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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Meeting the Dalai Lama in Poland

October 20, 2009

Anna Ferensowicz
The Aquinian
October 16, 2009

Summer in Warsaw is always beautiful.

There is the old town, a wonderful labyrinth with
its cobblestone streets and endless throngs of
amber stores. There’s the Royal Castle that has
tapestries as big as any modern house. There are
the cafes, the music festivals, the gardens and the midnight outings.

There are the ancient villas, with cheerful
cherubs and gargoyles perched on their roofs
looking out over the city. There are the churches
and cathedrals adorned with gold and silver.

It was the place where generations of people
fought for their right to a free Poland.

It is a city that remembers the wars and uprisings.

Today, Warsaw is a combination of history, tradition and modernity.

Amidst this ambiance, His Holiness the 14th Dalia
Lama, Tenzin Gyatso of Tibet, came to Warsaw.

Although Tibet and Poland are on different
continents, both peoples understand each other
better, given their history and struggles for freedom.

While Tibet still fights for freedom from its
communist oppressor, Poland led the downfall of communism in 1989.

Both nations exemplify the constant resistance of peoples against oppression.

The Dalai Lama is an icon in both Tibet and
Poland, for he understands and values the painful
memories, struggles and lost lives of those who
stood up not just for freedom, but for morals as well.

July 28, 2009 marked the Dalai Lama’s fourth visit to Poland.

He lectured at the University of Warsaw on a
universal responsibility and the advantages of a university education.

The Dalai Lama also received an honorary diploma
from this prestigious university, as he was made an honorary citizen of Warsaw.

The Rector of the University of Warsaw, Katarzyna
Cha?asin'ska-Macukow, said the Dalai Lama’s
philosophy has always been that of “peace and reverence for all things living.”

The Dalai Lama’s words were calm and more
powerful than any acts or rhetoric we hear. He
came armed with complex questions and powerful
but simple answers, which we can all draw wisdom from.

The Dalai Lama tackled the forever unanswered and
forever debated questions that are at the core of
our existence and much of our conflict: the
purpose of life, the role of education and the
role of the media in our society.

He asked what the purpose of life is. While we
may all have different concepts, all humans on
this earth desire and seek happiness.

"Differences are unimportant," he said.

Our happiness is based on our hope and determination that exists in our lives.

Those who have lost hope have lost all. Is this a warning we should heed?

The loss of hope can lead to tragedies both at
the individual level and nationally. So how can
we achieve happiness and keep our hopes up in this world?

"We belong in this time, it is up to us," he said
as he looked out into the crowd.

While knowledge is a tool, it doesn’t mean a
person who is knowledgeable is also compassionate.

"We need more emphasis on affection and compassion," he said.

He also said there is sometimes the wrong kind of
education so we must learn that human relationships are built on trust.

Our power of knowledge is to understand and
respect universal human values we all share and
should bring us closer together in our common
passions and hopes, not drive us apart, he added.
We should embrace a warm heart and truth.

The Dalai Lama also stressed the particular
importance of the role of journalists during the lecture.

"Can we change the world with truth," I asked him as a journalism student.

"The media should act like the trunks of
elephants. The media should be long and sniff
everywhere, in front and in the back,” he
answered. “A writer should be truthful, honest and open.”

In a world where our differences cause pain and
injustice, in a world where peace seems like a
dream, he delivered one simple message.

"We are all essentially one human being," he said.
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