Tokyo — His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama's arrival in Tokyo on Thursday, April 2, 2015 marked his 21st trip to Japan. He began his 13 day trip in Sapporo where he graced an audience of over 1800 at a nonprofit organized event highlighting Universal Responsibility.
"We need a sense of the oneness of the 7 billion human beings alive today. When I meet other people, I don't think about my being different from them, about my being Tibetan, Buddhist or even the Dalai Lama. I only think about being a human being like them."
Upon his return to Tokyo, His Holiness was invited to speak to a live audience in the Japan Doctors Association Hall, in addition to 166,000 viewers streaming the event live online. His Holiness mentioned the honor he felt in addressing a gathering of people from a field he so highly respected. He explained that when a patient comes to a hospital in need of care, they are not asked their faith, nationality or other background information; they are regarded as human beings in need of help, as patients in need of care. He noted that what doctors practiced was of the utmost importance in life, caring indiscriminately, developing unbiased love and care for others.
Another day in Tokyo involved another busy schedule. His Holiness spent the morning at the Liaison Office of his Representative for East-Asia, where he highlighted the historical connections between Tibetans and Japanese, being interviewed by Sapio magazine, and then gracing a Buddhist studies conference organized by the Drepung Gomang Academy of Japan.
His Holiness perhaps spoke most bluntly during the magazine interview. The interviewer asked about the future of the institution of the Dalai Lama, to which His Holiness answered candidly, "the lineage of Dalai Lamas began in the late 14th century, whereas the establishment of Buddhism in Tibet took place about seven centuries before that. So, similarly, in the future, whether a Dalai Lama is there or not the Buddhist tradition will remain. The Nalanda tradition is not dependent on one individual." When the interviewer protested by claiming that the Dalai Lama was the symbol of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, His Holiness simply said that this was an incorrect interpretation.
Monday, April 6th His Holiness joined a panel taking part in a Global Environmental Forum for the Next Generation before an audience of 1100 at the Yomiuri Hall. He acknowledged the many environmental challenges we face today, including population growth and climate change. He also took time to address commend Japan's strong opposition to nuclear weapons.
"I strongly approve of your opposition to nuclear weapons and urge you to keep it up... Instead of wasting millions of dollars of weapons we dare never use, the money should be put to more positive ends. And it's no use waiting for our leaders to take action, we the people have to take action to show our disapproval of these instruments of war and violence. This is in our interest, because invariably when things go wrong it's ordinary people who suffer."
The preceding two days included a trip to Aichi Gakuin University, originally founded as a Soto Zen training center in 1876, several private audiences, interviews with Japanese journalists, and finally the 40th anniversary celebration of the All Japan Soto Young Priest Association, where his Holiness gave a talk and answered questions from the crowd.
His Holiness will give a Buddhist teaching April 12th and 13th in Tokyo based on The Heart Sutra & Nagarjuna's Commentary on Bodhichitta, organized by the Liaison Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama for East-Asia at Showa Joshi Hitomi Hall.