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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."

In last appearance in NYC, Dalai Lama discusses meaning of kinship

May 30, 2010

By Karen Matthews (CP) ? May 24, 2010

NEW YORK, N.Y. ? The Dalai Lama said Sunday that the U.S.-led war in
Iraq could perhaps have been avoided through negotiations with Saddam
Hussein.

Responding to a question about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the
exiled leader of Tibetan Buddhists said that Hussein was "not such a
foolish person. War with America. He can't win."

The Dalai Lama has criticized the Iraq war effort in the past. He did
not offer any solutions to continued violence there.

"Now, I don't know," he said.

The Nobel Prize winner appeared at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine
after wrapping up four days of teaching at Radio City Music Hall.

Nearly 2,000 people, including actors Richard Gere and Naomi Watts,
filled the cavernous Gothic cathedral to hear the man whom followers
believe to be the reincarnation of his predecessors.

Billed as a panel discussion on "Kinship and its Meaning in Our World
Today," the event was more of a free-floating meditation on ecumenicism.

As is his usual practice, the 74-year-old Dalai Lama smiled broadly and
chuckled at his own remarks.

"Whether you like it or not, there are different traditions," he said,
laughing. "And no one can change that."

Recalling a 2001 visit to the Roman Catholic shrine of Our Lady of
Fatima in Portugal, the Dalai Lama said the statue of the Virgin Mary
appeared to smile at him.

"Maybe, my eyes, something wrong," he said.

But he said that although he is a Buddhist, "Mary I always revere as a
symbol of compassion."

The Dalai Lama dropped names of Christian leaders including Mother
Teresa, South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Trappist monk
Thomas Merton.

"His boot ? very big, like Army boot," he said of Merton, who died in
1968. "His hat ? very shiny."

Joining the Dalai Lama on the panel were two Muslims, American Eboo
Patel, a member of the Obama administration's Faith Advisory Council,
and Sakena Yacoobi, executive director of the Afghan Institute of
Learning, which provides education and health care in Afghanistan.

Patel, the founder of the Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Core, said, "I
think one of the great questions of our era is this: Is religion going
to be a barrier of division? Is it going to be a bomb of destruction? Or
is it going to be a bridge of co-operation?"

He called the Dalai Lama "perhaps the greatest world leader, the most
beloved global citizen, shining a light on the issue of religion as a
bridge of co-operation."

The Tibetan leader has a new book, "Toward a True Kinship of Faiths: How
the World's Religions Can Come Together," released this month in the
U.S. by Doubleday Religion.
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