Dalai Lama plays 'Yeti' among Sheep and Yaks in Vancouver

September 11th 2006

Vancouver, Canada 11 September 2006 (Glenda Luymes / CP) - The Dalai Lama met with corporate and social leaders or, as he called them, the sheep and the yaks in Vancouver Sunday. The gathering was the last event in the Buddhist leader's three-day visit to the city, during which he opened an education centre in his name. More than 120 people from around the world attended the conference, titled Connecting for Change, including former prime minister Kim Campbell and wheelchair athlete Rick Hansen.

The event was aimed at bringing together two groups ''that don't always see eye-to-eye,'' said facilitator Charles Holmes.

''Like the Dalai Lama said, sometimes the sheep and the yaks need to come together and work together.... We're exploring how two different groups can work together to make a positive difference.''

Sunday, selected guests asked the Dalai Lama questions on global and social issues.

Although the topics varied, he often came back to his central message of ''You cannot separate ethics from its foundation compassion and empathy,'' the Dalai Lama said through a translator in answer to a question about business ethics.

He joked with the participants, once calling himself the ''yeti'' among the sheep and the yaks.

Rick Hansen was hopeful the seeds sown in the dialogue would bear fruit in years to come.

''The Dalai Lama is such an amazing gentleman,'' he said.

''He has a lot of wisdom, a lot of global experience, and we can all learn from him.

''We (corporate and social leaders) share common values, but today we're looking for common objectives,'' Hansen said.

''This is good for the social sector, because we can't do it alone. But it's also good for the business sector, because they can't do it alone, either.''

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