-Filed by Office of Tibet, Brussels-
Amsterdam: The first programme of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the Netherlands began at the famous Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) in Amsterdam today.
Driving under just an hour from Rotterdam, His Holiness was received at the main entrance of the church by the dignitaries, led by its Director Ms Cathelijne Broer.
For over an hour His Holiness participated in two small sessions of dialogue with scientists – high tech and social.
Essentially His Holiness posited that material science has limitations but inner consciousness is much deeper and limitless.
The subsequent meeting with the press was brief. Three main issues were covered. He said it was immoral for people to make money by selling weapons.
He also said that he had addressed the issue of sexual abuse by Buddhist teachers as early as 1993 during a conference of western Buddhist teachers.
Referring to his recent meeting with some victims of abuse he said that he had suggested to them that they should appeal to Buddhist leaders to address the issue who will meet soon in November.
Making the case for peaceful interfaith harmony is possible he gave the example of India. He gave the merit to the Indian version of secularism which embraces respect for all religions and faith as against your the western interpretation of a state without religion. He urged the press to use its medium to spread and educate the world for better harmony amongst various religions and faiths.
His Holiness was then escorted to the exhibition on the Life of Lord Buddha. Amongst it was a huge thangka loaned to the Nieuwe Kerk by Gadhen Phodrang.
Soon thereafter His Holiness sat down for lunch with 40 old friends of His Holiness and Tibet.
At the end of it, His Holiness recalled a Tibetan who has memories of him having a relationship with the early Dalai Lamas and who is still alive. He said for Buddhist, therefore, friendship has meaning for more than one life, in fact, for many lives. Whereas those didn’t believe in re-birth it has only a life-long importance. This was said to emphasise that the friendship with those at the lunch and who has had supported Tibet will be cherished for many lives. For that long too the Tibetans will be grateful to them.
Tomorrow, His Holiness will meet with the Tibetan Communities of the Netherlands, Belgium, France, UK, Austria, Spain etc followed by a 30th Anniversary event of the International Campaign for Tibet and the public talk at the Ahoy Hall.