|The Dalai Lama looks up as he speaks to students, faculty, and guests at Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Florida, Tuesday, February 23, 2010 (AP Photo)|
For his talk, the Dalai Lama used an easy chair on the stage, drawing laughs as he struggled to sit cross-legged. Then the crowd fell silent as he began speaking.
First, he called for schools to teach compassion and responsibility, rather than just facts.
"With too much education, even a brilliant mind can go wrong, to destruction," he said. "Ultimately, inner values are essential."
He compared the relationship of nations to the relationships of people to families and communities.
"In a family, each person carries some of the responsibility," he said. "The human being is basically a social animal. Each person depends on the community."
He said the recent Copenhagen Summit disappointed many observers for failing to do more for the poor. The reason, he said, was that "national interests were more important than global interests."
He decried the "sad reality" of war, which starts from a "strong demarcation between we and they." But he found encouragement in the formation of the European Union, forming a community of nations there. "It is not true spiritual enlightenment, but it's a positive thing."
The Dalai Lama said China deserves to improve its economy and to have a place among more powerful nations. He added that he admired the late Chinese leader Mao Zedong in the early years, but was puzzled by his subsequent aggressive actions in China as well as Tibet.
In a Q&A session, he drew more laughs when he donned a visor that matched his maroon robes. Answering one question, he said his talk with President Obama last week dealt with Tibet and the need to educate its young people.
He praised American news media for guarding democracy and said reporters "should have a long nose, like an elephant." But he did fault the amount of "negativity" in media programming, saying it should be matched by positive content.
The Buddhist leader also said people should be given light but productive work even up to the age of 70. Retirement homes would also benefit by letting the elderly mix more with children, he suggested.
"Inspiring" was the word Ryun McKenzie, a graduate pharmacy student, had for the Dalai Lama's talk. Especially the teaching that people should separate respect for a person from his actions.
"He said lessons that we all know, deep down," said McKenzie, 35. "It's good to hear from somebody so influential."