The 74 year-old Tibetan spiritual leader began his speech by sharing a question he had asked to the director of the Australia Tibet Council in 1996: "Is the world becoming better, or worse, or is it staying the same?" She had replied that the world is improving, because people are starting to talk about the universality of human rights and the need for self-determination.
His Holiness said that each individual's effort to cultivate self-confidence is essential for peace; and that for this, education is needed. He declared that education has the ability to create individuals "with vision, intelligence, and the ability to judge right from wrong." These individuals can then, he said, "create a better human society."
The Dalai Lama also spoke about the human mind, saying that all human beings have the "seed of compassion and an appreciation for justice." His Holiness explained that when human rights violations occur, this is a result of a lack of empathy and conviction for justice. He said that human rights violations are in reality a symptom of a root cause. His Holiness stressed that if the deeper cause of the violation is not addressed, then the abuse will continue. His Holiness reasoned that, "a happier society based on compassion and justice requires education. We must bring these things into the human community."
His Holiness said while encouraging modern education, it is also important to maintain indigenous cultures. In particular, he expressed the relevance of his own Tibetan culture, stating that Tibetan Buddhist culture is a "culture of compassion and nonviolence that is worth preserving."
According to the His Holiness, the international support that the Tibetan issue has recieved has been contingent on nonviolence. He said that supporters of the Tibetan people are not "Pro-Tibet”, but rather “Pro-Justice," and called for an end to violence and persecution in Tibet.
His Holiness noted that peace in Tibet would also positively affect peace between the two most populated countries in the world [China and India]. He recalled that Tibet was once a buffer between India and China, nations that have both acquired nuclear weapons. He went on to say that Chinese soldiers in Tibet put "suspicion in the Indian mind," and that India and China should have a "genuine friendship, on the basis of trust." If such a partnership were to develop, His Holiness asserted, both countries would be able to be better contributors to peace, the global economy, and environmental health.
Another aspect of the Tibetan issue that His Holiness addressed was the high rate of ice melting on the Tibetan plateau, due to global warming. He mentioned that this area is "the third pole," and that because it is the source of so many of Asia’s major rivers, it is critical to the livelihood of the most densely populated areas of the world.
In the last part of his speech, His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke about how global poverty can impede peace. He argued that corrupt government policies exaggerate wealth disparities, and that the resulting jealousy and frustration between the rich and poor leads to anger, which leads to violence. His Holiness expressed his opinion that the wealthy should provide health and education facilities for the poor, in order to release their full potential.