Join our Mailing List

"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

His Holiness the Dalai Lama Visits Boston, Day 1

May 1, 2009

Central Tibetan Administration
April 30, 2009

Boston -- His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived in
Boston a little before noon on the third leg of his tour.

Following lunch, His Holiness’ program began with
a press conference that lasted for nearly 45 minutes.

In his opening remarks, His Holiness talked about
his first trip to Harvard in 1979.  He then
explained his two commitments, promotion of human
values and promotion of religious harmony.

Talking about their relevance His Holiness asked
the media to investigate into the attitude of
people during this current global economic
crisis.  He felt that those individuals who
thought only about money, even in their dreams,
they may be more disturbed in the current
situation.  On the other hand those who paid
attention to other values, in addition to money,
values like harmony, human family and community,
may be less disturbed. He said machines cannot
produce happiness and that people should look
deeper way into our mind or consciousness.  He
said in the past 20 years he had many discussions
with scientists on such issues of compassion and
the co-relation between compassion and human
health.  He thus explained the reason for his
emphasis on the promotion of human values.

Referring to his second commitment of promotion
of religious harmony, His Holiness said that as a
religious person and a Buddhist, he felt that
promotion of religious harmony was essential.  He
said in the 21st century, there was material
development, but that sadly even today conflict
was taking place in the name of religion.  He
therefore felt that harmony among religions was important.

His Holiness said that he had always believed
that the Western societies, which are basically
Judeo-Christian and some Muslim, people should
keep to their own traditional faith.  He referred
to some of his friends who were wanting to
construct Buddhist monastery in Europe or America
and said that he had reservations about this.  He
felt  building a monastery in Asia was okay given
the Buddhist background there.

Talking about his reason for coming to the United
States this time, His Holiness said that except
for trips to Washington, D.C. or Brussels in
Europe where he had a political agenda, all his
other visits are non-political in nature.  This
time, he said it was basically educational in nature.

His Holiness then answered some questions.

A reporter said that Secretary Hillary Clinton
and President Obama seem to be downplaying human
rights and wondered what His Holiness felt about
their position on Tibet.  His Holiness said that
all US administrations, irrespective of which
political parties they belonged, were positive on
Tibet.  He said he had met Obama when he was a
member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
and subsequently they have had exchanges of
communications.  His Holiness said he found
President Obama to be straightforward and wanting to reach out to others.

His Holiness said that in an interview to Fox TV
some days earlier, he had spoken about the
People’s Republic of China being an
important  nation and that it must be brought
into the international community. He said it was
for this reason he had supported the provision of
the Most Favored Nation (MFN) status to China. He
said that US and China  should have good
relations.  At the same time there were certain
principles like human rights, political freedom,
democracy freedom of  speech and freedom of
press, that also needed to be paid attention. He
asked the media to play a role in highlighting
these principles because paying attention solely
to the economy was shortsighted.

His Holiness said that he did not think the Obama
Administration was neglecting Tibet.

Another questioner asked whether the battle for
Tibetan autonomy was lost.  His Holiness answered
that from a local perspective it could be felt
that the situation was hopeless, but that from a
broader perspective he believes there is
hope.  He said the Tibetan spirit was very
strong.  He said that the People’s Republic of
China itself was  changing.  Today, even the
Chinese Communist Party is a party without
communist ideology and that it had become a
capitalist authoritarian regime.  He said this was a big change.

His Holiness talked about the difference in the
Chinese outlook; during the time of Mao Zedong,
Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao.  During
Mao’s era importance was given to
ideology.  During Deng’s time economy was given
importance while during Hu Jintao’s time
importance is laid on bringing about a harmonious
society.  His  Holiness said that these changes
meant that the Chinese communist leadership has
the ability to act according to new reality.

However, His Holiness said that for harmony trust
is very essential. He referred to the Chinese
authorities’ attitude of resorting to suppression
to resolve issues and said that this cannot
sustain in the long run.  He said China today had
manpower and economic power. But what it lacked
was moral authority.  He said China needed the
trust  and respect from the rest of the
world.  He referred to the over 400 articles
written by Chinese, including some from the
mainland, on Tibet since March 10 last year and
said that these showed their maturity.

To a question about President Obama’s
conciliatory attitude, His Holiness said that he
fully appreciates the President’s attitude of
reaching out to others.  When asked about the
difference between President Obama and President
Bush, His Holiness said he loved President Bush
for his straightforward attitude, unlike
some  politicians who keep a distance.  His
Holiness talked about his not agreeing with some
of his policies, though. He said President Bush
had  sincere motivation when introducing
democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq, but that the
method of using force was counterproductive.

On another question whether he would be meeting
President Obama, His Holiness replied that this
time there was no visit planned to Washington,
D.C. but that most probably he would be meeting President Obama next time.

A journalist from a Chinese language newspaper
asked His Holiness what he felt about those
Chinese people who have a different view on
Tibet. His Holiness said that he always admired
the Chinese people who had a 5000 year old
civilization.  He said on some occasions he had
said that although his trust in the Chinese
government was growing thinner  he had full faith in the Chinese people.

When asked whether he would be visiting Taiwan,
His Holiness referred to his two earlier visits
there in 1997 and 2001. He said he had two main
reasons for visiting Taiwan; to show to the
Chinese people that we are not anti-Chinese and
since he cannot go to China, going to Taiwan was
the next option; and to study the Taiwanese
Buddhist  tradition, particularly since the only
surviving highest level of ordination of nuns was
in the Chinese Buddhist system. He said that the
Buddha had bestowed this equality to all but that
the followers have not been able to fulfill
it.  Since 2002 after the re-establishment of
contacts with Beijing, visit to Taiwan became not
an easy thing.  He said while President Chen
Shuibian was eager for his visit, President Ma Ying-jeou found it inconvenient.

His Holiness was asked about his views on the
situation in Colombia and whether he would visit
the country.  His Holiness said that while he
followed the general news about Columbia, he was
not an expert. In general, he said that violent
method is always a mistake and the only solution
can be achieved through dialogue.  He referred to
the  situation in Tibet and said that since the
powerful country China was resorting to
suppression, there was more resentment among the
people. He gave the case of a nine-year old
Tibetan from Amdo who showed resentment of the
Chinese attitude as an example saying this young
boy may not have much idea but that resentment was there.

When asked whether he thought he would stand on
the soil of Tibet, His Holiness said Oh. Yes, I
feel. Every Tibetan feels the same way. He said
the Tibetans in Tibet were also eager to see this
happen. He talked about his desire to visit Tibet
expressed first in 1983 and that he had wanted to
send a delegation in 1984 to prepare for a
possible trip in 1985 (he said the fact-finding
Tibetan delegations were received with strong
emotions by the Tibetan people and so proper
preparation was needed for a trip by him).
However, he said things became difficult with
China and the trip did not take place.

His Holiness said that as a Buddhist, he followed
a Tibetan saying that wherever there is
happiness, that is home and that whoever showed
kindness could be considered parents.  He said in
the past 50 years as a refugee he was able to
have much exposure to the outside world.

Following the press conference, His Holiness
departed for the Massachussets Institute of
Technology (MIT) where he first planted a sapling
before blessing a sand mandala of Tara and
answering some questions collected from students
at MIT.  These questions dealt with the qualities
for a meaningful life (he said this was the topic
he would be touching in a public talk) to what he
would like to invent if possible (he said he was
interested in the idea of a machine that
desalinizes water and heard of that once while on
a trip to California. He said many countries were
located along the sea coast and had water supply
problems). He was asked for his thoughts on the
conversation between Science and religion and he
referred to the positive outcomes of such
dialogues and why it was important to pay
attention to the mind. He emphasised on the
importance of the  continued learning process and
quoted Sakya Pandita who said even if you were to
die tomorrow, you should continue to learn today.

His Holiness said that whether the knowledge is
used for construction or destruction depends on
the motivation. He talked about terrorists who
had brilliant brains but were guided by hatred.
As a result the knowledge is used negatively. He
said that in the modern education system
knowledge is paid much attention but that moral
ethics seems to  be taken for granted.  Sometimes
people felt that it was for the religious
institutions to impart education in moral ethics.

Thereafter, His Holiness went to a reception for
supporters of the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics
and Transformative values.  He asked the Center
to conduct research now that the idea of a Center has become a reality.

The Chair of the Faculty welcomed His Holiness
and talked about his previous visit when there
was a discussion between His Holiness and MIT
scientist. He said the beginning of a two way
dialogue has culminated in the establishment of the Center.

After the reception, His Holiness returned back to the hotel.
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