Dalai Lama Calls For 'Inner Disarmament'

July 27th 2008

The Dalai Lama grins broadly Saturday morning as he welcomes guests to the Benedict Music Tent in Aspen. Thousands came out to hear the spiritual leader discuss everything from China and inner peace to life in Aspen and his temper. (Paul Conrad/The

Aspen, CO, USA, 27 July 2008 (By Charles Agar, The Aspen Times) - Aspenites met the world's most famous "simple Buddhist monk" Saturday. 

The Dalai Lama, who outlined a blueprint to world peace, was greeted by a standing ovation from 2,000 people at the Benedict Music Tent as the keynote speaker of the Aspen Institute's Tibet symposium.

Some 1,700 watched from remote locations.

Neither a living god nor the "demon" of the Chinese press, the Dalai Lama called himself a "simple Buddhist monk." Clad in red robes and a silk scarf that school children decorated with peace signs and sunbursts, he said children just don't care about race, religion or country.

"Their mind is not spoiled yet," he said. "At least in this tent we should forget about our differences."

But His Holiness, who speaks broken English and is assisted by a translator, pronounced "forget" as "f--- it," sending a roar of laughter through the crowd.

"What's wrong?" he asked, repeating "forget" as the laughter built.

It was one of many delightful moments in the Dalai Lama's 90-minute talk, which was broadcast live on Aspen Public Radio, GrassRoots TV 12 and on the Aspen Institute website.

Sitting cross-legged on a soft armchair, the Dalai Lama stressed the interdependence of the planet's six billion people and the importance of finding inner peace.

He had met with a group of Chinese professors before his speech Saturday, and the Dalai Lama directed much of his talk to the men, calling for frank discussions about Tibet and the opening of China's media.

His Holiness, who has lived in exile for nearly 50 years, said Tibet should remain a part of China as long as Tibetan culture and religion is allowed to flourish.

And he supports the Summer Olympics in Beijing.

These are all facts that have been distorted as he has been demonized in China, he said.

"Some Chinese leaders call me a demon in monk's robes. The truth is, I'm a simple Buddhist monk," he said, adding that attempts to demonize him simply draw attention away from the plight of the Tibetan people.

The Dalai Lama called himself a Marxist, an ideology he said protects the needy from exploitation by the elite.

"My brain could be more red than Chinese leaders," he said. And he called China a communist regime governed without communist ideals.

"Now we really need the sense of global responsibility," the Dalai Lama said.

The very concept of war is "outdated," he said, and the notion that we are separated by race, religion or government is nonsense.

"We must look at the entire world as part of yourself," he said. "Destruction of your neighbor is destruction of yourself."

The Dalai Lama called the 20th century a "


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