Feb 23, 2006

Tibet: Dalai Lama Visits Israel

Last week His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama went to Israel where he held a series of informal talks with students, businessmen and others to convey his message of dialogue instead of violence
By Dan Izenberg

Special to The Epoch Times Feb 22, 2006

Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama salutes as he readies to give a press conference in Jerusalem 15 February 2006. (Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images)

His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, paid a four-day visit to Israel last week, calling on all people to apply intelligence, infinite love and compassion in their dealings with their fellow human beings.

Because of the government's fear of antagonizing the Republic of China, the Dalai Lama did not meet with Israeli officials. But during his time here, he held a series of informal talks with students, businessmen and others to convey his message of dialogue instead of violence.

During a press conference attended by dozens of local and foreign journalists in Jerusalem, the Dalai Lama said he had come to promote human values and religious harmony. "I believe we have the potential of warm-heartedness," he said. "I think warm-heartedness has helped us to survive. From childhood after birth, we immediately approach our mother's breast and take milk. And the mother immediately feels immense love for her child. That is the basis of our survival. That is how life begins. The warm-heartedness, the sense of community, of brotherhood and sisterhood, I think by nature, is there."

The Dalai Lama added that these fundamental feelings may become dormant when overshadowed by religious beliefs and political and economic interests which create man-made problems. But if mankind could evoke the rich, underlying, human feelings of warm-heartedness, brotherhood and sisterhood, many of these problems could be reduced.

His second commitment, he continued, was to religious harmony. "If we understand the value of other religions, the values that all religions share, we can develop mutual respect, understanding and admiration," he said.

One reporter asked the Dalai Lama to comment on a scene in a movie about Tibetan refugees in India. In the scene, a Tibetan refugee says her people believe they are suffering because they have not prayed enough, but she believes that are suffering because they have praying too much.

"I am one Buddhist who puts very much emphasis on human intelligence rather than blessings or prayer," responded the Dalai Lama. "I want to tell those people who want some kind of blessing from me that the blessing must come from within them. So, therefore, I myself feel the limitation of prayer. Action is more important than prayer."

The Dalai Lama went on to say that there wereTibetans inside and outside Tibet that criticized his attitude towards China. He said he wanted autonomy for his country but not independence and separation from China. It was in Tibet's material interests to be part of China, he said. On the other hand, because of the different cultures and environments of the two countries, Tibet required autonomy.

The Dalai Lama said that he had found many errors in the conduct of the Chinese Communist governments since the Chinese Republic was established in 1949. For example, during the first three decades, the government put the main emphasis on ideology. Then, in the 1980s and 1990s, it made new errors by switching the emphasis to a liberal economy, creating a new caste of rich families. As a whole, he continued, Communist governments such as the ones in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe were totalitarian and ruled by terror and fear. He said he had received many Chinese visitors who told him that today, in China, one must show two faces – "one, according to the official [government] line, the other according to the deep feelings each one holds inside."

The Dalai Lama said that relations between the Tibetan people and the Chinese government have known many ups and downs since the Tibetan refugee problem began in 1959. Today, however, relations seem cordial. Since 2002, leaders of the two sides have met five times to resolve the dispute over Tibet's political status.

He also had some advice for Israeli and Palestinian leaders. "I want to take this opportunity to appeal to concerned people," said the Dalai Lama. "You will not find any satisfactory solution through violence. In the long run, more violence will only complicate the situation and both sides will feel more hatred and anger. Therefore, I think the time has come now to try to find a solution through dialogue, on the basis of mutual respect. Israel must respect Palestinian rights and the Palestinian side must accept the new reality. The time has come to think and explore more along those lines."

Source: The Epoch Times