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29july20092Dharamshala: Hundreds of international scholars, students, and other invited guests listened to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the political and religious leader of Tibet, during his public address at the University of Warsaw in Poland yesterday. “This audience looks very nice," His Holiness began, laughing, "of course, everywhere, particularly in former communist countries, there is naturally a strong concern and sympathy for those people who are still experiencing the difficulties of communist totalitarian rule."

Prior to the public talk, the University of Warsaw’s rector, Professor  Katarzyna Chalasinska-Macukow, welcomed and thanked the Tibetan leader, stating, "I would like to welcome the highly respected His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso. We are very happy that your Holiness, one of the permanent true moral authorities, accepted our invitation, and we thank you for your willingness to share with us your ideas on the values of universal responsibility. In our times, as we survey the development of modern technologies, we still need moral guidance, and we seek authorities who can provide us with a better understanding of the true of values of humanity. You are the one who has contributed most to the education of peace and ethics based on love and compassion, and who serves as a moral inspiration to the world community.”

His Holiness spoke about the clash between economic matters and moral principles, explaining that even though many parts of the free world express support for and solidarity with Tibetans—“there are slogans such as ‘free Tibet’ everywhere, in America, Eastern Europe, and Western Europe,”—in this moment of financial crisis, the economic strength of the People’s Republic of China has become increasingly important, and other nations hesitate to raise the politically sensitive issue of Tibet. “Sometimes people take money matters more seriously than moral principles, and this is a fact which we have to accept," said His Holiness.

His Holiness also spoke about the importance of secularism, clarifying that he does not mean by this a “rejection of religion”, but rather a respect for all religions, where no religion is preferred to any other—the same type of secularism defined in the Indian institution and supported by Indians like Mahatma Gandhi. He stated, “We must appreciate all religions, how they have helped humanity over the past few thousand years, and continue to inspire millions of people today.” Furthermore, he added, “We must respect non-believers, because they are part of our humanity, part of six billion human beings, and our future also depends on these people. These people themselves as human brothers and sisters need some kind of inner peace whether they believe in religion or not—it is up to the individual. They also need a sense of compassion as far as sense of compassion, so we must find a way to promote compassion which includes those non-believers, that is the only way and the secular way.”

His Holiness repeated his appeal for journalists to be as nosey as an elephants that can smell from both in front and behind. Because unfortunately everyone, even religious leaders and human rights activists, is capable of twisting facts for their own purposes, he presses that, “The media people must make a thorough investigation into what is going on, and then make it public. They must provide truthful, honest, and unbiased information. That is important, particularly in democratic countries, in order to build a healthy society.”

After the talk concluded, there was a question and answer session. When one of the Warsaw University students asked the Dalai Lama the question "What is your favorite animal?” he responded, "My favorite animals are sometimes cats and sometimes dogs. I think if attitude is concerned, it is the dog; but for cleanliness, the cat is better,” and laughed.

The rector presented His Holiness with the University’s Medal and a citation that said this medal was being conferred in recognition of His Holiness's "great service for moral inspiration to the world community." Professor Jolanta Sierakowska-Dyndo thanked his His Holiness for accepting the rector’s invitation, noting that, "It is not your first visit, so I must say we are a lucky university to have you here second time, and we also wish for a next time.”

We, The Tibet Post, would like to thank to all who have provided us the information and images to make this article complete.

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E-mail: editor@thetibetpost.com


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