Matsuyama, Japan: On his arrival at the provincial capital of Matsuyama early morning today, His Holiness the Dalai Lama interacted with the local media at Funaya Hotel for over an hour.
“I am not demanding independence for Tibet. I am only seeking genuine autonomy as enshrined in the constitution of People’s Republic of China,” said His Holiness the Dalai Lama in response to a question. Expressing his hope in the Chinese people, His Holiness said that the number of articles and commentaries, critical of China’s policies on Tibet in the past one year by Chinese scholars and intellectuals were encouraging signs.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama on his first visit to the largest city of Japan’s Shikoku Island said that he felt fortunate at being able to make pilgrimage to the holy temples in Japan and appreciated the ‘beautiful natural scenery’.
“There were many people at the temples yesterday when I offered prayers. They looked happy, I am also happy,” said His Holiness.
Responding to a question, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said that the last five decades in exile has proved as an opportunity to preserve the Tibetan cultural heritage, which remains in a ‘more pristine form in exile than in Tibet’.
“At present, there is a healthy community of over 1,60,000 Tibetans in exile and a new younger generation, equipped with basic modern education is emerging to take responsibilities,” said His Holiness. “Personally, I met a lot of people in the last 50 years and learned a lot from them. It has been a very rewarding experience,” added His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Stressing that the world today is giving ‘too much importance’ on the ‘secondary aspects of faith, nationality and social background,’ His Holiness said, “Wherever I go, I always feel I am meeting one of my own. All human beings are part of the same human family and our happiness depends on each other’s well-being.”
Compassion brings the will to help others
In the afternoon, His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave a public talk at the Ehime Budokan stadium on ‘The ways of leading a happy life’.
A grand reception was accorded to the His Holiness the Dalai Lama with traditional Buddhist prayers and live performances by Tenzin Dhondup, a Tibetan artiste living in Japan and his partner Yuka Kawabe.
“When you have compassion, your basic mental state becomes strong and stable. Just like a strong immune system which fights away disease, with a stable mind you can confidently face problems and dangers,” said His Holiness to a capacity crowd of 5,300 people.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama stressed on the need for compassion in developing a ‘sense of global responsibility and a holistic point of view’ to confront the challenges of war and conflict.
“The entire world is a part of ‘we’. Economically, environmentally we are interdependent. Looking only after the interest of yourself, your family and your nation creates problems,” said His Holiness.
His Holiness encouraged the audience to cultivate ‘infinite compassion’ through practice and advocated new means of fostering moral ethics by adopting ‘secular means’.
“These days people spend lots of money on cosmetics. Put some effort in bringing inner beauty. There is no expenditure in making your inner beautiful,” advised His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama is scheduled to visit Japan’s southern-most island of Okinawa, tomorrow.
–Report filed by Sherab Woeser, Editor of Tibetan Bulletin