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

Dalai Lama: "21st century will be much happier"

May 23, 2010

Buddhist leader says humanity is improving and can overcome world's woes

By Mike Celizic contributor

updated 8:47 a.m. MT, Thurs., May 20, 2010

The news all seems to be bad ? natural disasters, an environmental
catastrophe, wars, an economic meltdown, terrorist attacks. But in a
quiet voice of optimism, a small, bespectacled man in a robe and sandals
struck a note that seems to be heard all too seldom nowadays.

The future, the Dalai Lama said Thursday, is bright.

Human beings are becoming more compassionate and better, the exiled
spiritual leader of Tibet told TODAY?s Ann Curry in New York in his
first live interview on a morning news show. ?Better, no question,? he
responded without hesitation when Curry asked if humans are getting
worse or better.

The problems facing the world may seem overwhelming, but, the Dalai Lama
said, ?Basically, these problems are temporary.? Other than natural
catastrophes, most are ?manmade; our own creation. So, logically, we
also have the ability to work on these problems.?

Signs of hope

The Dalai Lama pointed to the overwhelming outpouring of support, aid
and money sent by people all over the world to victims of a series of
earthquakes that have rocked many countries, including Chile, Haiti and
his native Tibet.

In the early part of the 20th century, he told Curry, people didn?t leap
to the aid of people halfway around the world as they do now. ?These are
positive signs,? he said.

In New York to give four lectures at Radio City Music Hall on Thursday,
Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the Buddhist monk arrived at 30 Rock in a
black limousine with blacked-out windows. As a former head of state, he
had a Secret Service security detail.

The Dalai Lama, dressed in a burgundy robe, greeted his hosts with hands
clasped as if in prayer and bows. Smiling and serene, he stepped out of
his simple sandals and sat cross-legged on a chair, as limber as a
teenager at age 75.

After finishing his interview, he gave TODAY co-anchors Meredith Vieira
and Matt Lauer gleaming white silk scarves.

Good news is no news

Smiling throughout his interview, the Dalai Lama said that evil will
always be with us, but that?s not news.

?Some mischievous people always there. Last several thousand years,
always there. In future, also,? he said in his distinctive idiom.

Like so many others, he wagged a gently chiding finger at the news media
for highlighting the negative.

?The news, the media highlight these negative things. Positive things
take for granted; not news,? the Dalai Lama said.

In exile since the Chinese crushed an uprising by Tibet in 1959, the
Dalai Lama continues to attempt to negotiate autonomy for his native
land and his own return there with the Chinese, who occupy the Himalayan

Named the 14th Dalai Lama at the age of 2, he took office two years
later and was raised by monks in monasteries. In 1989, he was awarded
the Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent efforts to resolve the conflict
in Tibet. He has also become increasingly involved with environmental

Spirituality and science

Before coming to New York, the Dalai Lama was in Wisconsin to help
dedicate the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the University of
Wisconsin-Madison. The center was created to study positive human
qualities such as happiness and compassion, and was inspired by his

The Dalai Lama believes that there can be a connection between Buddhism
and science. Among other things, Richard Davidson, the center?s founder,
studies how meditation changes the human brain.

The monk has been preaching that the 20th century was the century of
bloodshed, and the 21st century should be one of dialogue.

The growing sense of caring among people, he said, is the result of
human action.

?These change not come from sky, but come through human experience. We
[are] becoming more realistic,? he told Curry, who has visited him in
his home in exile. ?I think there?s every reason this 21st century will
be much happier.?

But, he added, it will depend on our own attitudes.

?In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive
vision,? the monk said, pointing to his head.
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