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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?"

Tibetan Lama visit

August 18, 2009

BBC
August 16, 2009

A Tibetan monk is living in Weymouth for six months to gain an
insight into western culture and to gather donations to help erect a
new temple in Nepal which will house and educate refugees from Tibet.

* Listen: Geshe Lama Ahbay Rinpoche
   http://www.bbc.co.uk/hampshire/realmedia/2009/06/05/audio/tibetanlamavisiti.ram

Tibetan monk Geshe Lama Ahbay Rinpoche is in Weymouth raising money
for the thousands of Tibetan refugees in exile each year in India.

His visit is the equivalent of a royal visit for Dorset, but instead
of staying in a luxurious hotel he's living with local residents Bob
and Sarah Murphy in their semi-detached house on Leamington Road.

Bob and his wife Sarah are involved with the Dorset organisation The
Dolmen Grove - a united spiritualist organisation with a bid to bring
"world peace".

They met Buddhist monk Lama Ahbay through a mutual friend in Spain
and began to plan his six month stay in Weymouth.

"A real honour"

Since arriving in May 2009 Bob says of Lama Ahbay: "It's been a real
honour to have him here. It's been very humbling and exciting.

"We just hope that we can do a lot while he's here to make people
aware of the situation in Tibet and China."

During his stay Lama Ahbay aims to raise awareness of the ongoing
boundary dispute between China and Tibet (a small part of which is
controlled by India).

He plans to build a new monastery in Nepal for refugees from Tibet
and needs donations to get the project underway.

Tony Jameson from The Dolmen Grove says: "So many refugees are stuck
on the borderlines.

"The new temple will feed thousands of children and educate them to
university standard."

"Peace and love"

Lama Ahbay, who was recognised by the Dalai Lama as a reincarnation
of a former spiritual leader of the Tibetan Buddhists, believes that
the problems in Tibet are as bad as they ever have been.

He says: "There's a lot of suffering. They [Tibetans] need their own
country, but the Chinese don't like [this].

"His Holiness the Dalai Lama always taught peace and love, not violence.

"We want the Tibetans and Chinese to be all together [united]."

Lama Ahbay also plans to learn more about western culture while in Dorset.

He says: I like very much English people and the country. Everybody
is very happy, open of mind and very kind.

"I want to teach people and help them to minimise their own suffering."

Humble

Tony is pleased that Lama Ahbay chose to visit Dorset above all other
counties in the UK.

He says: "He could have gone to any main temple, but he wanted to
come and meet ordinary people.

"Quite often we see people of his standing coming to this country and
going straight to London and staying in the great big hotels.

"He recognises himself as being just like everyone else and doesn't
put himself on a pedestal."

When in Tibet, Lama Ahbay sleeps on a bed made of reeds, but has
found the bed in Bob and Sarah's spare room "very comfortable".

He's set up a prayer shrine in the couple's living room and has been
sampling some of the local food. He's even tried milk in his tea for
the first time.

Lama Ahbay says: "I like the milk."

Overall Lama Ahbay has settled in well and Bob and his wife Sarah are
getting used to having him around.

Bob says: "It's been a very challenging experience, but it's been
worth while and I'm proud to have done it for him.

"I just love the guy. His aura transmits peace - it's beautiful."

"Double take"

But how have the locals taken to him?

"They're a bit shocked when they see him - a Tibetan monk walking
through Weymouth town centre. They have to do a double-take.

"Some people come and greet him though and thank him for coming here.

"They seem pleased that he came to this small town on the Dorset coast."
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