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18thaugust2011estonia22Tallinn: - From August 16-18,  the spiritual leader of Tibet, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama visited the Estonian capital, Tallinn. This was His Holiness’ third visit to this small Northern European country; he visited as well in 2001 and 1991. During these three days he met with Tibet support groups, some members of the Parliament, and unofficially with the Estonian President. The highlight of his trip was his public talk, “A Call for Universal Responsibility,” held at Freedom Square.

Thousands of people gathered at Freedom Square to meet his Holiness and his delegation during the public talk on August 17.

The talks began with a greeting from Director of the Buddist Institute Sven Grünberg.  He gave His Holiness a gift package with Estonian and Tibetan flags, stressing that these flags were not “Made in China.”   Many people in the audience also had Tibetan flags with them. When talking about the role of the flag, His Holiness said that the Tibetan flag is very important both in Tibet and outside.  In 1954, when he met with the leader of the People’s Republic of China, Mao Zedong, the leader had asked if His Holiness has his own flag.   His Holiness answered,  “yes, I have.”  Mao Zedong said that yes, His Holiness could keep the flag. His Holiness said jokingly that if you have any problems because of the flag and someone says that carrying it supports separatism, you can say that you have permission from Mao Zedong.

His Holiness said also that the purpose of Tibetans actions is not to break down China but to keep practicing Tibetan culture. He also said that he is no longer the political leader of Tibet but a cultural and religious symbol as he broke the 400-year old tradition by giving his political responsibilities to the democratically elected leaders.   

In his talks about universal responsibility, His Holiness stressed the importance of compassion, saying  that through compassion people can achieve peace of mind. If our mind is in peace we can be happy and live a good life even if we have problems.  As an example, he told the audience that despite what is going on in Tibet, he has been able to keep his peace of mind.

18thaugust2011estonia21His Holiness said “when I was 16 I lost my freedom, when I was 24 I lost my country. For 50 years I have heard bad news from Tibet but my mind is still in peace”.

His Holiness said that many of our contemporary problems are caused by lack of compassion and understanding. The reasons for the economic crises today are also greed, ignorance and speculations.

At the same time His Holiness is optimistic about the future of the humankind. He said that people have become more mature during the 20th century. While at the beginning of the 20th century people were proud to go to war, they are now protesting against war.  Furthermore, totalitarian systems that started in Moscow in 1917 fell in Europe in less than a century not because of external pressure but because of people themselves; internal pressure. His Holiness said that the same is happening in Cuba and will also happen in China and North Korea.

After his talks, His Holiness answered some questions from the audience.  At first he was asked why he came for the third time to a small and politically insignificant country like Estonia. His Holiness answered: “The reason is simple, I was invited and I came. I have old friends and supporters here, I wanted to meet them. I already told the President, members of Parliament and media that sometimes small countries like the Baltic States and Estonia can be more moral and upright than the big countries. Small states can more firmly stand for their moral principles. Big countries are more concerned about economics and that is sad.”

His Holiness said that he likes Tallinn because it is not too big. “At 5 o ´clock in the morning I saw from my hotel window only a few cars, a few buses and one pedestrian, otherwise the city was empty. Not like New Delhi, New York and Washington where there is traffic and people 24 hours a day”.

At the end of his Talk His Holiness thanked all the people who listened to him patiently despite the hot sun and promised to visit Estonia again whenever he is invited.

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