Dalai Lama: Fight Violence with Peace, Poverty with Compassion

Theres’ a bit of strange irony in the fact that the Dalai Lama’s visit to Idaho today to sponsored by Idaho’s Republican Governor.

Personally, I have a great deal of admiration for the Dalai Lama. He is without a doubt one of the world’s great spiritual leaders of our times. His message transcends politics and speaks to the heart, bringing hope for the future…

Dalai Lama: Fight violence with peace, poverty with compassion
By John Miller – Associated Press Writer

HAILEY, Idaho — With his amplified words bouncing off the mountains surrounding Sun Valley, the Dalai Lama told a crowd of about 10,000 people Sunday to fight violence with peace and poverty with compassion.

The wide-ranging address by the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists touched on the Chinese occupation of his homeland, the fourth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks and Gulf Coast hurricane destruction.


The Dalai Lama brought the crowd to giggles with his mix of one-liners and a look of good-natured surprise.

The 1989 Nobel Peace Prize winner – for his advocacy of nonviolent resistance to China’s occupation of Tibet, from which he’s been exiled since 1959 – urged victims of the Sept. 11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina to turn their tragedies into something that makes them stronger.

“Your sadness, your anger will not solve the problem,” the 70-year old monk said. “More sadness, more frustration only brings more suffering for yourself.”

The speech was televised live on CNN.

As he condemned violence, the Dalai Lama acknowledged conflicted feelings over the U.S. invasion of Iraq, telling reporters at a news conference following his hour-long address that “history would decide.”

His speech came on a day when many Americans were reflecting on the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and on the intervening four years in which nearly 1,900 American troops have died in Iraq and more in Afghanistan. In Washington, D.C., an estimated 15,000 people marched from the Pentagon, site of one of the 9-11 suicide attacks, to the National Mall in support of more than 100,000 troops abroad.

“Violence is unpredictable,” said the Dalai Lama, who has won support from the Bush administration, including Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, for his campaign to restore Tibetan political autonomy. “In the case of Afghanistan, perhaps there’s something positive. In Iraq, it’s too early to tell.”

The Dalai Lama came to Idaho at the invitation of wealthy financial consultant and Buddhist Kiril Sokoloff, who has raised thousands of dollars for Tibetan school children.

The visit cost Sokoloff a reported $1 million and included an army of 200 lime-green-clad local volunteers, dozens of professional security officers in yellow T-shirts, and U.S. State Department bodyguards.

Three more days of events were planned in Sun Valley, including an invitation-only address Monday morning to business and financial professionals. At 2 p.m. Monday, he’s due to speak to thousands of Idaho school children at a gathering organized by Gov. Dirk Kempthorne.

Asked why he brought the Dalai Lama to Sun Valley, Sokoloff said he relied on knowledge from the financial world – his Boca Raton, Fla.-based company, 13D Research, publishes a stock-market newsletter – to determine the timing was right.

“I’ve had a powerful vision for the past two years that we are at a pivotal moment in history,” Sokoloff told the crowd. “The Dalai Lama has joined us for one specific reason: To show us the way to the tipping point for global compassion.”

Much of the audience seemed to agree, as they interrupted the speech by the Dalai Lama – the title means “Ocean of Wisdom” – with polite and frequent applause.

The Dalai Lama arrived at Wood River High School in a white Chevrolet Suburban. He wore a traditional maroon robe trimmed in vivid yellow and was flanked by four similarly dressed monks, all with shaven heads.

He repeatedly poked fun at himself, and at some of the questions he was asked in an informal Q&A session following his address.

Asked what the secret to compassion was, the man whose worldly name is Tenzin Gyatso looked at the container he was sipping from and said: “Water. And sleep.”

Gripping both sides of the rostrum, he urged his listeners to become more introspective and to practice “inner warmheartedness.”

It’s this humorous touch, members of the crowd said, that makes the Dalai Lama such an appealing figure. David Burdge, who traveled from Sacramento, Calif., for the address, said: “He has a lighthearted character.”

Scholars say the Dalai Lama has become a pop-culture hero.

“He’s managed single-handedly to make Buddhism popular, from Australia to Europe to South America,” said Robert W. Clark, a Stanford University professor who spent more than eight years in a Buddhist monastery in the 1960s and 1970s and has worked as a translator for the Dalai Lama.

The son of a barley, buckwheat and potato farmer, the Dalai Lama took reporters’ questions about his views on the environment, nuclear-waste dumping in Tibet and Idaho, and the divide between rich and poor in America – a gap underscored by TV images from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama since Hurricane Katrina struck.

His advice to residents of Idaho’s wealthiest region: “Even if you have 100 diamonds, you still only have 10 fingers.”

Thhe crowd was peppered with well-known faces. Tony Robbins, the motivational speaker, stood just to the right of the stage wearing sunglasses.

“He goes beyond religion, he goes to his heart,” Robbins said afterward. “For somebody who has lived through all he has, he can still show a level of love and compassion that inspires the human spirit.”

Related Links:
Dalai Lama encourages hurricane Katrina victims to not lose hope
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Dalai Lama provides ‘simple’ inspiration
Prayer wheel arrives for visit

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9 Responses to Dalai Lama: Fight Violence with Peace, Poverty with Compassion

  1. Ginny in CO says:

    I think this is more accurate than the idea that he is a pop-cultural hero.

    “I’ve had a powerful vision for the past two years that we are at a pivotal moment in history,” Sokoloff told the crowd. “The Dalai Lama has joined us for one specific reason: To show us the way to the tipping point for global compassion.”

    A lot of us recognize this moment in history. I am personally more hopeful because this incredibly wise and bright man has built the following he has and will be a much needed voice in the conflict. He earned this respect; it is not defined by generation, socio-economic status, religion, culture, nationality or race.

    IMHO, Tenzin Gyatso will draw more to this movement than the Pope or any other religious leader. BECAUSE “He goes beyond religion,”

    It doesn’t get any simpler than that.

  2. Teresa says:

    He’s a good spokesman because he has political experience as well. He is more believable than most religious leaders and his message is compassion, which he repeats often enough so that the public can relate to the buzz word…something they desperately need to find their location in time and space at any moment.

    Compassion will be the upcoming thing. The huge powerful response to rescue their own that came from the public indicates an inherent desire to help one another. This is in direct opposition to Republican Darwinian philsophy so it certainly appears to be out of synch with the true character of this country.

    A major adjustment is coming, I believe, and this guy’s message will resonate with Americans.

    To me,I see that it took an act of nature to reveal our natural selves.

    Check out this beautiful diary:
    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2005/9/11/6215/76561

  3. kj says:

    The diary on Kos was a very lovely read. Loved the part about Bloomington, Indiana, which was a mecca for me in my youth.

    Re: the pivot point: yes. I know some friends, poets and artists, who felt as I did, we were drawn back to the surface of life after years (although alas, I was always political!) of living and breathing for our art. I used to spend hours every day dream journaling… mapping the patterns of the unconsciousness… and then creating concrete poems and stories from those dreams. It was a luxurious life. And deeply spiritual. And then one day, it ended. No more time for mapping the unconsciousness… because the nightmares, the “dark man dreams” of unbridled ambition and greed, had become all too real with the rise of GWB.

    Today, hopefully, there is beginning to be some balance. I’m returning to my roots as a writer and no longer selling the slight talent I manage to a Bush supporter.

    The Dalai Lama is one of the most powerful people on the planet today. My friend Nancy thinks he is one of the very few realized beings alive.

    “Let compassion be the center of my being.” Hard for this hot-headed Aries to do, but what’s life without a challenge? 😉

    I’m so glad I found you all here. I feel at home with this mix of compassionate, hardworking, clear-eyed people.

    Namaste. 😉

  4. kj says:

    First read this article on DCP. The writers are EMS workers from San Francisco and contributors to Socialist Worker.

    Here’s the link: http://www.socialistworker.org/2005-2/556/556_04_RealHeroes.shtml

    Trapped in New Orleans by the flood–and martial law
    The real heroes and sheroes of New Orleans
    September 9, 2005

    LARRY BRADSHAW and LORRIE BETH SLONSKY are emergency medical services (EMS) workers from San Francisco and contributors to Socialist Worker. They were attending an EMS conference in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck. They spent most of the next week trapped by the flooding–and the martial law cordon around the city. Here, they tell their story. MORE AT LINK

  5. Ben Mercadante says:

    All very well put, the simple focus on not spinning out of control and focusing on the dire human needs of our day. Am I hyper critical, or why do I wonder that our religious leaders can’t be so matter of fact or engaging when it comes to these kind of concepts? I will allways be in awe of the calm yet expeditious resolve the oriential take has on religion and the human condition. I like the beyond religion line…Ginny has that so right.

  6. Teresa says:

    kj,

    I’ve had exactly the same experience. I was living in my artist’s world of sririt and imagination when it all came crashing down with the invasion… literally… a heavy piece of furniture caused a severe muscle pull in my chest, whereupon I had a panic attack, smoked a cigarette which made me sick, and ended up in pain for a month and a half. I knew I was unable to stay uninvolved. I did, quit smoking, however, so I got a glimmer of what might eventually come out of this horror.

    I, too, want to bring the balance into my life. I feel that now, more than usual, there will be a need for the nourishment that the arts provides.

    The most important thing is to continue not to sell ourselves out but to use our talent compassionately.

  7. kj says:

    Teresa! Talk about a literal experience!

    The arts provide an opportunity to heal, for the makers and the receivers. I don’t know which part is more rewarding… being in the flow of creating, or the abandonment feeling that comes with participating in a work of art.
    🙂

  8. kj says:

    Because experiencing works of art, any kind, makes me feel like I’m particapating with it. It isn’t separate.

  9. Teresa says:

    Creating a work of art is when I feel the most alive and most connected with the benevolent forces of the thing we’re in here.