Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama recently spoke in favourof vegetarianism and against the fur trade, and expressed his wish tosee a one country-two systems’ style of government in Tibet at aninternational gathering of 100,000 people at a Buddhist peace ceremonyin south India.
Speaking specifically to Chinese nationals, he stressed that he was notadvocating independence for Tibet. He said that the Tibetan AutonomousRegion was experiencing unprecedented economic progress and developmentof infrastructure by being a part of China, and he would like to see asimilar system developed there as the one implemented in the Hong KongSpecial Administrative Region.
‘I am not asking for Tibet to be a separate country from China,’ saidthe Dalai Lama, with his trademark smile, ‘so please don’t call me aseparatist!’
The Dalai Lama was speaking at the teaching of the Kalachakra inAmaravati in January 5-16, 2006. Described as the ‘Kalachakra for WorldPeace’, the Buddhist ceremony can reduce tension and violence in theworld, according to the Dalai Lama. He considers it so important forglobal society as a whole, that he has crossed the planet to give theelaborate initiation 30 times.
Amongst other practices, the ceremony involves the creation of theKalachakra mandala, a construction of intricate, coloured sand made ina sacred ritual taking place over many days, after which the mandala isswept away and dispersed to the elements as an expression of theimpermanence of all things.
In line with the Buddhist principle of respect for all life, the DalaiLama encouraged everyone present to follow a vegetarian diet, citingthe inspiring example of a recent Hindu festival where millions ofpeople pledged to stay vegetarian for an extended period of time.
He said that the benefits of not killing animals were immeasurable, andthat he was proud of those Tibetans who campaigned for animal welfareand encouraged vegetarianism.
The Dalai Lama said he deplored the new fashion in Tibet of costumesadorned with endangered animal furs and skins. He said if people wereinterested in ornaments, the best ornament would be of their innerdevelopment.
Travelling from 75 different countries, the vast group of people thatconverged for two weeks on the quiet, holy town of Amaravati, nearHyderabad, reflected the modern face of Tibetan Buddhism with peoplefrom as far as Sweden and Argentina, film stars and Himalayan nomadsamong the audience.
The Dalai Lama said that while China was the more senior’ student inthe teachings of the Buddha compared to Tibet ñ as Buddhism was spreadto China before it reached Tibet from India ñ the Tibetan language waswidely considered best suited to explaining profound concepts in thereligion. He reiterated the importance of preserving the Tibetanlanguage and its culture for the benefit of Buddhists worldwide and foranyone seeking happiness in general.
Speaking about the nature of happiness, the Dalai Lama said although wemay have endless physical comforts and modern facilities, if we werenot mentally at ease, we would not really enjoy them. He said peoplewhose minds were at peace ñ regardless of what difficult conditionsthey were in ñ were relaxed and contented.
By Thubten Yangkyi
First published in Positive News Hong Kong