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26august20095Taipei: Tibet's spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama will visit Taiwan next week for five days. The Taiwan Democratic Progressive Party's issued the statement on Wednesday, reporting that, "His Holiness is scheduled to arrive Sunday and visit the southern Kaohsiung county, which was devastated when deadly Typhoon Morakot struck the island more than two weeks ago, killing hundreds of people."

The Taiwanese statement announced that, “Taiwan Democratic Progressive Party  (DPP) leaders from seven cities and counties have invited His Holiness the Dalai Lama to visit Taiwan on August 31 to hold public lectures; in order to bless the people of where natural disaster hit this month." His Holiness has accepted the invitation and is expected to stay until 4 September.

"We hope that the Taiwanese government will provide a visa to the Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama," Mr. Cheng Wen Can, the Speaker of DPP, told the Tibet Post International.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has repeatedly expressed his deep gratitude for the strong support of the Taiwanese people for Tibet. "With His Holiness the Dalai Lama's blessing, we will gain the courage to rise above our grief, gather up the momentum to rebuild our homes, and honor our lost loved ones, who will be in another world to help us!" the statement read.

Typhoon Morakot - Taiwan's worst natural disaster in five decades – has unleashed massive landslides and flash floods that have killed over 400 people throughout the country. According to the Taiwanese statement, "The most serious hit was in southern Taiwan, where the majority of people were displaced, having lost the land which they depended on. Sadness enveloped our country, and our Father's Day became a sad day.”

The Taiwanese statement explained that in the wake of this immense disaster, the country needs spiritual guidance and renewal as well as practical reconstruction. The DPP reports, "At present, the first phase of relief work has ended, followed by a long period of reconstruction.  Reconstruction is urgently needed, not only to replace physical losses, but also to repair the intangible spiritual harm left by this disaster. The reconstruction must help people to recover from their grief and gather the courage required to overcome difficulties in successfully rebuilding their homes. The most immediate and important task is to stand up bravely and confront our grief, wipe away our tears, and begin again without losing time."

The statement continues, "Today, therefore, leaders of the southern seven counties and cities have announced their decision to extend a joint invitation to the Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama, to visit Taiwan on August 31 in order to hold public lectures and to pray for the people of Taiwan."

The report highlights the great spiritual significance His Holiness holds for the distressed Taiwanese people, stating, "His Holiness the Dalai Lama is not just the Tibetan spiritual leader, not just a religious leader, but also a universal symbol of love and peace. For many years his compassion has soothed and comforted the hearts of hundreds of millions. For this reason, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. We believe that his prayers and lectures will help stabilize the minds of those recovering from the typhoon, and help Taiwan rise up again."

The statement confirmed that His Holiness has received their invitation. The Dalai Lama responded to the invitation with characteristic empathy, stating,  "I have witnessed the pain of my fellow beings who were affected by the typhoon and landslides in Taiwan, and am able to understand the suffering of the victims.” He also emphasized that the people of Taiwan have shown their deep and caring friendship to the Tibetan people, and thus, "I was very open to the invitation, and ready to come to Taiwan to attend the event."  

During His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s 31 August-4 September visit, he will hold public talks with Taiwanese people from heavily affected areas, and bless the typhoon victims. “Here we welcome his arrival, and pray together for the future of Taiwan," the statement concluded.

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E-mail: editor@thetibetpost.com