Atlanta, Georgia: - "Tibetans are no anti-Chinese" said the spiritual leader of Tibet His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his meeting with members of the China-Tibet Initiative at the Emory University Campus in Atlanta, Georgia, US.
According to the office of His Holiness The Dalai Lama, a Chinese student gave a brief introduction explaining that initially five students had agreed the need to arrange meetings between Chinese and Tibetan students and that their number has grown to eighty. The Nobel peace laureate said getting to know each other was the most important thing and suggested theirs was a model for conflict resolution among students.
The Tibetan spiritual leader reiterating his often expressed belief that as human beings we are all the same. He approved of the students' initiative saying "Whenever we have the opportunity to improve things we should take it. On the other hand, no matter how difficult it may be, we should always to deal with problems we face in a non-violent way."
He recalled the unraveling of the confidence and optimism with which he had returned to Tibet from Beijing in the summer of 1955 after meeting Chairman Mao Zedong and other Chinese leaders.
Resentment of reforms forcefully imposed on Tibetans without regard for their different conditions in 1956 and 1957 led to the crisis in Lhasa in 1959 in the course of which His Holiness left. There was hope in 1980 when Hu Yaobang took a more conciliatory stance, which eventually came to nothing. His Holiness explained the origins and development of the Middle Way Approach.
Asked what Chinese and Tibetan students could learn from each other he said he didn't know, but the main thing was to make clear that Tibetans are not anti-Chinese. As to what he would say if he were to meet President Xi Jinping, His Holiness said he didn't know, but will decide when that happens. He mentioned friends who suggest that Xi Jinping is more realistic and expressed admiration for his tackling corruption.
In the Glenn Memorial Auditorium, twelve hundred students and staff were gathered to listen to a dialogue between His Holiness and President James Wagner on the topic of Secular Ethics.
"I feel it a great honour to be here again at this distinguished university which has developed such strong relations with Tibetans," His Holiness began. "You have made me an honorary Professor, but I describe myself as a hopeless professor, because I am a somewhat lazy person and I haven't done any homework."
This drew much laughter from the audience. "Day by day, if we watch television news, read the newspapers or listen to the radio, there is a constant stream of grim news about people being killed here and there. Many of these events are due to an excess of suspicion, anger and fear.
They are evidence that human beings today are facing a moral crisis. Why is this? Because of a lack of real conviction in moral principles that would be a source of inner strength."
He said there is a gap between appearance and reality that science and education try to close. In the past ethics, was the preserve of the church, but now that the influence of church and family values has declined, responsibility falls upon the education system.
His Holiness quoted friends who agree that there is a moral crisis. In the USA, the greatest democratic nation on earth, the leader of the free world, he said the gap between rich and poor is growing, as it is in India and China. In such circumstances His Holiness feels that educational institutions have a responsibility to find a comprehensive solution.
"Here in my university, this hopeless professor can at least express a warm-hearted concern for the world," His Holiness added. The dialogue between His Holiness and President Wagner that followed touched on several issues.
The achievements of the Robert A Paul Emory-Tibet Science Initiative were celebrated at the Cox Ballroom. A short video including some of the activities in Dharamshala, India was shown.
Faculty members were presented certificates of appreciation and several participants in the initiative shared their experiences with the gathering. Tribute was paid to His Holiness's far-sighted inspiration as many of the Initiative's substantial achievements in terms of programs designed, students trained, technical terms coined, textbooks designed and translations completed were outlined.
An audience of 800 gathered afternoon to listen to a panel discussion involving His Holiness and Emory scholars from the Department of Religion and the Center for Ethics. Wendy Farley asked His Holiness what to say to her students who open their hearts to compassion and then can't bear it.
His Holiness explained that there are different levels of compassion. There is compassion that is a simple wish, 'May these beings be free from this suffering' and the more engaged intention to actually do something about it.