London School of Economics, Westminster Abbey, Parliament and Clarence House

June 21st 2012

London, England, 20 June 2012 - “Brothers and sisters, I am happy to have this opportunity to talk to you today. And when such a chance arises, I always consider myself to be another human being, just like you. We 7 billion human beings are the same physically, mentally and emotionally. Some of us have different coloured hair, a bigger or smaller nose, but these are secondary differences. What unites us is that we all want to be happy and none of us wants to be sad. Not one of us starts their day thinking, ‘I hope I face problems, today.’ Indeed, everyone has a right to a happy life.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking during his talk "Resisting Intolerance: An Ethical and Global Challenge" at the London School of Economics on June 20, 2012. Photo/Ian Cumming
His Holiness was speaking at the London School of Economics at an event hosted jointly by the LSE, the Frederick Bonnart Braunthal Trust, Matrix Chambers and the Sigrid Rausing Trust on the theme Resisting Intolerance: an ethical and global challenge. He spoke about how people create problems without meaning to, because they don’t look ahead and take a long term view. Examples include the crisis in the global economy, climate change and the gap between rich and poor. These occur because we have not applied our wonderful human intelligence, but looked instead for immediate gratification.

He pointed out that there are 7 billion human beings on this planet and we need to take each other into account. We are all dependent on each other in different ways, whether it is for food, fuel and energy, raw materials, technological development and so on. If we consider other human beings as brothers and sisters we will feel safe and secure, but if we persist in viewing others with suspicion and mistrust we will constantly feel uneasy.

Describing himself as belonging to the twentieth century, an era that is already past, he appealed to the younger generation, the generation of the twenty-first century to make the effort to create a better, more peaceful, more equitable world. This will not, he said, be achieved by prayers or simple good wishes, but by becoming actively involved.

Answering questions from the audience, His Holiness praised the ancient tradition of tolerance he has observed in India, where people belonging to nearly all our religious traditions have lived together in respect and harmony for centuries. The concept of non-violence, which has its origins there, is still strong in India, a country that has been democratic and remarkably stable since independence in 1947. He said that as a messenger of ancient Indian thought, he seeks to make these notions of respect, tolerance and non-violence relevant today.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addresses the congregation including representatives from different religious groups during a service of prayer and reflection at Westminster Abbey in London, England, on June 20, 2012. Photo/Ian Cumming
Going on to Westminster Abbey, His Holiness was met at the gate by the Very Reverend John R Hall, the Dean, who escorted him into the Abbey to participate in an interfaith prayer gathering. Addressing the representatives of a large number of religious traditions and a full congregation, His Holiness spoke of the need demonstrate a genuine sense of brotherhood and sisterhood amongst all our spiritual traditions, despite different philosophical standpoints and the rich variety of robes and hats he could see before him. He mentioned the importance of extending that sense of co-operation to protecting the natural environment and suggested that if we can apply the wisdom of our ancient teachings in day to day life the value of our religious traditions comes alive.

From the Abbey, His Holiness was led to the Jerusalem Chamber, in another part of the building. Welcoming him there, the Dean commented on the rich history of the room itself. It was a significant location for His Holiness to meet British people who had lived and worked in Tibet prior to the Chinese invasion. The son of Robert Ford, the radio operator who served in Khams and was later imprisoned by the Chinese, read a message from his father who was indisposed. He spoke of being a witness to a free Tibet, a country the size of France and Germany, an independent country with its own government, language, customs and way of life. He said the Tibetans he encountered were honest, gentle and joyful, devoted to their religion and to their leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

His Holiness recalled that on his first visit to Europe in 1973 he had been impressed to discover people in England who could speak a little Tibetan, which he took as evidence of the links that had existed between Tibet and Great Britain. These were people who as a result of their stay there understood what Tibet was. He said,

“I am very happy to be here. Our struggle is between the power of truth and justice and the power of the gun. In the short term the power of the gun seems stronger, but in the long term the power of truth will prevail. We are determined that our struggle remains non-violent and as a result we have a strong base of support and solidarity here and in other countries, and even among increasing numbers of informed Chinese.

“Please keep Tibet in your thoughts and tell other people what you know about Tibet, her people and environment, thank you.”   

His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow during a meeting hosted by the All Parliamentary Group on Food and Security in the Parliament on June 20, 2012. Photo/Ian Cumming
In an interview with Reuters that followed, His Holiness stressed that the People’s Republic of China, with a great population is important and has great potential to make a positive contribution to the world, so it would be inappropriate for her to be isolated. He said that as a new leadership takes responsibility, he hopes it will function more openly and seek truth from facts. Once again, he acknowledged that China is powerful, but that in a world where the trend is towards freedom and democracy, China will have to follow the world trend.

The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, hosted a lunch for His Holiness and he escorted him to the Speakers quarters, passing through the arches, corridors and yards of the Palace of Westminster, greeting parliamentary colleagues on the way. His Holiness said,

“It is indeed a great honour for me to receive such a warm welcome here in Britain which has had historical links with Tibet. Thank you.”

Addressing the All Party Parliamentary Group on Food and Agriculture His Holiness mentioned the importance not only of food for the body, but also of food for the mind. He explained that if our minds are disturbed, material comfort does little to put us at ease, but if we face physical hardship with a calm and peaceful mind we can easily cope and overcome it. He elaborated his concern to find ways to foster a true sense of inner values, secular ethics, appropriate to the twenty-first century and the interdependent world in which we live.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama with Britain's Prince Charles at Clarence House in London, England, on June 20, 2012. Photo/Ian Cumming
From the Houses of Parliament, His Holiness drove to Clarence House to a private meeting with HRH the Prince of Wales, where they had a warm conversation about matters of mutual concern.

Tomorrow, His Holiness will meet members of the Tibetan community in Britain, followed by a meeting with Nepalese and Mongolian Buddhists. After these meetings he will travel to Edinburgh.

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