His Holiness talks on non-violence and interfaith collaborations in Loyola University

April 27th 2012

Chicago Illinois, USA, 26 April 2012 - On his last day in Chicago during this on April 26th, His Holiness first went to the chapel of Loyola University to address the Tibetan community. Around 500 Tibetans from Chicago, Madison, Bloomington, and Minneapolis area had gathered.  On his arrival there he was received by officials of Loyola University, Tashi Tsering Phuri of the Tibet Center, Lhakpa Tsering, President of Tibetan Alliance of Chicago, while a select group of children and members of the community sang a welcome song and two children (a boy and a girl) made the Droso Chemar offering

As His Holiness assumed his seat on the stage, a group of children sang a song in praise of him. His Holiness asked that Kalon Tripa Lobsang Sangay share the stage with him.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama is greeted by song on his arrival to meet with the Tibetan community at the Loyola University Chapel in Chicago on April 26, 2012.
Pho
to/Mark Beane/Loyola University Chicago
His Holiness stressed on the importance of the Tibetan people to preserve their identity.  He said this is particularly important where the Tibetans have to be representative of their people. He talked about the need for the younger generation of Tibetans to know their language. He added that without understanding the language it would be very difficult for the people to really understand their heritage (even though they could read about the same in translation). Therefore, he advised the parents to converse with their children in Tibetan at home and not take the easy way out by speaking in English, for example.

His Holiness then talked about the development in the devolution of authorities to the elected Kalon Tripa.  He said that ever since his childhood, he had witnessed drawbacks in the Tibetan administrative system.  His Holiness said although his officials would not give him the reality of the situation, it was his sweepers in both Norbu Lingka and Potala who used to convey to him about the real developments relating to the Regent or the officials.

Soon after he had assumed temporal authority in 1951 His Holiness had to leave for Dromo. After his return, in 1952, His Holiness said he had started a reform process however on account of the attitude of the Chinese officials who were in Lhasa then his effort could not progress. The Chinese wanted the changes to take place the way they wanted.

After arriving in Mussoorie in April 1959 he was able to reorganize the administrative system, including establishment of new departments like that of education. Then in 1960, the democratic institution began to take shape following a meeting in Bodh Gaya. In 2001 we had the direct election of the Kalon Tripa and following the two terms of Samdhong Rinpoche, His Holiness said the enthusiasm of the Tibetan people in the election process made him decide that he should go for the devolution of his political authority to the new Kalon Tripa and have complete retirement.  His Holiness referred to Kalon Tripa Lobsang Sangay, who was educated in India and later in Harvard, as a symbol of the new generation taking over from the previous generation.  His Holiness spoke about his devolution of authority as the ending of the nearly 400 year old institution of Gaden Phodrang established by the Fifth Dalai Lama.

His Holiness clarified that this development did not mean that he had become demoralized. Nor did it mean the ending of the Tibetan Administration. In fact, His Holiness this had been done to strengthen the administration.  His Holiness said both the Kalon Tripa and the Speaker were aware of the development surrounding this issue.

His Holiness talked about the inaugural ceremony of the new Kalon Tripa as a moving one.  He said when he was 16 he had taken over the political authority from Sikyong Taktra. At age 76, His Holiness said he was happy to be handing over that authority to Sikyong Lobsang Sangay. Taktra was a lama while Lobsang Sangay is not, His Holiness added. Similarly, he said Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche had handed over the Official Seal of the Kashag made by the seventh Dalai Lama Kelsang Gyatso to the new Kalon Tripa. 

Encouraging the Tibetan people to be proud of their heritage and identity, His Holiness talked about visiting China in 1954-55 during which he spent a few days in the former Chinese capital Xian. While there an official who accompanied His Holiness told him how Tibetan troops had reached till that town and how the then Chinese emperor had to flee his capital.  This showed the strength of the Tibetan army then, he said.  His Holiness also talked of the richness of the Tibetan religious culture and how the people should make an effort to really study it. He aid this would be greatly beneficial. He concluded by advising the people to avoid social ills like gambling, using of drugs, etc.

His Holiness then left for the Gentile Arena of Loyola University to give a public talk on non-violence, hosted by Tibet Center.

His Holiness and the public were first informed about the three winners of an essay contest held among students in schools in Illinois on the topic “How can an attitude of non-violence counteract the prevalence of violence in our families, in our communities and in international relations; and how can we as individuals cultivate and promote such an attitude?” The winners, selected from entries submitted by 109 Illinois students, were Passang Gonrong, Megan Buttermore and Gavin Sullivan.  They read their winning essays before His Holiness.  . The Principals of the high schools of the three winning contestants were also presented with a key to the TIBET INFORMATION BOX, which includes abundant materials on Tibet and H.H. the Dalai Lama for use by teachers.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his talk at Loyola University in Chicago on April 26, 2012. Photo/Reuters
Thereafter actor and social activist Sean Penn introduced His Holiness the Dalai Lama.  He spoke about His Holiness’ contribution in the field of non-violence, peaceful resolution of conflicts, etc. and how he could be a unifying force as seen during the 2007 congressional gold medal award ceremony to His Holiness when the American leaders from both the parties had spoken in a united voice in uncharacteristic harmony.

His Holiness began his remarks by expressing his admiration at the quality of the winning essays. Looking at the contest winners seated at the side of the stage, His Holiness said that they truly belonged to the 21st century. He said there is no guarantee about the future but at the same time the future is open and how it could be shaped depended on the present. He said, therefore, the younger generation needed to prepare with vision and research on how to reach their goals.

He talked about the need to see the reality from all angles in order to have realistic goals.

His Holiness non-violence does not mean mere absence of violence saying that the demarcation between the two depends on the motivation.   He said non-violence could be an act of compassion and developing a sense of concern.

He said that being social animal, we are all dependent on the rest of the community for survival, irrespective of whether rich or powerful.  His Holiness emphasized the need for cultivating compassion through common experience from using common sense and by looking at the latest scientific findings.

His Holiness said much of the conflicts in the world arise on account of misplaced emphasis on the secondary level of identity while neglecting the basic oneness of humanity.  He also said that modern education system only laid emphasis on external material development and said there was the need to promote inner values. He said along with scientists and social workers there was an effort to introduce moral, compassionate values into the modern education system, right from KG to university level. He added that going the religious way to promote such values will not have universal appeal as no one religion is universal.  He referred to his new book Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World wherein he had expanded on a secularapproach to promote inner values.

His Holiness talked about research being done in universities in India and the United States, etc. on the issue.

His Holiness said he was optimistic that within this century there can be a positive change in the world.  He said beginning at the individual level, effort can be made to promote world peace so that this is expanded to the family, community, national and international levels.

Before the Q&A began, as per tradition established by His Holiness about financial transparency relating to events connected with him, the organizers said their total income, including from ticket sales, donation, and sales was around $ 345,000 and after excluding the expenses they projected a surplus of $200,000. This amount will be disbursed to 14 projects identified by the TIBETcenter (and listed on its website).

During the Q&A, His Holiness responded to queries about dealing with young children who show tendencies for violence to how to make people that we can make a change.

Following lunch, His Holiness made some brief remarks to attendees of a luncheon by the organizers. He expanded on the significance of inner values and about the Tibet Center doing good service in preservation of the Tibetan identity.


In the afternoon, Loyola University organized a public talk on Interfaith Collaboration.  The program began with welcome remarks by University President Rev. Michael Garanzini.

Loyola University Chicago, a private university founded in 1870 as St. Ignatius College, is America’s largest Jesuit, Catholic University. Thereafter, students from a variety of registered student faith groups on campus, representing Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism offered brief prayers.

Following this Dean Frank Fennell of the College of Arts and Sciences of Loyola University was invited to join Father Garanzini in presenting an honorary degree to His Holiness for his life-long devotion to global peace and non-violence.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama is presented with an honorary degree from Loyola University in Chicago on April 26, 2012. Photo/Reuters
In his address, His Holiness thanked the University for the honorary degree saying he looked at it as recognition of his small contribution in the fields of promotion of human values and religious harmony.  He then expanded on his two commitments showing the importance for promoting secular ethics. Irrespective of whether one is a believer or not, we all need moral principles, His Holiness said.  Concerning religious harmony, His Holiness gave the example of his interaction with a Spanish Christian monk in Barcelona who had spent five years as a hermit. When asked what he was doing during the five years, this monk had responded to His Holiness that he was meditating on love. His Holiness said though different religions have different philosophies they all have the same practice.

His Holiness said people should learn to respect all religions while having faith in one’s own religion. He referred to Pope John Paul II’s pluralistic approach as revealed by the Assisi summit of world religions that he had convened.


His Holiness said the concept of one truth, one religion could be useful in the case of an individual but that for the society as a whole respect needed to be shown to all the religions.


Thereafter, His Holiness answered questions from some of the students. These touched upon ways to promote interfaith collaboration and his views on globalization.  His Holiness gave his experience in interfaith collaboration through discussions with scholars, discussion with practitioners, summit of religious leaders and cooperating with different religions.


His Holiness left for the airport after the talk at Loyola University arriving in Ottawa, Canada, later in the evening for the last leg of his current trip to the United States and Canada.  Kalon Tripa Lobsang Sangay accompanied His Holiness on this trip. On his arrival at Ottawa, His Holiness was received by Senator Consiglio Di Nino of Canada, Mr. Thomas Mann, Chairman of the Tibet Inter Group in the European Parliament Matteo Mecacci, President Italian Parliamentary Inter-Group for Tibet, who are in the working group of the International Network of Parliamentarians on Tibet, a representative of the Embassy of India in Canada, and Mr. Tenzin D.Khangsar, Chief of Staff to the President of the Treasury Board of Canada.


On his arrival at the hotel, Speaker Penpa Tsering, Deputy Speaker Sonam Tenphel, Kalon Dicki Chhoyang, parliamentarians and representatives of Offices of Tibet as well as other participants of the 6th World Parliamentarians Convention on Tibet. In Ottawa, His Holiness will be addressing the 6th World Parliamentarians’ Convention on Tibet (WPCT), being organized jointly by International Network of Parliamentarians on Tibet (INPat), Parliamentary Friends of Tibet, Canada and the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile.

 

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