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09thjuly2011kalachakraDharamshala: - On July 9, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama gave a talk on world peace at the West Lawn of the United States Capitol building in Washington, DC. Thousands gathered for the talk, which was free and open to the public. The event was organized by the Capital Area Tibetan Association. The spiritual leader of Tibet voiced optimism that China will reform and allow greater freedoms for the people under the communist regime.

His Holiness talked about how cultivating inner peace contributes to peace in the world. He advised, "Try to create calm mind, peaceful mind, then that creates (peace) within our own family, within our own community. That is the way to change our society."

Cultivating inner peace begins with developing warm-heartedness, according to His Holiness. He emphasized that its easier to have compassion when one realizes that all human beings are the same in that "everybody has a desire to have a happy life and a successful life."

One should maintain inner calm and peace no matter what is going on in the outside world, His Holiness said. He drew on his own experiences as a young monk and political leader in Tibet during China's takeover, claiming he never lost his inner calmness.

His Holiness said that compassion benefits others and well as oneself. He talked about the effects of selfishness on health, citing one New York scientist who found that people who focused on "I" or "we" had a greater risk of having a heart attack.

He also spoke about using logic in the practice of compassion. He drew upon an eighth century Buddhist master to give this advice: "if there is a solution to a problem, there is no need to worry, but if there is no solution then there is no use worrying."

Responding to a question from the audience about whether he hoped to return to Tibet one day, His Holiness expressed hope. Drawing on the example of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, he expressed the opinion that "things will certainly change."

"Certainly, I think the voice of freedom, democracy, rule of law, more and more voice(s are) now coming."

His Holiness also spoke about his own decision to step down as the political leader of the Tibetan people. Speaking of his respect for the political system in the US, he said he had long admired the separation of church and state in the US system.

"Now I can tell people religious institutions and political institutions must be separate. My statement is now honest," His Holiness said.

His Holiness will address a conference on Democratic China and the Future of Tibet on July 10. He will continue offering the Kalachakra Initiation in Washington DC until July 15.

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