A Day of Meetings and Talks in London

June 20th 2012

London, England, 19 June 2012 - As His Holiness received Burmese leader and fellow Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, who had come to visit him privately this morning, he told her,  “I have real admiration for your courage. I am very happy we’ve been able to meet”

After more than half an hour’s close conversation, during which His Holiness told her that just as her late father had shown great dedication, he was confident that she too would be of great service to humanity, he wished her every success in fulfilling her life’s goals. He also said he looked forward to meeting her again.
               
A short drive through London’s sunlit streets brought His Holiness to the University of Westminster where he had been invited to give the CR Parekh Lecture on the Values of Democracy and Tibet. He began,

“The twenty-first century is still young, there are almost 90 years to go, so we still have an opportunity to work to create a new, better world.”

“Look at India and China, both have huge populations, but the difference is that India is a democracy with a functioning judiciary, a country where there is freedom of speech and a free press. Meanwhile, the Chinese communist party are so concerned about the disintegration of their country that they forcefully restrict the unique aspects of minority groups. I recommend Chinese I meet to look at pluralistic India and learn from it.”   


His Holiness the Dalai Lama delivering the CR Parekh Lecture on the Values of Democracy and Tibet at the University of Westminster in London, England, on June 19, 2012.
Photo/Ian Cumming

His Holiness asserted that, just as America belongs to its 300 or so million citizens, not to either the Republican or Democratic parties, and China belongs to its 1.3 billion people not to the Communist Party, the world belongs to the 7 billion people who live here. He said democracy is the best way for a country to be ruled by its people for its people. For one thing, leaders who are elected are necessarily accountable. In this context he said, the 1.3 billion Chinese people have a right to know the reality of their situation and, on that basis, have the ability to know right from wrong and take their own decisions. However, he quoted a friend who had observed that in New Zealand, a country of only 3 million, power is in the hands of all the people, whereas in China with its population of 1.3 billion, power is in the hand of only nine men.

Addressing representatives of NGOs and Tibet Support Groups shortly afterwards, he was asked whether it was better to support the preservation of Tibetan culture or to take up political issues. He asked in return what is the main factor that has kept the Tibetan spirit alive and suggested that it was Tibetan Buddhist Culture.
 

Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile Penpa Tsering (L) and His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to representatives of NGOs and Tibet Support Groups at the University of Westminster in London, England, on June 19, 2012. Photo/Jeremy Russell/OHHDL
He also made the interesting point that the Tibetan exile administration has referred to the Three Provinces of Tibet since they were in the transit camp at Misamari in Assam in 1959. The term Greater Tibet that seems to so enrage the Chinese is in fact a Chinese invention. He said that to recognise only the so called Tibet Autonomous Region as Tibet would mean that he, the Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile, who was sitting next to him, and several others in the room would no longer count as Tibetans. Moreover, the entire 6 million Tibetan people participate in and employ Tibetan literature and its language. He expressed his appreciation of the work Tibet Support Groups and allied NGOs do and requested them to continue.

After lunch His Holiness gave an interview to the BBC’s Andrew Marr in the course of which they discussed the history and future of the lineage of Dalai Lamas, His Holiness’s meetings with Chairman Mao Zedong, whether he might have worked more effectively for Tibet if he hadn’t escaped and the implications of the present spate of self-immolations in Tibet.

At the Royal Albert Hall, nearly 6000 people gave His Holiness a rousing welcome. He responded,

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at Royal Albert Hall during his talk "Real Change Happens in the Heart" in London, England, on June 19, 2012. Photo/Ian Cumming
“Brothers and sisters, I am happy to be here again in this magnificent hall and to have this opportunity to speak to you about our need to pay more attention to our inner values, which depend on such basic human qualities as warm-heartedness.”

As an example of the harm that can be done when human intelligence is not guided by a warm heart or moral principles His Holiness cited the shocking attacks of September 11th 2001. The planning was careful and intelligent, but guided by hatred and anger, and no positive motive at all, was immensely destructive. The emergence of nuclear weapons from the science investigating nuclear energy was similarly a consequence of great intelligence without any moral beacon. On the other hand, His Holiness feels there is ground for hope that the future may be happier and more peaceful, because towards the end of the twentieth century, a century he refers to as an era of bloodshed, many people had begun to realise that material comfort alone does not bring inner peace. What we require is warm-heartedness, self-discipline and moral principles. He also observed,


Royal Albert Hall, venue for His Holiness the Dalai Lama's talk "Real Change Happens in the Heart"  in London, England, on June 19, 2012. Photo/Ian Cumming
“Several hundred thousand years ago people were more or less equal but had no education and little need for leadership. As circumstances came about that gave rise to a need for leaders, physical strength was the deciding factor and so men became dominant. However, at the present time, when education has brought more equality, we require leaders who are more sensitive to human needs and concern for others, qualities for which women seem biologically better equipped. Therefore we need women to take up more positions of responsibility and leadership.”

Asked what is the one thing that we can do to contribute to a better world, His Holiness replied,

“When I wake in the morning at 3am or 3.30, I make a wish to be useful to others. Bearing in mind that all human beings are the same in wanting and having a right to happiness, if you must be selfish, be wisely selfish not foolishly selfish, help others if you can and at least avoid doing them harm.”


His Holiness the Dalai Lama with Ed Milliband, Leader of the Opposition in the British Parliament, during their meeting in London, England, on June 19, 2012. Photo/Jeremy Russell/OHHDL
At the end of the afternoon, His Holiness met Labour Party Leader and Leader of the Opposition the Rt Hon Ed Milliband and his Shadow Foreign Secretary, Douglas Alexander, with whom he had a warm conversation about matters of mutual concern.

Tomorrow, His Holiness will speak at the London School of Economics about Resisting Intolerance: an Ethical and Global Challenge, will attend an inter-religious gathering at Westminster Abbey and meet with Parliamentarians at the Palace of Westminster.
 

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