His Holiness the Dalai Lama took a tour of the National Civil Rights Museum and the Lorraine Motel, the place where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968, on the same day he was awarded the National Civil Rights Museums´ 2009 Freedom Award.
He stood on the very spot where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and said a prayer after placing a white scarf over the wreath on the balcony of the second floor.
His Holiness said that his visit to the National Civil Rights Museum and Lorraine Motel was sad, but gives a conviction to fight for human rights.
The Rev. Samuel "Billy" Kyles, who was just a few feet from Dr. King when the assassination happened, and the Rev. Dr. Benjamin Hooks described the happenings of that night where they stood. "Yes, you can kill the dreamer. No, you can't kill the dream," said Kyles and Hooks in unison.
His Holiness and Dr. King are both recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize. HH Dalai Lama noted that King was an example of a freedom fighter of true non-violence like Mahatma Gandhi. "We should follow these great people's method," said His Holiness.
His Holiness also added that totalitarian regimes are outdated and the free world has the moral obligation to remind them they are not practical. He said freedom of information was essential and told of an example where Tibetans did not even know of the Cultural Revolution taking place inside their own country. To assist in the exchange of information the Dalai Lama said the media need to help in spreading the truth to the people. One human right was to know the truth; and that censorship and distorted information were outdated. "The media people should have long nose like elephant nose," said His Holiness. "You should be very honest, objective, unbiased, truthful. Investigate what is going on. Good, bad, everything. Then inform people."
At one point, His Holiness said that he and the former President of United States George W. Bush were good friends, but he had some reservations about some of his policies.
His Holiness pointed out that his main commitment consisted of two things, one being the promotion of human value and the other the harmony between religions. "Your individual future depends on the rest of the community," said His Holiness. He went on to say trust was the antidote for frustration and internal beauty was more important than external beauty. "Internal beauty really brings inner peace and good health," said His Holiness.
He closed by saying King's inner strength came from his faith. He may have had a different philosophy than Mother Teresa or Gandhi, but it didn't matter because it brought inner strength. "It is not only just some people's social responsibility, but six billion people's responsibility," said His Holiness. "Big, happier, human society and more religious harmony."
Today and tomorrow (September 25 and 26) His Holiness will give teachings on The Four Noble Truths and confer the Amitabha Permission Initiation (opakmei jenang) and Medicine Buddha Initiation at the Long Beach Arena.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama is set to travel across the United States and Canada until mid-October, holding a series of talks on spirituality.