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Follow spirit of Mandela, says His Holiness the Dalai Lama in tribute

December 16, 2013

December 14, 2013 - On 13 December, PeaceJam’s One Billion Acts of Peace campaign based in Johannesburg hosted a 20-minute digital conversation via Google+ Hangouts On Air between Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu to honour the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela. His Holiness and Archbishop Tutu took questions from the public.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who was the moderator, asked: “Your Holiness the Dalai Lama, one of the things often said about Nelson Mandela was his willingness to forgive those who had oppressed and those who had imprisoned him for 27 years. Where do you think that ability to forgive come from and is that something everybody can do in their life?”

In his response, His Holiness said: “Every human being has the potential. We grew up with tremendous affection of a mother. On top of that, Nelson Mandela practiced religious faith. Throughout his freedom and political struggle, I believe his main conviction came from his faith. I think my friend Archbishop Desmond Tutu followed the same principle. Mandela has strictly followed the Mahatma Gandhi’s path of nonviolence. As he is no longer with us, his spirit should be within us and pass on to the younger generation. I expressed my sadness over his demise but I do not think that is enough. This sadness must be transformed into willpower to practice and hand over his legacy for future.”

Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, and Sir Richard Branson also joined the conversation. On being asked by Anderson Cooper what legacy of Nelson Mandela should people pass on to the future generation as mentioned by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the two said: “Mandela’s life is his legacy, which embodies struggle against injustice and indomitable spirit to speak out for the marginalised people.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama met late South African President Nelson Mandela in 1996 and 2004.  The funeral of Mandela, the anti-apartheid hero and global icon of peace and reconciliation, will take place tomorrow. He passed away on 6 December aged 95. 

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