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Dalai Lama says he's sad over India's nuclear testing (MJS)
World Tibet Network News
Thursday, May 14, 1998
2. Dalai Lama says he's sad over India's nuclear testing (MJS)
Tibetan leader, on his 4th visit to Madison, calls for eliminating the weapons
By Fran Bauerand Tom Heinen
of the Journal Sentinel staff
Milwaukee Journal Sentinial
May 14, 1998
Madison -- In his first public appearance since India exploded
nuclear weapons in underground tests, the Dalai Lama expressed
sadness and called for the worldwide elimination of nuclear
But Tibet's exiled spiritual and political leader stopped short
of criticizing his adopted homeland, India. Instead, he
questioned why it is considered permissible for some large
nations to have nuclear weapons.
"There is sometimes the concept, a few nations OK to possess
nuclear weapons (and) the rest of the world should not," he said
during a news conference in the state Capitol with Gov. Tommy
Thompson seated at his side. "That's undemocratic. If bigger
nations have the right to possess, then India is a bigger
But the real solution may be the one proposed by China, he said,
since that country has called for a complete elimination of
nuclear weapons worldwide.
"That's a proper way to pursue this," he said, adding, "I'm quite
sure if total elimination of nuclear weapons comes, India will
Tenzin Gyatso, Tibet's 14th Dalai Lama, was in Madison on the
final stop in a tour of four U.S. cities to spread his philosophy
of non-violence and to gain support for his efforts to halt
Chinese oppression of his people.
His visit here, to be mostly occupied with teaching about
meditation, also included a speech Wednesday to the Legislature
and state officials, and another speech to 13,000 people at the
During the speech in the Assembly chamber, the Dalai Lama
delivered his message of peace, compassion and inner harmony to
an audience that agreed it had a lot to learn from the spiritual
"His message has meaning for everybody," Thompson said after the
speech. "What he's saying is we're all different but we're all
the same. If we work together, we'll get things done."
Before a crowd not exactly known for inner peace, the Dalai Lama
told a joint session of the Legislature that people need to pay
more attention to their spiritual development and that human
compassion is the key to achieving inner peace.
"The various religious traditions have the potential to bring
happiness, mainly inner happiness, inner peace," he said.
He said the main messages of all the world's major traditional
religions are similar: Have a good heart, a sense of caring, a
sense of community, and be patient, tolerant and content.
"We have a lot to learn from him," said Rep. Rosemary Potter
(D-Milwaukee), who invited the Dalai Lama to speak to
legislators. "He says don't be afraid of
contradictions. Compromise, be compassionate and you can get a
lot done. We need a lot more of that."
The man himself was the message later Wednesday, as the Dalai
Lama used gentle humility, vigorous gesture and spritely humor to
captivate the crowd at the Kohl Center.
Speaking at times with the help of a translator, he could not
always be clearly heard or fully understood in the cavernous
facility. But his electric smile and down-to-earth playfulness
communicated something that transcended the spoken word -- his
His theme was that love and compassion are vital for human
happiness. And he stressed how religion, especially Buddhism, can
enhance those qualities and lift them to higher levels.
The audience burst into loud applause several times, including
when he said that education likes to develop the brain but it
doesn't pay enough attention to developing the heart.
People gave him a standing ovation when he criticized the United
Nations and said, "We need an organization that truly represents
people, we need a body that represents world humanity."
Hours earlier he lived out that philosophy while leaving a
reception for legislators in the state Capitol. He paused near a
stairway to kneel at the wheelchair of Alison Sullivan, 15, a
Milwaukee girl who is severely disabled by a degenerative
neurological disorder. Then he pressed his head to hers as a form
of blessing and held her hands.
Alison is unable to speak, but her sister, Mia, 13, spoke for
both of them as she later exclaimed, "Wow! I don't know what he
said, and she can't tell us. . .. I think he's very funny, and I
like his smile a lot," she added.
Their father, Michael, said the family is Buddhist and came to
hear the Dalai Lama speak to the legislators from the overhead
In a prepared speech, which was distributed to legislators and
members of the press but not delivered by the Dalai Lama, he
talked about more political issues.
He said he was glad President Clinton is going to China because
it will provide an opportunity for the president to raise
concerns about human rights abuses and Tibet.
Changes already are beginning to happen in China, the Tibetan
leader said in a news conference before his speech. It was his
fourth visit to Madison.
The Dalai Lama was forced to flee his homeland in 1959 after the
Chinese takeover escalated into a major uprising. There are signs
that freedom of speech and human rights are improving there, he
said. And there seems to be a growing support for the Dalai
Lama's attempts to take a moderate approach -- asking not for
Tibetan independence but rather for an autonomous state that
could elect its own leaders.
Should that day ever come, the Dalai Lama later told the
Legislature, he was prepared to step down and let elected leaders
rule a newly autonomous Tibet.
But though long-range prospects look promising for Tibet, in the
short run the Dalai Lama said that he had heard of continuing
reports that Buddhism was being quashed in his homeland, and the
culture there destroyed.
Amy Rinard of the Journal Sentinel staff contributed to this
Articles in this Issue:
- Dalai Lama: India should not have nukes, but not be policed by others(AP)
- Dalai Lama says he's sad over India's nuclear testing (MJS)
- Exiled Tibetan leaders hail Indian PM over nuclear tests (AFP)
- Royal welcome as Dalai Lama visits Madison (AP)
- Dalai Lama's visit in Madison begins with blessings (MJS)
- Letter to WTN News Re: TYC quote in AFP
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