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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 Optimistic Of Weapon Reduction

July 18, 2008

By: Andrew Overton
Evening Bulletin - Philadelphia,PA, USA
07/17/2008

Philadelphia - The Dalai Lama, reflecting on a "century of bloodshed"
and war, spoke yesterday afternoon at the Kimmel Center, calling for a
total ban of nuclear weapons, with the ultimate goal of abolishing all
military forces.

Highlighting the stories of Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Ghandi,
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama said he sees the desire for peace
everywhere and is optimistic that weapons reduction is possible.

"I feel humanity, generally speaking, is becoming more mature," said the
Dalai Lama, citing the peace movement and increased environmental
awareness as evidence.

The Dalai Lama, the leader of Tibetan Buddhism and face of Buddhism
worldwide, was invited by the Kalmyk Brotherhood Society of America to
speak on "Buddhism in the 21st Century."

As several dozen Buddhist monks sat nearby on the stage, the spiritual
leader gave his views on what is needed for a happier and more peaceful
century. Top on his list was an effort towards "external" and "internal"
disarmament.

External disarmament, as he termed it, should be able to decrease the
risk of war through weapons reduction and unify countries by providing
them with a common goal.

Already a great example of a unified force, he said, is the European
Union, could yet include more eastern countries to help fulfill the goal
of abolishing military force.

But external disarmament can only come after internal disarmament, he said.

By removing hate, jealousy, anger, suspicion, and fear and replacing
them with compassion and love, the Dalai Lama said he believes humans
can begin to work toward peace.

The Dalai Lama spoke extensively on the need for affection and
compassion to be happy, regardless of religious background.

"Basically human beings need human affection. It's the basis of our
future, basis of our happiness," he said.

The Dalai Lama, a strong proponent of religious tolerance, stressed the
similarities among religions. In fact, during the question and answer
session he said one could be both a Buddhist and a Christian.

"All the religious traditions [send the same] message - the message of
love, compassion," he said. "All religions have the same potential, same
effect: to bring peace to a human being."

The Dalai Lama's statements on religious freedom have caused hundreds of
Buddhists to call him a hypocrite.

Outside the Kimmel Center Buddhist monk, nuns and practitioners were
protesting the Dalai Lama's visit, saying he doesn't practice the
religious tolerance that he preaches.

Those Buddhists who worship a deity called Dorje Shugden feel ostracized
in their religious community since the Dalai Lama requested that they
stop attending formal religious teachings.

"He's causing segregation and division in the religious community," said
Western Shugden Society spokesperson, Kelsang Pema.

The Western Shudgen Society organized the protest and chanted, "Dalai
Lama give religious freedom," and "Dalai Lama stop lying!" for most of
the afternoon. In turn, many visitors to the Kimmel Center were
unsettled by the protesters' chants and began yelling, "Long live the
Dalai Lama."

Speaking to a large Buddhist crowd the Dalai Lama, back inside the
Kimmel Center, the Dalai Lama promoted Buddhist science and the need to
study and understand the mind and its inner workings.

He recommended three ways to attain knowledge -study, reflection, and
serious meditation - and encouraged Buddhists to study more
The afternoon events also featured Kalmyk folk dancing and singing
performances

Andrew Overton can be reached at aoverton@thebulletin.us
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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