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Dalai Lama ends North America tour on ethics and religious harmony notes

October 31, 2010

Tibetan Review
October 30, 2010

On the last leg of his three-week tour of North
America, the Dalai Lama visited Florida
International University and the University of
Miami in Miami, Florida, Oct 26. Both his events
there – talks on The Significance of World
Religions in the former and The Quest for
Happiness in Challenging Times in the latter –
were made accessible by live webcast.

The former programme took place at an interfaith
event in the morning at the Temple Emanu-El in
Miami Beach. Around 1,500 invited guests attended
the talk, which was sponsored by Temple Emanu-El,
Florida International University (FIU), Florida
Memorial University and University of Miami. He
was introduced to representatives from the Jewish
faith, the Catholic and Protestant churches,
Islam, Hinduism, Jainism and Taoism before his talk.

The Dalai Lama outlined four possible ways in
which religious harmony might be
promoted.  First, with scholars on religion
meeting and discussing different aspects of
religions and working on commonalities in
them;  second, with religious practitioners
coming together to discuss similar issues,
recalling his own discussions with the Trappist
monk Thomas Merton; third, with convening of
meetings of religious leaders to promote the
common message, recalling such a summit convened
by Pope John Paul II in Assisi in 1986; and
fourth, with religious leaders and practitioners
undertaking group pilgrimages to the sacred sites
of the different religions, recalling his own
positive personal experience when he undertook
such pilgrimages in Varanasi in India and in Jerusalem.

More than 7,000 students and other guests
attended his post-lunch public talk on "The Quest
for Happiness in Challenging Times," at the
University of Miami’s BankUnited Center. He
talked about three ways to promote compassion.
The Theistic religions approach, which regards
all human beings as having been created by a
supreme God and developing compassion for all in
that perspective; second, the non-theistic
religious approach, such as in the case of
Buddhists and Jains who believe in the Law of
Causality and who should therefore cultivate
compassion that will be in the interest of all;
and third, the promotion of secular ethics
involving the use of commonsense, common
experience, and  scientific findings, without
touching on religion to promote inner values.

Earlier, representatives from both the
universities had received him in Miami in the
afternoon of Oct 25. Representatives of Nova
Southeastern University, Florida Atlantic
University and Broward College, which had hosted
the Dalai Lama in the past, were also reported to
be present. He had a brief meeting that day with
some members of the Miami chapter of Amnesty International.

He also gave an interview, on the last of his
three-week tour of North America, by giving an
interview to CNN International’s Hala Gorani.
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