Montreal, Canada, 7 September 2011 - His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s program for September 7, 2011 began in the morning witha visit to the Manjushri Buddhist Centre in the city of Longueuil, on the outskirts of Montreal. Khensur Lobsang Jamyang and several hundred people, predominantly Tibetans and Vietnamese, received him.
|His Holiness the Dalai Lama arriving at the Manjushri Buddhist Centre in Longueuil, Canada, on September 7, 2011. Photo/Jean-Marc (JM) Duchesne
|Members of the Manjushri Buddhist Centre listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Longueuil, Canada, on September 7, 2011. Photo/Tenzin Dorjee
Highlighting the difference between animals (who also have the Buddha nature) and human beings, His Holiness said that human beings have intelligence. But that intelligence has to be seen as the first stage in development. He asked the people therefore to not just be contented with mere prayers but also undertake deep study of the teachings.
His Holiness then addressed the Tibetans gathered there in Tibetan. Encouraging the Tibetan people to appreciate their rich heritage, he talked about the period during the religious kings being the high periodof Tibet. Subsequently, there was a period of disintegration and the power diminished. However, at no time did the Tibetan people become extinct. He added that the Tibetans had a language, which was distinct from others (being the most comprehensive in Nalanda tradition scriptures) although it is a different matter if the people can continueto maintain it. His Holiness said that even though the Tibetan people faced vicissitudes over a period of time, their courage and determination have not waned.
His Holiness advised the Tibetans to really understand their Buddhist heritage. He said there was a time when the Chinese authoritiesdubbed Buddhism as superstition and that without modern education and scientific development it would fade away. However, His Holiness said that modern scientists are paying increasing attention to Buddhist thoughts contrary to the Chinese assumption.
|His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Manjushri Buddhist Centre in Longueuil, Canada, on September 7, 2011. Photo/Tenzin Dorjee
His Holiness advised the older Tibetans to put their experience in writing so that the younger generation is aware of the reality of life, including under the Chinese authorities. He encouraged the younger generation to pay attention to their language. His Holiness recalled hisexperience in Germany when a young Tibetan boy was conversing to him inTibetan whereas he has heard of Tibetan families in the United States specifically speaking English at home so that their children could practice the language.
His Holiness also explained the recent development about his devolution of authority saying that now the administration formerly of lamas has transformed into an administration of people. His Holiness said that this had fulfilled his long-held aspiration and that after making his announcement and especially after the inauguration of the Kalon Tripa he even had very sound sleep. His Holiness said that there were some media reports that hinted that his action was inspired by the developments in northern Africa and said that this was not correct sincehe had an affinity for democracy since his childhood.
|His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the Manjushri Buddhist Centre in Longueuil, Canada, on September 7, 2011.
In conclusion, His Holiness again addressed the entire gathering by telling them that they should be 21st century Buddhists and not be contented with mere prayers in the old fashioned way. Rather, he suggested that they should have fuller knowledge of Buddhism for which study was important by using human intelligence.
Thereafter, His Holiness left for the Palais des Congres, the venue of the Second Global Conference of World’s Religions after September 11. He first addressed a press meet. His Holiness said he had fond memory of his previous visit to Montreal when he interacted with teachers who were participating in a training program. He then expanded on his commitments to promote human values and religious harmony. He said even though the media may not be directly connected to these issuesthey had a responsibility to promote the values for the greater good ofthe society.
|His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to members of the press in Montreal, Canada, on September 7, 2011. Photo/Tenzin Dorjee
His Holiness said that in recent months he had been reiterating thatcorruption seems to be some kind of a new disease inflicting human society. He added that there was a need to make the people realize thatcorruption is not part of human nature. He said that he was shocked to hear a student mention to him at an event in the Indian city of Jodhpur that unless one indulged in corruption there was no way to succeed. Similarly, he talked about another person at an event in Mumbai who saidthat without corruption one could not succeed in business. His Holinessreferred to the movement launched by the Indian Gandhian Anna Hazare saying that irrespective of the rightness or the wrongness of his method, his message was timely.
Calling Canada “My country” because of the status of honorary citizenship granted to him, His Holiness said that there was a role for the media to investigate the society here, including politicians and leaders, and to inform the public so that there is a healthy and clean society.
|Members of the press gather around His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Montreal, Canada, on September 7, 2011.
Photo/Jean-Marc (JM) Duchesne
In response to a query about climate change and Canadian mining companies involved in Tibet, His Holiness said the ecology was a seriousissue. If there were some political errors these could be rectified, but if there is an ecological damage then the destruction is done and there is no rectification. His Holiness said that some Chinese scientists had highlighted the importance of the environment on the Tibetan plateau by calling it the Third Pole. He said while the rate ofglobal warming the world over was 0.1 it was 0.3 on the Tibetan plateau. He said global warming could have a role in the unusual floodsin the world or the water scarcity in Africa and India. His Holiness said Mrs. Danielle Mitterrand, wife of former French president, was involved in a global movement on water.
He said the then Chinese prime minister Zhu Rongji had issued instructions halting deforestation but that later on account of corruption and connivance with local authorities and businessmen, deforestation went on.
On the issue of Canadian mining companies involved in Tibet, His Holiness said that the companies should take ecologists and scientists to do on the spot study of the region and to minimize effect on the ecology. If the companies do not take adequate action it would be a disgrace to Canada, he said.
His Holiness also explained the reason for his devolution of authority and his call for religious institutions to be separate from political institutions.
His Holiness then met organizers of the event as well as speakers atdifferent panels of the conference before he began his address to the conference on “Peace Through Ethics.”
|His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the 2nd Global Conference on World's Religions after September 11 in Montreal, Canada, on September 7, 2011. Photo/Jean-Marc (JM) Duchesne
He said there was the need for closer interactions among different religious traditions. There were conflicts that have erupted in the nameof religion, which was sad. A religion, which is the source of moral ethics, is becoming the source of trouble. It was like the medicine becoming the cause of illness rather than curing it, he said.
He said the conflict in the name of religion could be categorized into two: 1) Not due to religion itself but on account of power and politics; and 2) On account of belief in the concept of One Truth, One Religion. He said that in today’s multi-cultural and multi religion world such a concept was narrow-minded. He said that with more contact people will become aware of the value of other religious traditions. Citing the Tibetan experience, he said in the past there were some Muslims in Lhasa but Tibetan Buddhists knew of them as good businessmen but had no knowledge of their religion. He said that after coming to India and after visiting Kashmir and meeting Muslim scholars he himself had a better awareness of Islam.
He also talked about his interaction with a Catholic monk in Barcelona in Spain who had been meditating on love for five years in themountain. His Holiness felt much affinity with the objective of the monk.
His Holiness talked about the commonality of the different religioustraditions. His Holiness religious traditions share the same common values of love, compassion, forgiveness, tolerance and self-discipline. He said Buddhists meditate on selflessness in order to reduce self-centered attitude. In the case of theistic traditions, tremendous faith is placed in God that brings about intimacy leading to total submission. He said this reduced the self-centered attitude of the individual.
He said the concept of One Truth, One Religion may seem contradictory with the concept of Several Truths, Several Religions. However, in the case of individual One Truth, One Religion was relevant whereas in terms of the community the concept of Several Truths, SeveralReligions was necessary on account of the reality of the situation. He said that it could be that followers of different religious traditions were attending the conference.
|His Holiness the Dalai Lama answering questions from the audience at the 2nd Global Conference on World's Religions after September 11 in Montreal, Canada, on September 7, 2011. Photo/Tenzin Dorjee
When asked the best way to promote the perception of religion after September 11, His Holiness said that a conference like the one he was participating in was useful. He recalled his participation in an event in the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. to commemorate the first anniversary of September 11 during which he said that there was the impression that due to activities by some Muslims the whole Islamic tradition was being targeted, which was unfair. He said there were mischievous individuals in every religious tradition and human beings everywhere stumble on the same emotional obstacles — fear, anger, jealousy, suspicion and hatred. He said that through awareness, long term interest and wider perspective and the use of human intelligence wecould overcome destructive emotions.
|Palais des Congres, venue for the 2nd Global Conference on World's Religions after September 11 in Montreal, Canada, on September 7, 2011. Photo/Sonam Zoksang
The conference was organized by McGill University and Universite de Montreal with the following organizations being partners: The Dalai LamaFoundation Canada; 2011 Youth Chess Tournament for Peace; Canadian Centre for Ecumenisme; the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations; Brian Bronfman Family Foundation; Radio Ville Marie; Tony Blair Faith Foundation and Circle of Peace.
His Holiness then returned to his hotel for lunch.
In the afternoon, His Holiness went to the Uniprix Stadium the venueof the public talk organized by the Canada Tibet Committee (CTC). On his arrival at the open-air stadium on a somewhat cool afternoon, CTC Executive Director Dermod Travis and other staff members received him.
In his talk, “Global Citizenship Through Universal Responsibility” His Holiness talked about his commitments of promotion of human values and religious harmony.
|His Holiness the Dalai Lama waves to the audience before his talk at Uniprix Stadium in Montreal, Canada, on September 7, 2011. Photo/Tenzin Dorjee
His Holiness termed the 20th century as a century of bloodshed when nuclear weapon was used and the unhealthy events in the beginning of the21st century were a result of the negligence of the 20th century. His Holiness said that the 21st century should be a century of dialogue and that this was possible. He said hopefully within this century we could build a world without armament and without military force. We have learnt that violence would not solve problems and that there was the need to respect the views of each other. We should be ready to share each other’s problems and have better awareness for which education was important, he said.
He said peace will come through action and genuine constructive action depends on will power. Will power, in turn, depends on self-confidence, which depends on compassion, he added. He recalled an event in the Indian state of Bihar to inaugurate a Buddhist temple during which the state Chief Minister had remarked that due to the Buddha’s blessings his state would develop. His Holiness said when the time came for him to speak he mentioned that if mere Buddha’s blessings were sufficient, the state should have developed long time back as the blessings were there for thousands of years. What was needed, His Holiness had said, was that the blessings had to come through the personof an able Chief Minister.
|His Holiness the Dalai Lama answering questions from the audience during his talk at Uniprix Stadiumin Montreal, Canada, on September 7, 2011. Photo/Jean-Marc (JM) Duchesne
Drawing attention to the role of women in the development of the society, His Holiness referred to the history of leadership. He said inancient human history, there was no concept of leadership with everyonebeing equal. As population increased and farming began to be introduced, the idea of leadership emerged. At that time there was no concept of education and men dominated leadership by sheer strength of power. Gradually, as education began to play an important role, the need began to be felt for special effort to promote certain values of compassion. His Holiness said here biologically women are better placed as they have shown a stronger response to, and be more sensitive to others’ pains than men. His Holiness talked about an incident he witnessed on an overnight flight when a couple initially took care of their two children but gradually it was the mother who fended for them the entire flight whereas the father slept. He also talked about the compassionate nature of his mother from whom he had received his first experience of compassion. His Holiness also said he had mentioned to members of the European Parliament (where there were several women) thatthey needed to take a more active role in promoting compassion.
His Holiness also said the younger generation had a responsibility in determining the direction of the future society as his generation wasbecoming old. He said the younger generation needed to think more seriously on building a better and healthier society.
Thereafter, former Canadian ice hockey player George Laraque went tothe stage to ask questions collected from the public. To a question onchanging things when being overwhelmed, His Holiness said that one had to be optimistic no matter how difficult the situation was. He said reasonable goals need to be set and these should be based on truth. He called for the need to have a wider perspective. Giving the Tibetan example, His Holiness said we lost our country, which was sad, but that from another perspective it helped wake up the Tibetans from our narrow thinking. It provided the Tibetans with an opportunity to learn new ideas, he said.
To a question about the indigenous population and the Tibetan people, His Holiness said that in general he thought that communities like the First Nation in Canada or the Maori people in New Zealand mightbe faring better than indigenous people in other countries. In Tibet, he said before 1959 there was no issues on account of racial discrimination but that now Tibetans and Han Chinese faced issues, whether in the schools, offices or even in prisons.
His Holiness said he usually divided China into Four Eras. Under MaoZedong era, ideology was prominent, under Deng Xiaoping era, becoming rich was stressed, under Jiang Zemin era, the Communist Party membershipwas expanded to include other sectors of the Chinese society, and underHu Jintao era, harmonious society was stressed.
Today, he said China had undergone a big transformation with Communism becoming Capitalist Communism. His Holiness added that this development showed that in certain fields the Chinese leadership could be realistic.
|His Holiness the Dalai Lama is presented with a tennis racket by Canadian Tennis player Aleksandra Wozniak in Montreal, Canada, on September 7, 2011. Photo/Sonam Zoksang
His Holiness returned to his hotel thereafter.
On September 8 morning His Holiness departs Montreal for Mexico to continue on his next leg of his tour of the Americas.