Posts Tagged ‘The Dalai Lama’
Peace, in the sense of the absence of war, is of little value to someone who is dying of hunger or cold. It will not remove the pain of torture inflicted on a prisoner of conscience. It does not comfort those who have lost their loved ones in floods caused by senseless deforestation in a neighboring country. Peace can only last where human rights are respected, where the people are fed, and where individuals and nations are free.
- His Holiness The Dalai Lama
There ware gatherings yesterday in various parts of the world commemorating 20th anniversary of the conferment of the Nobel Peace Prize to the Dalai Lama. Reading these news brings back profound memories of my first acquaintance with His Holiness.
It was in the fall of 1989. The Chinese Independent Union at the campus of UW-Madison extended our invitation to His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama. This gesture alone was of great significance, because all of us grew up brainwashed by the propaganda that views the Dalai Lama a separatist and traitor. This territory, as I was told, that a large group of students from mainland China openly embracing His Holiness was never acrossed before. Soon we received the response from his office stating that His Holiness is delighted to have an open dialog with the Chines tudents.
This was the second time the Dalai Lama visited Madison. In 1981, His Holiness came to Madison to perform a special religious ceremony for world peace in the Deer Park Buddhist Center, about 10 miles south of Madison. The Center, opened in 1975, is the only full-scale Buddhist monastery and teaching center in the Midwest.
That’s where our meeting took place. I could tell some of us were curious, even somewhat nervous. But all of us were in awe of the historical moment. I started with a humble, sincere welcome, introduced His Holiness to the fellow students. They gave him a warm standing ovation. Then the Dalai Lama began his speech…
Oh no, I said to myself, we are in trouble! Because it was in Tibetan.
Just as I became increasingly nervous, we heard His Holiness explaining, in Chinese, that it is the tradition to show respect to the culture and religion to begin a speech in Tibetan.
Sigh. And, His Holines told us, it is to show respect to us to say a few words in Chinese, now starting in English.
By that time, the place became alive. His kindness just brought us closer to him.
In the one and half hour address, His Holiness expressed deep sadness towards the tragedy took place in June in China, strongly condemned the Beijing regime’s oppression of the students peaceful demonstration. We were still at a stage of heartbreaking of the massacre. Many of us started sobbing.
Then His Holiness discussed the human rights situation in Tibet in the past 40 years, and his love to peace, and to the Chinese people, stressed the way to resolve conflict should be through dialogue and discussion.
It was heartwarming and enlightening. Many of us began to understand the suffer the Tibetan people had endured, and to realize that it was in our common interests to defend human rights and pursue justice. With his ever-hopeful and forward-looking perspective, we all felt the encouragement and hope within.
It was an unforgettable get-together. Many participants expressed their gratification for the opportunity. I was extremely thankful.
The story just got better.
A coupe of days later, while His Holiness was still in Madison, we heard the news that the Dalai Lama was the finalist of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize. We were overjoyed, and the news that His Holiness was actually in Madison flew quickly.
I got a call from our Chancellor Donna Shalala, now the president of the university of Miami. She said the university would like to host a ceremony for the Dalai Lama. I, of course, was completely thrilled.
Held in the Field House, the ceremony was nothing short of spectacular. The energy changed when the Dalai Lama entered, as one of the attendance recalls, “it was a quantum shift. He seems to radiate compassion – it’s a wonderful thing.”
That evening, the Chancellor’s office hosted a banquet to honor the Dalai Lama. On behalf of the Chinese Independent Union, I presented His Holiness a plaque with the following words engraved:
Freedom, Peace, and Justice Are Our Common Goals