‘All religions carry same messages of positive human values’

Cedar Falls, Iowa: His Holiness the Dalai Lama left Madison, WI, on Monday morning for Cedar Falls in Iowa for his next leg of the visit of the United States.

On his arrival at the airport, His Holiness was received by officials of the University of Northern Iowa, which is hosting his visit here. Seven Tibetan students of the University were at the hotel to welcome His Holiness.

In the afternoon, His Holiness first met a group of Chinese during which they exchanged views on Tibetan-Chinese relationship. His Holiness shared with them his commitment for a solution for Tibet within the framework of the People’s Republic of China. His Holiness said sincerity was essential for the Tibetan issue to be resolved. He clarified some of the perceptions regarding the past as well as the future status of Tibet.

Thereafter, His Holiness went to meet the University President Dr. Benjamin Allen and together they proceeded to the reception for guests of the University at the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center lobby. President Allen in his introductory remark said that he was deeply honoured to welcome His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet to the University.

In his brief address, His Holiness said he was very happy to be at Cedar Falls, Iowa, saying this was his first visit to the region. He said since 1979 he had been travelling regularly to the United States, but missed coming to this city. “So your invitation gives me opportunity to get a taste of this beautiful state,” His Holiness said turning to President Allen.

He said wherever he went he emphasised the sameness of all human beings. He said everyone desired happiness and people pursued different avenues to achieve it, some choosing religion and others choosing some other avenue. In terms of religion, His Holiness said all religions carried the same messages, the messages of love, compassion, forgiveness and tolerance. He said different philosophy is simply a different way of approach. He said we should have faith in one’s own tradition but respect all religious traditions.

The ultimate sources of happy life are not external factors, he said. His Holiness thus talked about the importance of warm heartedness, generous feeling and human affection.

His Holiness then consecrated a sand Mandala of Yamantaka constructed by three Tibetan monks, Ven. Gedun Kalsang and Ven.Jampa Thuten, both of Gyuto Wheel of Dharma Monastery, Minneapolis, and Ven. Thupten Dorjee, asst. professor, University of Arkansas, who is a visiting professor at University of Northern Iowa this spring. This Mandala is part of the spiritual experience of Tibet programme by the University in conjunction with the visit of His Holiness.

His Holiness explained the significance of the Mandala to the gathering by saying that the tradition of using coloured sand was from South India and that the Mandala itself was for visualisation. He explained the concept of Emptiness according to Buddhism. The Mandala’s dismantling ceremony is being held on 19 May. His Holiness concluded by thanking all the supporters of the University.

His Holiness then returned to the hotel.

On 18 May 2010, His Holiness is participating in the following two events at the University of Northern Iowa, both of which will be web cast live on http://live.uni.edu/.

The first is “A Conversation with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet: Educating for a Non-violent World,” from 9:30am to 11:00am. The second is from 2:00pm to 3:30pm during which he will give the keynote address for the 2009 Joy Cole Corning Distinguished Leadership Lecture Series on “The Power of Education.”

The University of Northern Iowa has created a logo comprising of the design of an unending knot, which part of the eight auspicious symbols in Tibetan Buddhist culture, superimposed by the words, Learning, Understanding and Wisdom.

–Report filed by Bhuchung K Tsering of ICT