Washington, DC — The spirititual ldear of Tibet His Holiness the Dalai Lama headed to Westminster, California this week where he taught at the Vietnamese Dieu Ngu Buddhist Temple before it's grand opening. During the teaching he talked of human compassion and said love and affection will always mean more than money and power.
"Between the start and end of our lives, we are inclined to forget the importance of loving kindness," he said. "In the context of a materialistic, competitive way of life, loving kindness may seem irrelevant. Although those with no interest in religion pay scant attention to inner values, since we are all human beings compassion and affection are necessary.
"If we start to work on cultivating such values now there may be less violence in the world later in this century. Violence is not so much about the use of weapons as about the motive we have in our hearts. External disarmament will only be achieved if we first achieve inner disarmament. Likewise, world peace will only be won on the basis of inner peace. And without inner peace it will be difficult to eliminate violence in society."
Before returning to the temple the following day he greeted and spoke to 400 members of the Tibetan Association of Southern California from his hotel. He told them that Tibetans are currently passing through the most difficult period of their recorded history.
"We used only to quarrel among ourselves to the detriment of the entire three provinces of Tibet, but now we're facing a life or death struggle for our culture and identity. This may be the fruit of our karma, yet among Tibetans in exile as well as those in Tibet, our spirit remains strong. Amongst other exiles we stand out due to the courage and dedication of our people," he said.
His Holiness was welcomed at Dieu Ngu Buddhist Temple with traditional umbrellas and music. Guests then stood for the playing of the Tibetan, Vietnamese, American and Buddhist anthems, followed by a minute's silent meditation.
In his speech the Abbot Ven Thich Vien Ly voiced his hope that the temple would be able to contribute to peace and happiness in the world. He expressed gratitude to Ven Tenzin Dhonden for making His Holiness's visit possible.
In a keynote speech the Tibetan spiritual leader told the audience that he was happy that the temple had been constructed and said he admires the way you Vietnamese keep their culture and traditions alive.
He then spoke to a gathering of Vietnamese youths about the importance of their intelligence and warm-heartedness and said they would benefit by developing compassion.
"We are all the same as human beings," he told them. "I am nothing special. I am a student of Buddhist philosophy and for people who know nothing I can be a teacher, but among top scholars I am a student. The purpose of the Perfection of Wisdom teachings is to put an end to destructive emotions such as anger. It's effective to seek the basis of anger and investigate whether anger has any benefit. Destructive emotions are rooted in ignorance that is a distortion of reality and only understanding of emptiness can counter it."