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6november20092Naha, Japan: "We witnessed anti-war rallies from Australia to America before the Iraq invasion. Popular peaceful movements brought down the Berlin wall. Indeed, in the 21st century, the force of peace is growing," His Holiness the Dalai Lama said, Thursday.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama was speaking next to rows of walls inscribed with names of those killed in the Battle of Okinawa at Heiwa-no-ishiji, the Cornerstone of Peace in Okinawa War Memorial Park.

Asserting that ‘violence is always unpredictable and brings only sufferings, not solutions', His Holiness urged Japan to lead the movement for non-violence and reconciliation in the world.

"This nation has experienced a lot of man-made sufferings and disastrous wars. Learning from your past experiences, you should lead the peace movement further," said His Holiness.

His Holiness then visited the Okinawa Peace Memorial Hall and offered prayers.

"Meeting with the public is my top most priority"

Over 5,000 people gave a standing ovation to His Holiness as he entered the Okinawa Kenritsu Budokan stadium, this afternoon to give a public talk on ‘Peace and a Compassionate Mind'.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama thanked the organisers for providing the ‘opportunity to share mutual experiences' and said that meeting with the public remains his top most priority.

Stating that peace is ‘not the mere absence of violence but the human ability to restrain from violence', His Holiness encouraged the audience to develop respect for each other's viewpoint by cultivating compassion.

"Compassion is not pitiness. Compassion is a genuine sense of concern and respect that can be cultivated by realising that everyone has the right to overcome suffering," said His Holiness.

Relating to his personal story, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said, "At 16, I lost my freedom. At 24, I lost my country. During the past 50 years I have heard a lot of heart-breaking news from my own land. Still, comparatively, my mind is quite peaceful because of the seed of compassion from my mother and Buddhist training and the experiences of meeting a lot of people".

Responding to a question from the audience, His Holiness the Dalai Lama advised Tibet supporters to study and follow the situation of Tibet.

"Get more information on the current situation in Tibet and study the culture and ecology of Tibet. The best thing is to go there, [Tibet]spend time and try to get free access to study the real situation."

Chairman of the organising committee, Mikio Higa, thanked His Holiness the Dalai Lama for accepting the invitation and hoped that the ‘waves of peace' that His Holiness brought will continue to bless Okinawa forever.

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