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"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."

"People still passing difficulties under communist totalitarian rule:" His Holiness the Dalai Lama

August 4, 2009

YC. Dhardhowa, editor of The Tibet Post
The Tibet Post
July 29, 2009

Dharamshala -- Hundreds of international
scholars, students, and other invited guests
listened to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the
political and religious leader of Tibet, during
his public address at the University of Warsaw in
Poland yesterday. "This audience looks very
nice," His Holiness began, laughing, "of course,
everywhere, particularly in former communist
countries, there is naturally a strong concern
and sympathy for those people who are still
experiencing the difficulties of communist totalitarian rule."

Prior to the public talk, the University of
Warsaw’s rector, Professor Katarzyna
Chalasinska-Macukow, welcomed and thanked the
Tibetan leader, stating, "I would like to welcome
the highly respected His Holiness the 14th Dalai
Lama Tenzin Gyatso. We are very happy that your
Holiness, one of the permanent true moral
authorities, accepted our invitation, and we
thank you for your willingness to share with us
your ideas on the values of universal
responsibility. In our times, as we survey the
development of modern technologies, we still need
moral guidance, and we seek authorities who can
provide us with a better understanding of the
true of values of humanity. You are the one who
has contributed most to the education of peace
and ethics based on love and compassion, and who
serves as a moral inspiration to the world community."

His Holiness spoke about the clash between
economic matters and moral principles, explaining
that even though many parts of the free world
express support for and solidarity with Tibetans
-- there are slogans such as ‘free Tibet’
everywhere, in America, Eastern Europe, and
Western Europe,”—in this moment of financial
crisis, the economic strength of the People’s
Republic of China has become increasingly
important, and other nations hesitate to raise
the politically sensitive issue of Tibet.
"Sometimes people take money matters more
seriously than moral principles, and this is a
fact which we have to accept," said His Holiness.

His Holiness also spoke about the importance of
secularism, clarifying that he does not mean by
this a "rejection of religion" but rather a
respect for all religions, where no religion is
preferred to any other -- the same type of
secularism defined in the Indian institution and
supported by Indians like Mahatma Gandhi. He
stated, “We must appreciate all religions, how
they have helped humanity over the past few
thousand years, and continue to inspire millions
of people today." Furthermore, he added, “We must
respect non-believers, because they are part of
our humanity, part of six billion human beings,
and our future also depends on these people.
These people themselves as human brothers and
sisters need some kind of inner peace whether
they believe in religion or not -- it is up to
the individual. They also need a sense of
compassion as far as sense of compassion, so we
must find a way to promote compassion which
includes those non-believers, that is the only way and the secular way."

His Holiness repeated his appeal for journalists
to be as nosey as an elephants that can smell
from both in front and behind. Because
unfortunately everyone, even religious leaders
and human rights activists, is capable of
twisting facts for their own purposes, he presses
that, “The media people must make a thorough
investigation into what is going on, and then
make it public. They must provide truthful,
honest, and unbiased information. That is
important, particularly in democratic countries,
in order to build a healthy society."

After the talk concluded, there was a question
and answer session. When one of the Warsaw
University students asked the Dalai Lama the
question "What is your favorite animal?" he
responded, "My favorite animals are sometimes
cats and sometimes dogs. I think if attitude is
concerned, it is the dog; but for cleanliness, the cat is better,” and laughed.

The rector presented His Holiness with the
University’s Medal and a citation that said this
medal was being conferred in recognition of His
Holiness's "great service for moral inspiration
to the world community." Professor Jolanta
Sierakowska-Dyndo thanked his His Holiness for
accepting the rector’s invitation, noting that,
"It is not your first visit, so I must say we are
a lucky university to have you here second time,
and we also wish for a next time."
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