Prakash Joshi
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The historic visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama

by Prakash V. Joshi
April 18, for sale 2004

Vancouver and India by its Multicultural and Multi-faith nature could be an example for the world.
Dalai Lama and Nobel Laureates visit leaves lasting blessing for Vancouver.

Much is written about the historic visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Who was joined Archbishop Desmond Tutu from South Africa and Professor Shirin Ebadi from Iran, the three Peace Prize recipients.

I was privileged to be present at the two Public events at Pacific National Exhibition (PNE), University of British Columbia and Anglican Christ Church Cathedral, plus at a media conference at UBC, representing The Link and joining the group of 400 journalists in an effort to capture on tape, film and words some highlights and wisdom expressed. Here are some of my impressions from theses encounters...  


The first Public Event was held at PNE on April 18, 2004 to a capacity crowd of 13,000 people. His Holiness Dalai Lama spoke on Spirituality and elaborated on the nature of compassion, on the many ways of cultivating a good heart in order to help others and how to live a fulfilled life while serving, Good heart-Full Life. He commenced by recognizing Canada as a multi-racial country. A special mention was made about India where for thousands of years, people of different traditions/faiths (Hindus, Muslims, Jains, Zoroastrians, Jews, Buddhists, Christians, and Sikhs) lived alongside in harmony. In fact he mentioned Muslims in India were closer to other traditions/faiths than Muslims in Indonesia or Malaysia. Even though he kept on referring himself to be a ‘simple Buddhist monk’ and eventually launched into a detailed explanation of  Buddhist values and analysing the spiritual and philosophical nature of  ‘I / Self’, he was all the time conscious of the presence of  large number of  non-Buddhists in the audience and encouraged to keep their own faith and become better. He described the three poisons of the mind,  attachment, hatred and dissolution and the importance of deep value for fellow beings and having an ethical mind. ‘Moreover let the conscious be your witness’. Mindfulness of the every day life to finally achieve  an eternal transformation.

In the afternoon, at PNE, it was again a complete sold out event. His Holiness Dalai Lama spoke on ‘ Universal Responsibility’. His long time friend, Archbishop Desmond Tutu delivered a fantastic upbeat and a humorous  introduction. He spoke of an incident in San Francisco  where a young girl, all excited had come running to him and said, “Pleased to meet you President Mandela”. He added this kind of a mistake would never happen with His Holiness as he is so well known around the world due to the positive energy and warm heartedness with a bubbling laughter  that he imparts. Even though his Holiness had been in exile for 45 years, living now in India and 80,000 Tibetans have followed him, he had still not shown any signs of  bitterness towards China and would like to resolve all issues through a meaningful dialogue.

His Holiness spoke on materialism, desire to want more and more at the cost of human exploitation and  the environment. There is general agreement amongst all including the learned regarding the decline in family and cultural values. As people become more self-centred, selfish , greedy, children are neglected. It is scientifically proved that persons who are self-indulged, using ‘I’, ‘me’ and ‘myself’ are more prone to get a heart attack. As there is greater interdependency between people and countries and if you destroy others than you might destroy yourself. This reality should be taught in schools, proper dialogue, compromising, environmental concerns are not restricted to boundaries.

A sadhu in India might look deprived but he is calm and content. In order to get a happy life, calm mind is important and in turn to acquire this, jealousy/anger and strong attachment has to be removed in one’s life. Strong compassion towards others is again the answer.

Questions which were asked by the audience and answered by His Holiness Dalai Lama

Q.  Do you want violence to be used to free Tibet.?
A.  No, No violence at all, Live peacefully side-by-side, avoid violence.

Q.  Do you know more than others?
A.  In our discussions earlier with Desmond Tutu, we did not know that this is an ice-arena  (PNE) and hockey players make such a lot of money, were in the wrong profession.

Q.  Do you feel sad sometimes?
A.   There has to be an analytical meditation, Look at it at a different angle, be positive. News from Tibet makes me sad but I’ve had new opportunity, meet different people, scientists, politicians and Desmond Tutu. If I was still in Tibet, I might have been more orthodox, conservative. Everything is relative-Buddhist point of view.

Q.  What do you think of terrorism?
A.  I think Desmond Tutu can answer better ‘cause of his work with “Truth and Re-concliation. (Archbishop Desmond Tutu: We know terrorism is evil but we are obligated to find root causes of it)

Q. Are you afraid of death, why or why not?
A.  As per Buddhist point of you, at this time connection between body and mind is stopped. No regrets If  you had a meaningful life. Right attitude. Birth is foundation of death.

Q. How can we stop worrying?
A.  Look at life at different angles and be realistic.

Q. Why are they no women Dai Lama’s
A.  There are senior positions held by women in the Dharamsala. But who knows a time will come when one might be selected.




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