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"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?"

The Dalai Lama Proclaims Himself a Feminist

September 24, 2009

September 23, 2009

The Dalai Lama smiled mischievously and said, "I call myself a feminist.
Isn't that what you call someone who fights for women's rights?" The comment
was made during his International Freedom Award acceptance speech, which was
presented to him by the National Civil Rights Museum.

His Holiness' message is always one of compassion, harmony,
warm-heartedness, inner peace and civil rights. During the awards ceremony,
which took place in the Peabody Hotel ballroom, he said women are by nature
more compassionate because of their biology and ability to nurture and birth
children. He therefore called on all women to lead and create a more
compassionate world, citing the good works of nurses and mothers.
Interestingly enough, there are feminist groups who would claim this kind of
biological stance has lead to discrimination against women in the workplace.
The Dalai Lama went on to add with his infamous sense of humor that "some
feminists have too much emotion, that I don't like." Again, there are some
feminist groups that would certainly agree with him on that point as well.
(I would love everyone's comment on this subject!)

Following the Freedom Award's luncheon, the Dalai Lama gave a public speech
on "Developing Peace and Harmony" at Memphis' Cannon Center, one of many
events sponsored by the Missing Peace Project.

Many see the Dalai Lama as youngsters may see the Wizard of Oz before
lifting the curtain - a fact the Dalai Lama himself addressed. He said some
people come to hear him speak out of curiosity, some think he has some kind
of miracle power or ability to heal the sick, some think he will bestow a
wise and important message. "I have nothing to say that is that special," he
said with a laugh. As far as healing power, he said, it's "nonsense." In
fact he had complicated surgery last year to remove his gallbladder, which
he proclaimed, "Is proof I have no healing power!"

The Dalai Lama's powerful message is common sense. He does not preach
religion. "Whether you believe this religion or that religion, we are all
the same human beings." He preaches self-awareness and compassion. In broken
English he said, "We need to work together. We need to protect the planet.
With fear, harmony is impossible. We need trust. Trust is the basis of
compassion. Distrust brings fear. Fear brings violence. Fear brings
loneliness and depression. We all come from the same place. We are all
brothers and sisters."

This year marks the 50th anniversary since the Dalai Lama was forced to flee
Tibet under China's takeover and form a government in exile in India.

When asked if China and the exiled Tibetan government will ever reach a
peaceful understanding, the Dalai Lama became quiet for a moment. "The
Chinese and the Tibetans, we are the same human beings...our faith in the
Chinese people was never shaken...We need more patience, determination. The
Tibetan spirit (in Tibet) among the young is strong. The problem is
(Chinese) government censorship and misinformation."

Grammy winner Natalie Cole was on hand to introduce his Holiness prior to
the public speech. "Deep down inside us, all we want is inner peace," she
said. Cole is set to give a headlining performance during the Missing Peace
Concert honoring the Dalai Lama, which will also feature the Memphis
Symphony, Tibetan musicians, and special guests singer songwriter Matt
Nathanson and country artist Joe Nicols.

Rebekah Alperin, who produced the Missing Peace Concert along with Chantel
Sausedo, and Missing Peace Project founder Darlene Markovich, organized the
Dalai Lama's visit to Memphis. Alperin and Sausedo are also working on a
worldwide documentary capturing the Dalia Lama's mission of peace, which
will be released in 2010.

"We all come from the same mother," the Dalai Lama said. "That creates the
basis for compassion."
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