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The Dalai Lama speaks about Havel's legacy, significance of the EU during Prague visit

19.10.2016 11:35
The 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. (PHOTO:  Yancho Sabev, Wikimedia Commons)
The 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. (PHOTO: Yancho Sabev, Wikimedia Commons)

Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama says the 21st century must be one of compassion and dialogue conducted with all, including those who engage in combat and kill others. He believes a change in how the world is experienced and perceived will come about with the next generation, who will accent the inner worth of human beings and respect for others more than they will accent the temporary satisfaction of their own desires.

The world's most famous exile made his remarks yesterday in an interview with the Czech News Agency and Czech Radio. He said it does not bother him when Western leaders refuse to receive him because they are concerned that to do so might influence their trade with China.

"That is not important to me, what is important is to meet with the people, with the public. Governments change from time to time, politicians also change, but nations are constantly being created by the people," the Dalai Lama said.

"The world belongs to seven billion people, each country belongs to the people, not to the leaders, not to the kings and queens, nor to the spiritual leaders. ... The dream of the world being more compassionate and peaceful depends on the people, the governments cannot do that," he said.

The Dalai Lama traveled to Prague from Slovakia for the Forum 2000 conference, which this year is partially dedicated to the legacy of Václav Havel. While in Slovakia he met with President Andrej Kiska.

In the Czech Republic the spiritual leader met with Deputy Prime Minister for Science, Research and Innovation Bělobrádek and Culture Minister Herman. "It is a great honor for us to personally meet you and discuss the spiritual values you represent," Herman said when welcoming the Dalai Lama.

The meeting in the Billiard Room of the Nostitz Palace, which houses the Ministry of Culture, also included the vice-chair of the Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL) and vice-chair of the Chamber of Deputies Jan Bartošek, vice-chair of the Senate Miluše Horská (KDU-ČSL), the president of the State Office for Nuclear Safety Dana Drábová, former MEP Zuzana Roithová, and Senator Petr Šilar (both KDU-ČSL). During the first day of the Dalai Lama's visit, dedicated to the memory of the first Czechoslovak President post-1989, the spiritual leader said that Havel's ideas have not disappeared with his departure from the physical realm.

The Dalai Lama believes the ideas that came from the passionate, sensitive heart of the former President are ones that will last for centuries. "Now we have the responsibility to maintain and pass along his deep values, I am convinced of that, as I am convinced that the Czechs still love their former leader... Not just his name, but his idea, his concept, must live on," the Dalai Lama said.

The idea of compassion for all beings, and of doing all that can to be done to resolve conflicts nonviolently, is one that earned the representative of Tibetan Buddhism criticism this spring. He expressed the view that dialogue as the only genuine way to resolve conflict is also possible to apply to the case of the so-called Islamic State, i.e., an organization that kills, tortures and tyrannizes those whom it considers the enemy.

"We cannot be thinking about our next lives, whether we will find ourselves in heaven or hell. This is our home, this world, we are human beings," the Dalai Lama said.

"When you are very angry and kill somebody, a certain satisfaction is achieved, but when you are no longer angry, when your mind is calm, you will ascertain that such a path is the wrong one, it is a bad method, it is short-sighted," he said. In Western countries the Dalai Lama is a symbol of the defense of human rights and their indivisibility everywhere in the world.

This spring the Dalai Lama also made controversial remarks to the effect that restricting the number of refugees arriving into Germany is legitimate because it "cannot become an Arab country". Speaking in Prague yesterday, the spiritual leader said receiving refugees is a great thing to do and that they should be accepted in order to prevent humanitarian catastrophes and save lives.

The Tibetan exile believes Western governments must make it possible for refugee children to be educated, including through instruction in European languages, so they can aid with rebuilding their homelands once conflicts resolve and return is possible. "I have a dream that, just as the European Union exists, it will be possible for there to be an African Union one day, a Latin American Union, an Asian Union, and then a union of all seven billion people," the Dalai Lama said when musing about the better future for humanity in which he believes.

The Tibetan spiritual leader is an admirer of the purpose of the European Union and made his fifth appearance in the European Parliament a month ago. A co-worker of his said yesterday that when the Dalai Lama saw the bust of Havel at the EP, he greeted him as a friend and placed a white scarf around his neck, which in Buddhism is a symbol of friendship.

"When I said the 21st century must be one of compassion, of dialogue, I didn't mean right away, next week, next year, or even during this decade. This is difficult. However, we cannot say: 'That is impossible.' We must develop optimism, vision, we must attempt to do so," he said yesterday.

The Dalai Lama believes we must all do our best and place an emphasis on education, which he believes must be independent of religion and must come from a shared perception, from common experiences, and must highlight the inner worth of each human being. "Two decades from now, in the year 2030, 2035, a new generation will grow up who have been educated more holistically," he said. 

ČTK, adg, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Dalai Lama, EU, human rights, návštěva, Osobnosti, Ostrava, Václav Havel, Tibet



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