Dalai Lama Urges City's Residents to 'Look Forward'

June 8th 2011

Christchurch, New Zealand, 8 June 2011 (By Sam Sachdeva, The Press) - The Dalai Lama has told earthquake-hit Christchurch residents to stay positive.

The Tibetan spiritual leader arrived in Christchurch yesterday for a two-day visit before an Australian tour.

The visit was requested by the Dalai Lama, who sent a letter of condolence to Prime Minister John Key after the February 22 quake.

Christchurch residents needed to "look forward" instead of dwelling on what they had lost, he said.

"At this moment, now we must look forward. Instead of sad, sad, look forward and overcome. Rebuild your home, your town."

More than 50 people took photos and offered white scarves for blessings as the Dalai Lama made his way through Christchurch Airport.

Some people were in tears as he walked past.

Lobsang Namgyal said he and his family had travelled from Whangarei to see the Dalai Lama.
"We're very excited, very very happy to see him ... he is a most precious person."

Rosie Thompson said she felt "weak at the knees" after seeing the Dalai Lama.

"He has a wonderful way of getting people to understand their sorrow and their problems," she said. "There's so much [sorrow] around us, sometimes you think it's unending, but if people can come along, I hope his talk will give them some real meaning in their lives."

Linda Goodwin said the visit was "a huge blessing" for the city.

"He brings a good message about kindness, compassion, and living with your heart, and those are the three things that we need at this moment."

The Dalai Lama will speak at a free event at CBS Canterbury Arena at noon today, before visiting quake victims and emergency staff at Christchurch Hospital. About 10 families of quake victims are expected to attend the public event.

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