014

Explore