Dharamshala: - The spiritual leader of Tibet His Holiness travelled to the Irish city of Derry on April 18, where he crossed the 'bridge of Peace' and then gave a speech to an audience of 2,500 at the cities 'Cultural Compassion' event.
Following his trip to Switzerland His Holiness travelled to the city of Derry in Northern Ireland where he was greeted by his old friend Richard Moore director of 'Children in Crossfire', who presented him with a beautiful white orchid.
Mr Moore's wife, daughters and several of his brothers and sisters also came to meet His Holiness, when he remarked that his 93 year old mother also wanted to come and visit him, but was not feeling well
This is His Holiness' second visit to the Irish city of Derry.
The first engagement for His Holiness was at Magee University, where he participated in a conversation with Prof, Brandon Hamber on the subject 'Philosophies of Peace and Conflict'. In response to Prof Hamber's question about whether the world is becoming a better place, he said:
"It's a great honour for me to participate in this discussion. I'm here because of my wonderful friend Richard Moore, who as a young man, not especially religious minded, came to embody deep human values. When tragedy befell him, he didn't allow himself to become filled with feelings of anger, hatred and resentment. The result is clear; he's now a happy, peaceful human being.
"In the world at large it seems that people are becoming fed up with war and violence and the sense of 'them' and 'us' that provokes it is breaking down."
In response to a question about his philosophy on peace, His Holiness highlighted the importance of inner peace,
"Genuine peace comes about as a result of inner peace, so it starts on an individual level. Then you share it with your family and your neighbourhood. Inner peace is the basis of trust, the basis of friendship and so the basis of a wider peace in society and the world at large. Prayer doesn't bring about peace, because it's we who create the trouble, so it's we who have to fix it."
When asked by Prof Hamber if he was optimistic about Tibet, His Holiness he spoke of the importance of the Chinese government to 'seek truth from facts, and that they must realistically investigate local conditions. He spoke of how he was encouraged by the support that the middle-way approach has been receiving.
"Some people say the new leadership seem to be taking a cue from Hu Yaobang's approach, but it's still too early to say. In the meantime, our Middle Way Approach attracts a lot of support from Chinese writers, thinkers and even ordinary villagers who get to know about it and understand it."
There was a comment made that people can become tired of working for peace and reconciliation, His Holiness replied that this kind of work is not a matter of choice, but something that we have to do. That in the long run we all have to live side by side and therefore in such situations resorting to violence is similar to suicide. Therefore a more realistic and holistic approach gives us a positive approach, whereas to engage with the destructive emotions of anger, hatred and fear bring nothing positive and only create unhappiness.
After this engagement, His Holiness stopped to visit Mr Moore's mother, where he was happy to be able to personally tell her that her son was his hero. This is because although he talks about compassion, Richard puts it into effect.
His Holiness' admiration for Mr Moore was shown again later that day at a press conference.
His Holiness reiterated that when Richard Moore encountered tragedy he kept a calm mind and as a result his life since has been peaceful and he has been able to do much good for others. If like him we can cultivate a concern for others, keeping in mind the oneness of humanity, we can build a more compassionate world.
It's unrealistic to think we can achieve this through prayer alone; we have to take action as Richard Moore has done through the work of Children in Crossfire. Altruism does not mean you neglect your own happiness, but by acting transparently, you create trust and trust creates friendship.
His Holiness crossed Derry's Peace Bridge- a bridge over the Foyle River that links the mainly Catholic west side of the city with the mainly Protestant east side, accompanied by Catholic and Protestant school children as well as Richard Moore, Bishop Ken Good and Monsignor Eamon Martin.
After crossing the bridge, His Holiness addressed 2,500 people who were at a former army barracks as the final event of Crossfire's 'Culture Compassion' event; the talk was followed by a musical performance by Christy Moore.
Richard Moore gave a welcome speech for His Holiness,
"He came to the city six years ago as part of our 10th anniversary celebrations and has been a dedicated patron of the charity since that time....... We are delighted that people from across Northern Ireland and beyond will have an opportunity to see and hear him speak during this City of Culture year."
The speech given by His Holiness was forthright in saying that there was no alternative to the peace process, adding that people have to live and work together and so must refrain from acting like animals.
"Peace is crucial to our survival and non-violence is the key to peace. This doesn't mean that we will face no problems, but we have to be prepared to deal with them through dialogue not conflict. Peace must be part of our lives and part of our culture. Non-violence doesn't mean we should be passive, because, for example, it takes will-power to restrain yourself from violence. When we have a problem, we need to look at it from many angles with a calm mind in order to understand the reality of the situation. If we don't take a realistic approach we won't reach our goal."
His Holiness concluded his speech by saying, "Please think. It's not enough to pray and to hope, we have to work hard to create and maintain compassion and peace."
Mr Moore was shot and blinded by a British soldier 40 years ago. He travelled to meet the Dalai Lama with the man who shot him after they befriended each other and they have remained firm friends ever since.