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"For a happier, more stable and civilized future, each of us must develop a sincere, warm-hearted feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood."

Tibetan Prime Minister Visits Himalayan Institute

July 30, 2008

By Matt Dimler
Wayne Independent
July 28, 2008,

Dyberry Township

DYBERRY TWP. -- On Monday, the Prime Minister of the Tibetan
Government in Exile in Dharmasala, India, Samdhong Rinpoche, visited
the Himalayan Institute, sitting pensively in lotus position on a
small pedestal, and speaking on issues such as happiness and
suffering, nuclear proliferation, economic disparity, pollution, and
religious intolerance. The prime minister, who is right-hand-man to
His Holiness the Dalai Lama, spoke to a crowd of 150 people, as well
as others in two rooms with projection screens.

Rinpoche is currently one of the world's leading scholars on Tibetan
Buddhism.  Since his escape from Tibet in 1959, he has earned respect
as an authority on the teachings of Ghandi, served as vice-chancellor
of Higher Tibetan Studies in India, and was nominated by the
government of India to be a member of the board of the Indian Council
of Philosophical Research.  He is also a fully ordained Buddhist
monk, a doctor of Divinity, and professor of Tantric Studies.

"He spoke profoundly, transposing personal priorities into global
priorities," said Shane Bradley of Dallas, Pa.

Most of the issues he discussed were issues explored in his book,
Uncompromising Truth for a Compromised World: Tibetan Buddhism and
Today's World.  The book is a series of in-depth dialogues discussing
the importance of preserving tradition and heritage and discussing
the role of Buddhism in the age of technology.

"The fly has a consciousness," he said, "...[but] the human being has
the ability to analyze reality, and realize his own unhappiness."  He
went on to say, "It is the separation between [the realization] of
the self and others [that] is the root cause of unhappiness."

Speaking on war and poverty, he commented, "There are people dying of
hunger, or because of a lack of medical facilities, yet billions of
dollars are spent on weapons that can destroy the globe many
times."  However, "All the world's problems can be faced squarely
with Buddhist traditions," he added.

In closing, he reflected on the role of religious intolerance in the
fueling the major international conflicts of the world.  "The phrase
(religious intolerance) doesn't make any sense," he said.  "If you
are religious, you are not intolerant.  If you are intolerant, you
are not religious....Ghandi once said, 'I am a good Hindu; therefore
I am a good Muslim."  He went on to say, "Religions are subject to
each other.  They are not competitors."

Following the talk Rinpoche answered questions submitted by
attendees.  On Tibet's relationship with China, he remarked, "In the
70's people thought it was we opposed communism.  It's not that we're
against communism, or for capitalism.  It's about tradition and heritage."

When asked if he considered the Dalai Lama his "friend," he had this
to say: "If you mean 'friend' in the everyday sense, then no, because
we are not equals.  But, I have been with him for almost 50 years,
and he is very easy to work with, and we are very close."

Ishan Tigunait, who lives at the institute said, "It was fantastic to
hear such a unique perspective on so many timely issues from such an
acclaimed source.  I liked how he presented philosophical themes
woven with wordly concerns."

Matthew Dozart of New Orleans, Louisiana, particularly enjoyed the
question answer session.  "I was enthused how well-thought his answer
was about the Tibetan boycott of the Olympics, he handled it in a
very well-executed manner."

Rinpoche's talk was one stop on a worldwide tour.  Following the tour
he was set to leave for Europe to continue his talks.
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