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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?"

Dalai Lama urges crowd to focus on being happy, downscale lifestyles

April 22, 2008

600 to 700 protest leader's U-M visit

BY TINA LAM
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER
April 21, 2008

The United States and other wealthy countries need to downscale their
lifestyles and try to focus more on inner contentment, the Dalai Lama
said Sunday.

There simply aren't enough natural resources on the planet to support
all 6 billion people on Earth imitating western lifestyles. Because
there are limitations on external material resources, but not on
internal ones, it's better to seek contentment and peace rather than
material things, he said.

The Dalai Lama gave two lectures Sunday at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor,
one on Buddhist texts and, in the afternoon, a lecture on the
environment. Both were attended by more than 7,000 people.

Outside, 600 to 700 people protested, University of Michigan officials
said, most supporting the Chinese government and the Olympics.

The scene inside Crisler Arena was slightly surreal, as video of the
religious leader with his hands folded was projected on an overhead
scoreboard, surrounded by ads for Mountain Dew, AT&T and Meijer.

He said that although environmental problems like pollution may seem
insurmountable, changes over the last 30 years or so have given him hope.

Among those on hand for the lecture were former U-M football coach Lloyd
Carr and Bill Ford, chairman of Ford Motor Co. Actor Richard Gere was in
the front row for the morning teachings.

In the morning session, the Dalai Lama urged listeners to cherish others
rather than themselves.

He sat cross-legged on stage, wearing a visor to protect his eyes from
the bright lights, talking about the purpose of life: to live happily.

Happy lives happen when people are altruistic and compassionate toward
others. Money and power will not bring happiness, he said.

"Many sufferings are the result of cherishing one's own self-interest,"
he said. "You must cherish others in the same way you cherish your own
body."

Outside Crisler Arena, Yanqin Shen, a postdoctoral fellow in virology at
U-M, wore a T-shirt supporting the Olympics.

"We want people to hear another side," she said. "The Chinese are not
enslaving Tibetans."

She said the Dalai Lama and others are using the Olympics to put
pressure on China, which is unfair.

"The Olympics belong to the whole world," she said.
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