Join our Mailing List

"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."

His Holiness the Dalai Lama's San Francisco Visit, Day 1

April 29, 2009

Tibet.net
April 26, 2009

His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived in San
Francisco from Santa Barbara just before noon
today for his second leg of the tour of the
United States. His first program was a luncheon
reception by the American Himalayan Foundation
(AHF), a non-profit organization dedicated to
helping the people and ecology of the Himalaya.

Actress and member of the AHF Board of Director
Sharon Stone welcomed the gathering and spoke
about AHF?s projects in Tibet. She said in 1995
at the suggestion of His Holiness the Dalai Lama
AHF began developmental projects in Tibet and
since then have build 33 schools, 24 bridges and
helped orphans and elders.  She said currently
AHF had three urgent projects; building a school
hostel, construction of a bridge that will
benefit 3000 villagers, and establishing a
drinking water system that will benefit 2000
Tibetans.  She then introduced a video that
detailed these and other AHF projects to help the Tibetan people.

AHF Chairman Richard C. Blum spoke next and gave
a background to his personal involvement with the
Tibetan people. He said 30 years ago, at the
invitation of his wife Dianne Feinstein (then
mayor of San Francisco) and him, His Holiness the
Dalai Lama had visited San Francisco (during his
first ever visit to the United States).  Since
then he said AHF had been assisting the Tibetan
people, including those in Nepal. Blum then
invited His Holiness to make some remarks.

His Holiness began by expressing his deep
appreciation for the very constructive work that
AHF was undertaking throughout the Himalayan
region.  He said the people along the Himalayan
region although they may be Indian or Nepalese
citizens share the same Tibetan cultural and
spiritual heritage. He said that today even
though the Tibetans are homeless yet the many
Tibetan monastic institutions in India are
serving the monks and nuns of the entire
Himalayan region.  He said those Himalayan people
who trace their ethnic origin to Tibet are today
paying interest in finding their original root as
well as in their spiritual heritage.

His Holiness said in the future if the situation
in Tibet does not change Tibet may be finished
but that the Tibetan spirit will continue as it
was strong. He talked about the increasing
support for the Tibetan people in the Chinese
community. Since March 10 last year, he said
there were over 400 articles in Chinese written
by Chinese all of which were sympathetic to the
Tibetan cause and critical of the Chinese Government?s policy.

His Holiness said that he had been telling the
Himalayan people that it was their
responsibility, too, to help in the survival of
the Tibetan Buddhist culture as it was beneficial
to them.  He urged the AHF to continue its
involvement in projects with these communities.

Referring to projects inside Tibet, His Holiness
said that I always welcome any help in Tibet in
the field of education and health. He said
although in the bigger towns there were some
facilities in these fields the remote areas of
Tibet was being neglected. He said any help that
can be rendered in these areas would be of immense benefit.

Following the luncheon, His Holiness departed for
the University of California in Berkeley?s Greek
Theatre to give a public talk on Peace Through
Compassion, jointly organized by UC Berkeley?s
Blum Centre for Developing Economies and the AHF.
His Holiness was welcomed by Chancellor Robert
Birgeneau on his arrival at the venue.

Chancellor Birgeneau welcomed the more than 6000
students, teachers and others who had filled the
open air theatre and introduced Sharon Stone. She
energized the gathering and reminded them to be
thinking about their individual responsibilities.
She then introduced Mr. Richard C. Blum, who is
also the Chairman of the Board of Regents of UC
Berkeley.  The Chancellor then announced the
entry of His Holiness to the stage and there was
a standing ovation as His Holiness greeted the
people and took his seat on the stage.

Chancellor Birgeneau then announced the award of
the Berkeley Medal, UC Berkeley's highest honor
to Mr. Richard Blum. Mr. Blum then spoke about
his connection with His Holiness and the Tibetan
people. He said today there was the merger of two
issues that were dearest to him, UC Berkeley and
the Tibetan people.  He said that His Holiness
had spoken at the same venue 15 years ago.
Referring to the situation in Tibet Mr. Blum said
that oppression is never a solution and that what
goes in Tibet is immoral. He then invited His Holiness to speak.

His Holiness began by saying that he was glad to
be speaking again at the same venue. He added
that although the place is the same the planet
has been changing.  He said the beginning of the
21st century has not been a happy one.

He said he, the Chancellor and Mr. Blum all
belonged to the 20th century while the younger
generation belonged to the 21st century. Saying
that time is never still, he said it was up to
individuals to see how they can make time
meaningful.  He said firstly our action should be
realistic as there is always a gap between
appearance and reality. He therefore said that
everyone needed a wholesome understanding of
reality.  He said that although reality has
changed much, people continued to have the same
old way of thinking.  He said reality was complex
and related with many factors.  He referred to
the crisis in Iraq and Afghanistan and said that
former president Bush and his advisors who took
the decision to go to war based that decision on
a subjective perception which did not reflect the
reality on the ground.  He said the goal was
positive while the method was not realistic. His
Holiness, however, said that he loved president
Bush as he was straight forward and not like a
leader. He said he had told President Bush when
they met and although he loved him, he had reservation on some of his policies.

His Holiness then referred to the role of the
United States and said that from his childhood he
had the image of America as the champion of democracy, liberty and freedom.

His Holiness then said that people should not
look at compassion from a spiritual perspective
alone. He said there were two levels of
compassion: biological, which every mammal shows
in their attitude to their offsprings. He said he
was not sure about the feeling of compassion in
some turtles that lay their eggs and then do not
have any connection with the young turtle when it
is hatched. He said the same was the case with
butterflies who lay their eggs and then leave it
to be hatched as a caterpillar before becoming a
butterfly. Here His Holiness said that he was
afraid of caterpillars, more than scorpions or
frogs. He said the compassion based on biological
factor was limited and mixed with attachment.

He said the second level of compassion was one
that is infinite and unbiased. He said this
compassion can be developed and not biological.
This compassion grew out of loving kindness.

His Holiness said that today there was a growing
sense of dislike of war and call for peace. He
said peace was not the mere absence of problems,
but that it has to come from compassion.  He said
we need tremendous will power to do that.

He said peace could be developed first through
inner peace in an individual, which is then
spread within the family, which in turn is spread
to more families and to the community and the
broader society. In this way a community can
really become compassionate and peaceful
community.  He said a compassionate mind depends
on the mental balance, saying in order to see
reality the subjective mind has to have mental
balance.  He said a peaceful mind has also an
impact on the health of the physical body. His
Holiness gave his own recent experience of
gallbladder surgery during which his surgeon
called him a young patient. When His Holiness
responded that he was not young, the surgeon said
that although his age may be 74 his physical
conditions were that of a person of the age of
60. Thus the surgeon said that he called him a
young patient. His Holiness then said that this
was not due to anything special but on account
about of the peace of mind that he had.

His Holiness then advised the gathering to
develop inner compassion. He told them that he
had mainly two commitments, the promotion of
human values and the promotion of religious
harmony.  He said the leaders of the world may be
able to do something, but that each of us had the
opportunity to contribute to this.

Thus, he said compassion is not just a sacred
religious value but very important for a happy life and a healthy community.

Following his speech, His Holiness responded to
three questions. The first was on the explanation
for why there was a disconnect among  people in
this internet age of increasing connectivity. His
Holiness responded that since he did not use the
internet he did not know. However, he said that
he had heard that due to the internet personal
interaction was decreasing. He also answered a
question on stopping nuclear proliferation and
advice to students graduating this year. His
Holiness told the students that they should
prepare to confront any challenge and not to take
things for granted. He said the Tibetan people
had adopted the slogan, hope for the best but
prepare for the worst and advised the students to do likewise.

Following His Holiness? remarks there was a live
instrumental rendering of the Tibetan national anthem.

His Holiness then departed for the Berkeley
Community Center where he was received by the
Board of Directors of the Tibetan Association of
Northern California (TANC). His Holiness arrived
there to talk to the member of the Tibetan
community as well as those from Mongolia and the Himalayan region.

Following the performance of a welcome song in
praise of His Holiness the Dalai Lama by the
young children of the community, TANC President
Dechen Tsering presented the one year report of
the association. She informed His Holiness of a
new Quilt Project to honor the contribution of
those many Tibetans who died for the cause of
Tibet. A quilt was displayed to His Holiness.

In his remarks His Holiness talked about the
commonality of the spiritual and cultural
heritage of the Tibetans, the Mongols and the
Himalayan people. He referred to the Tibetan
Buddhist culture as a way of life saying that the
Tibetan muslims, who are not Buddhists, also
shared this way of life. He talked of two levels
of Buddhism, one at the popular ritualistic level
and the other that of the study of the deeper
Buddhist philospophy.  He asked the people to
study the Nalanda tradition from which Tibetan Buddhism originated.

He said that the Tibetan language was the best
language to study this tradition of Buddhism and
thus asked these communities to pay attention to the Tibetan language.

Referring to the Mongol people, His Holiness said
that they had suffered a lot in the 20th century
but that they had achieved freedom and are now
seeing the revival of their religion in their
country. As for the communities in Nepal, His
Holiness said that there was a renewed interest
in Tibetan Buddhism. He said the Sherpas, the
Tamangs and others are beginning to think about
their ancestral heritage that came from Tibet. He
said one important aspect of identity is the traditional faith.

His Holiness also emphasized the importance of
modern education and how that had been a drawback
in Tibet of the past. He asked the Tibetan people
to uphold the good Tibetan character. He said the
Tibetans have the additional responsibility to
think about Tibet. He said that since the
Tibetans had the truth there was no need to lie
as we do not have any state secrets. However, the
other side had to resort to likes and every
violent suppression, which he said was a sign of
weakness and not of strength. His Holiness said
there was thus no need to be discouraged.

His Holiness said Tibetans should hope for the
best but prepare for the worst. He said China was
changing. Just as the Tibetans are passing
through a desperate situation, the Chinese
Communists are also passing through a desperate
situation. He then referred to the demonstrations
in Tibet last year and said that now another
generation is taking over the responsibility of
the Tibet movement. This, he said, showed that the Tibetan spirit has not died.

Following His Holiness? speech, members of the
Chaksampa troupe sang some excerpts from the
Tibetan opera in praise of His Holiness. His
Holiness then departed for his hotel.

Following are some news items that appeared
relating to today's events by His Holiness in San Francisco.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
Developed by plank