His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Los Angeles - 21 February 2010

February 21st 2010

His Holiness started the day at 8:45am with private audiences to the board members and staff of the Whole Child International. Then he departed for a private house in Beverly Hills where an exclusive interview with Larry King of CNN was set up. Before the interview, His Holiness held a brief informal Q&A session with sponsors of Whole Child International. There were around sixteen people including Cher and Chris Rock.

They asked His Holiness’s opinions topics ranging from leadership ethics to childcare to cultivation of inner peace. In his answers, His Holiness stressed that not just money but values such as freedom and free information were very important. He said, “In order to utilize human creativity properly, you need free information without censorship or restriction.”

At 10am, His Holiness started his forty-five minute interview with Larry King. Larry King started off by asking about His Holiness’s meeting with President Obama and asked what His Holiness wanted from Obama. His Holiness answered that he mentioned his three main commitments: promotion of human values, promotion of religious harmony and the Tibetan issue. He said he requested President Obama to urge the Chinese government for dialogue and contact with the Tibetans, and requested help, such as scholarships, for Tibetans in refugee communities as well as Tibetans in Tibet.

Larry King asked His Holiness if America could maintain good relations with China while at the same time supporting Tibetan independence. His Holiness answered that there was no contradiction in keeping good relations with China and supporting Tibet because they were not seeking independence but a genuine autonomy. Our concern is basic rights for the six million Tibetans inside Tibet, he said. He continued, “Every Tibetan wants a modernized Tibet” and to remain part of China can ensure this. He called his approach the Middle Way approach and stressed, “Our approach is in the best interest of China.”

In the afternoon, His Holiness held several private audiences and then departed the hotel to give a public talk on Cultivating Compassion and Needs of Vulnerable Children at Gibson Amphitheater, Universal City. The talk was organized by Whole Child International, and focused on cultivating compassion and inner peace. Sheryl Crow sang three songs and then His Holiness came on stage. His Holiness started off by saying that the 20th century was a crucial century for human history. In the 20th century, people created wonderful technology and human society became very advanced in some ways but on the other hand, over 200 million people were killed in this century. “In ancient times,” His Holiness said, “destruction of your enemy meant victory for yourself.” Now it’s different; the destruction of your enemy is the destruction of yourself. His Holiness stated that therefore disarmament was very important. He made a distinction between two types of disarmament: external and internal. He said, “Without internal disarmament, change is not lasting. Therefore, cultivate compassion.”

His Holiness particularly emphasized the role of education in developing compassion so that intellectual development is concurrent with moral development. He urged that children should be taught the value of compassion when they are small. He said that Tibetan parents teach their children not to kill insects and the children grow up to value all life. If children do not value insect life, that can be a slippery slope to devaluing all life.

He also pointed out that compassion reduces blood pressure, tension and stress, and induces sound sleep and good digestion. His Holiness said, “The real healing power is compassion.”

During the Q&A session, His Holiness was asked how parents should teach privileged children to understand how lucky they are. His Holiness remarked that there is a question of how to introduce the value of compassion in a modern education system, and a pressing need to teach values in a secular way to children from kindergarten to university.

His Holiness was also asked if he planned on going back to Tibet. His Holiness said there was “always a desire to return,” but the Chinese leadership, which slanders him and calls him an enemy, would have a hard time justifying to its citizens why His Holiness was let inside the country. So His Holiness said he was trying to improve his relationship with the Chinese government. He reiterated that the issue of Tibet is not a Dalai Lama issue, but the issue of the Tibetan people.

The public talk started at 2pm and ended at close to 4pm. It was attended by almost 6000 people. Tomorrow His Holiness travels to Florida where he will give two public talks.


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