Join our Mailing List

"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

His Holiness Addresses New York State Senate Session, Public Talk in Albany

May 8, 2009

Thursday, 7 May 2009, 9:28 a.m.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to the New York State Senate in
Albany on Wednesday/Photo credit:Nathaniel Brooks for The New York Time
Albany, N.Y.: His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Wednesday gave an interview
to Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria for his program Fareed
Zakaria GPS on CNN.

Prior to the formal interview, Mr. Zakaria informed His Holiness about
his father, Rafiq Zakaria, who was the Indian head of mission to the
United Nations in New York in 1965 when the UN General Assembly passed
its third resolution on Tibet. During the nearly hour-long interview His
Holiness responded to questions ranging from his daily schedule, the
situation in Tibet, his view on the possibility of violence in Tibet,
the current state of the dialogue process with the Chinese leadership
and his response to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's statement on Tibet
during an interview to Fareed Zakaria in September 2008. This interview
will be aired on Sunday, 10 May.

His Holiness then departed for Albany, the capital of New York state,
around half-an hour plane ride away.  On his arrival in Albany, His
Holiness drove directly to the State Senate chamber where he was
received by Senate Majority leader Malcolm A. Smith. His Holiness was
then led into the Senate Chamber where both the Majority leader as well
as  Minority leader Dean Skelos welcomed him.  His Holiness bestowed
invocation to open the Senate's session for the day.

In his brief address to the senators, His Holiness said, "I am very very
happy to come here" and felt honoured. He said that he was pleased to be
there "to show my deep respect to American values" of liberty, justice,
democracy, freedom. He said these are your true values and expressed his
respect and admiration.  His Holiness said that although he had visited
New York city a number of times, this was his first visit to Albany.

 The State Senate majority leader, Malcolm A. Smith, left, escorted His
Holiness the Dalai Lama to the Senate chamber, where the Dalai Lama
briefly addressed lawmakers/Photo credit:Nathaniel Brooks for The New
York Time
Looking at the Chamber's seating pattern showing the Republicans being a
minority, His Holiness joked saying, "My natural feelings is to side
with the minority and so my sympathy will be more to the Republican
side." This was followed by much laughter in the Chamber.

Returning back to a serious note, His Holiness said that the Senate
"really demonstrates American democratic system, its adherence to the
rule of law as also complete freedom of press." He said these are really
American power adding that it is really good that a superpower has such

His Holiness said that all human activities, including religious
teachings or any politics, ultimately depend on individual motivation.
He said even if there is a good system if the motivation of the
individual is not proper, then there may not be much of a success. His
Holiness emphasised the importance of honesty and truthfulness which 
are very much connected with compassion. He said compassion is the prime
mover of our activities. His Holiness added that he had firm conviction
that a compassionate mind brings honesty, truthfulness, openness, which
bring about positive atmosphere in one's own family or within the
community. His Holiness also said that nowadays we are facing terrorism
and that ultimately answer for this must come from compassion.

His Holiness said that even at the individual level, compassion was
beneficial for individual health. He said that medical scientists have
confirmed that a compassionate mind is very essential for health as it
brings us inner strength, more self confidence and inner peace of mind,
which are extremely useful for our health.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama (2nd L) gives a public talk at Palace
Theatre in Albany on 6 May 2009/Photo:OHHDL
Before ending, His Holiness cracked another joke by saying that as he
was entering the chamber he was given a seat in the center, which he
thought meant he was elected to some position. He said he then thought
whether he should join the Democratic Party or the Republican Party or
to start a new party, which is challenging to both the parties. As His
Holiness concluded his remarks, the entire Senate gave a standing ovation.

There were 62 senators and over a 100 staff and observers.

Soon after His Holiness left the Senate Chamber, a resolution was passed
acknowledging his life time commitments and profound contribution to the

A press briefing was held in the afternoon. In his brief opening remark
His Holiness emphasised that the perception and "we" and "they" has
become almost redundant today with the world was becoming closer. For
instance the ecology problem affects the entire humanity and so does the
economic crisis. His Holiness said that keeping in view the past
experiences, we should find ways and means to solve human problems in a
non-violent manner. His Holiness also responded to questions about his
view on President Barack Obama. He was positive and referred to his
policy regarding Iran, I think it's very good. "A local newspaper quoted
His Holiness as saying that what he admires
about the United States is not the power it can wield but the beliefs
upon which it was founded." "I admire your ancestors' principle;
democracy, liberty, freedom, a completely independent judiciary. These
things are wonderful," he said. "I feel it is important, U.S. policy
must carry with these principles."

Thereafter, His Holiness met with leaders and staff of World Ethical
Foundation Consortium, the host of the Albany event.  He informed them
that despite criticism he visited Albany because he supports anyone who
works to promote ethics in this world.  They should work honestly and
transparently, His Holiness said, adding that they should work to clear
allegations if they are baseless.  If they have made mistakes in the
past - admit and apologise, he said.


The afternoon's public talk was held in the Palace Theatre and was
attended by 2800 people.  His Holiness was introduced by Albany Mayor
Jerry Jennings.  Following were the main points that His Holiness
touched upon in his talks.

The human being are much more intelligent than other beings. By nature
we are compassionate.  We all survive with mother's care.  Those who
have received affectionate care from parents have greater ability to
help others and their mental state is also calmer.  If lacking that
affection or worse case abuse from nearest persons, then these persons
have less feeling for other's pain.  They usually have feelings of
insecurity, fear and distrust.

If a person is filled with insecurity and fear, even a small problem can
disturb the mind strongly.  On the contrary more calm and compassionate
people can develop their immune system.

His Holiness said compassion is not a religious matter but universal
value. Inner values are immensely beneficial to oneself and others.

In answer to a question of his postponement of the visit to Albany
earlier, His Holiness explained that he has moral responsibility to
support any person who carryout works on promotion of ethics.  He called
for thorough investigations into the allegations against the
organization that was hosting his visit.

His Holiness departs Albany for India on 7 May.

--Report filed by Bhuchung K Tsering of ICT
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665
Developed by plank