Sydney, Australia, 2 December 2009 (ATC) - A busy third day in Australia saw His Holiness prioritising the promotion of Han-Tibetan friendship, using the breaks in his teaching schedule to meet at length with members of the Chinese community.
In the morning His Holiness met with seventy members of the Chinese Liberal Culture Movement. In his address His Holiness commented that while China is making immense economic progress, to obtain the support and respect of the international community it must become more transparent. Praising China's rich culture and heritage, His Holiness also remarked that economic development alone will not bring peace; for that we also need a culture of compassion. The meeting was organized by Prof. Yuan Hongbing.
During a lunchtime meeting with Sydney's Vietnamese community, His Holiness commented on the peculiarity of their coming together in neither Tibet nor Vietnam but outside of each other's homelands. Continuing the theme, His Holiness spoke of the positives that may come from adversity and how being forced from Tibet had led him to travel to many countries and to meet and learn from people of many different nations.
Speaking as a Buddhist, His Holiness encouraged the Vietnamese community to preserve and nurture their own Buddhist culture.
Immediately following his meeting with the Vietnamese community His Holiness addressed a packed room of over 300 local Chinese citizens. While conceding that the purpose of his visit is primarily religious, His Holiness discussed at length the political situation in China and future prospects for the Tibetan and Chinese people. His Holiness said he believed that everybody should have free and unfettered access to information and the right to express their views. He said he was broadly optimistic about China's future and saw the inevitability of democratisation and other positive changes, but that this may take some time.
His Holiness reiterated his message of responsibility, explaining that as individuals we are all responsible for shaping the future. Reflecting on the many conflicts of the past century His Holiness emphasized the need for a century characterised not by conflict but by dialogue and reconciliation.
The meeting was organized by Chin Jin of the Federation for a Democratic China, a long-time friend of Tibet and pioneer of efforts to bring together Chinese Democrats with Tibetan exiles.
The afternoon teaching session began with a traditional music and dance performance from the Sydney Tibetan community. The performance was representative of strong and ongoing efforts by Australia's Tibetan community to teach and preserve traditional Tibetan arts, language and culture in exile.
Before returning to the text His Holiness answered a number of questions, both on matters relating to the teaching and on more general issues. Asked to describe his typical day, His Holiness gave a thorough description of his daily routine, describing the many hours of meditation and Buddhist practice that he undertakes in addition to fulfilling his official duties. Asked about overcoming negative karma, His Holiness cited the story of Milarepa to explain how it is possible to overcome the demerit of past deeds and live a meaningful and virtuous life.
The Australian visit continues tomorrow with His Holiness taking part in the 'Science of Mind Forum' at the 'Mind and its Potential' Conference. His Holiness will appear alongside world-renowned psychologists Dr. Martin Seligman, Prof. Marc Hauser and B. Allan Wallace.
Report filed by Simon Bradshaw for Australia Tibet Council, Photographs courtesy of Rusty Williams