H.H. Dalai Lama Meets with President Obama and at NED
Giugno 16th, 2016 by admin

His Holiness the Dalai Lama Meets with President Obama and Attends Programs at National Endowment for Democracy

Washington DC, USA, 15 June 2016 – On a day that dawned under overcast skies His Holiness the Dalai Lama began by participating in a meeting with Chinese scholars facilitated by the Brookings Institution. He was welcomed and introduced by the Brookings President, Strobe Talbott, accompanied by Senior Fellow David Dollar.

President Barack Obama greets His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the entrance of the Map Room of the White House on June 15, 2016. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

His Holiness went from this meeting to the White House, where he was received by President Obama. The two leaders discussed matters of common interest including human rights and climate change. At the end of their forty-five minutes together, President Obama walked His Holiness through the Rose Garden and saw him into his car before bidding him farewell.

Carl Gershman, President of the National Endowment for Democracy since its founding in 1984, welcomed His Holiness to lunch with 30 other guests. The program that followed focussed on the themes of hope and democracy. As Gershman said, “In the struggle for human dignity there is always hope.” He welcomed barefoot lawyer Chen Guangcheng and labour organizer Han Dongfang to the gathering before inviting Congressman Peter Roskam to speak. He said that confronted by voices of authoritarianism, those of us who perceive them as hollow have to speak out and say, “That’s not true.” He praised His Holiness for articulating the truth that democracy matters.
Richard Gere spoke of visiting the refugee camps at Lampadusa while he was recently in Sicily to promote a film. The Africans he met there were seeking escape from bad government and violent people—“It’s the violent and those who perpetuate bad government that we should point our fingers at,” he said.   In the first of two awards, NED presented its Democracy Service Medal posthumously in honour of the courageous work of the Tibetan Buddhist Monk Tenzin Delek Rinpoche. He was a prominent political prisoner who died in a Sichuan prison in 2015 at the end of 13 years’ incarceration. He consistently asserted he had been framed and condemned to death for crimes he did not commit, saying, “I have always taught others not to damage life, why would I have done what they accuse me of.” After his death, police secretly cremated his body and seized his ashes.

Geshe Jamyang Nyima accepting NED’s Democracy Service Medal posthumously awarded to Ven Tenzin Delek Rinpoche at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington DC, USA on June 15, 2016. Photo/Scott Henrichsen

he medal was accepted by Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s cousin Geshe Jamyang Nyima, who reiterated Rinpoche’s intense loyalty to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He noted that Rinpoche’s dedication to the welfare of the Tibetan people was expressed in the schools and clinics he set up for them. He stressed that it was important to keep up the struggle in Rinpoche’s memory and not to give up hope. Senator Dianne Feinstein, a long-term friend of Tibetans, briefly addressed the gathering. She recalled first meeting His Holiness with her husband in Dharamsala in 1978. Later, they were to deliver letters from His Holiness to Chinese premier Jiang Zemin in which he declared: “We are not seeking independence, but we want to be able manage our own affairs.”
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi also spoke, remarking that His Holiness “encourages us to shed our negative attitudes and adopt a compassionate approach.”
Carl Gershman called on Martin Frost, Chairman of the National Endowment for Democracy and a former Congressman, to recognize the democratic accomplishments of the Central Tibetan Administration. He presented a framed copy of the preambles to the US and Tibetan exile constitutions. In his acceptance speech Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay recalled an occasion in 1960 when His Holiness the Dalai Lama paid a visit to Tibetan road workers in Dalhousie, North India. He told them:
“I’m here to give you a message of encouragement. We must create a democracy in exile.”

Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay accepting an award of recognition for the Central Tibetan Administration from the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington DC, USA on June 15, 2016. Photo/Scott Henrichsen

Later in 1960, the first parliament in exile was elected, followed in 1963 by the election of the first women members. The Sikyong noted that at present there are 10 women in an assembly of 45 deputies. In 1963 too, the first Tibetan constitution in exile was promulgated, which His Holiness insisted should include a provision to impeach him necessary to demonstrate that no one should be above the law. In 2001 His Holiness semi-retired and in 2011 he fully devolved his political responsibility to the elected leadership. The Sikyong declared it a great honour to receive this award in His Holiness’s presence.
Next, His Holiness was invited to engage in conversation on the theme ‘Democracy and Hope’ with four young activists: Arzu Geybullayeva, a Journalist from Azerbaijan; Rosa Maria Payá of Cuba Decide; Azaz Elshami, a Sudanese Digital Activist and Rami Soud, a Jordanian Activist. The discussion was moderated by Brian Joseph, NED Senior Director for Asian and Global Affairs.
Azaz Elshami put the first question, asking His Holiness what spirituality meant to him. He replied that its essence is warm-heartedness, noting that the message of all major religious traditions is love. He added that the seed of spirituality exists in every human being and that compassion and warm-heartedness are the basis of our life. Responding to Arzu Geybullayeva’s enquiry about hatred His Holiness said: “Hatred and anger are part of our minds, they are among our emotions. However, the predominant human emotion is love, whereas hatred and anger are relatively short-lived. They don’t last. They change.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama engaging in conversation on the theme ‘Democracy and Hope’ with young activists at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington DC, USA on June 15, 2016. Photo/Sonam Zoksang

When Rosa Maria Payá asked about justice and forgiveness, His Holiness told her that justice is essentially about protecting happiness and joy. Forgiveness is about foregoing anger in the face of wrong doing, even if you need to take counter-measures to stop it. Rami Soud wanted to know how, at a time when religion is being used to fuel conflict, its positive role can be restored. His Holiness replied that whether or not you accept religion is a personal matter, but if you do, you should do so seriously. Christians are taught to practise love. Muslims are enjoined to extend love to all the creatures of Allah—which includes those hostile to you. He admitted that there are philosophical differences between religious traditions, but stated that their purpose is to strengthen the practice of love. He suggested that the long-term solution to radicalized youth is to expand education to include training in human values. He stressed that only by broadening education and making it more holistic will it be possible to prevent the 21st century being tarnished by pain and bloodshed like the previous century. He said: “I believe in the power of truth and honesty. Since basic human nature is compassionate, there is hope.”
Asked to advise communities in exile, His Holiness expressed admiration for the Vietnamese refugees he has met, who, wherever they are, preserve their identity, culture and sense of community. And to a question about the Uighurs, he recalled the setting up of a committee in the ‘70s representing Tibetans, Uighurs, Mongolians and Manchurians enabling them to exchange experiences. He recommended that Uighurs adopt a determined non-violent approach to their struggle.
The meeting end with a loud burst of applause.

Bret Baier of Fox News interviewing His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Washington DC, USA on June 15, 2016.
Photo/Jeremy Russell/OHHDL

In a short interview with Bret Baier of Fox News, His Holiness told him that in his discussions with President Obama he had mentioned his commitment to promoting human values as a sound source of human happiness. He said he expressed the hope that in his retirement the President will also be able to work to foster inner peace through education.
Observing that Chinese objections to such meetings have become routine, His Holiness reiterated: “We are not seeking independence; we are not seeking separation for Tibet. It can be in our interest to remain with the People’s Republic of China, but we need to be able to preserve our rich Buddhist culture, not just for our benefit, but to be able to serve the millions of Chinese Buddhists. And when Chinese workers come to Tibet to take part in development projects, but they should respect Tibetan culture and learn to speak Tibetan.”
His Holiness said he disagreed with the label ‘Muslim terrorist’ just as he objected to referring to ‘Buddhist terrorists’. He said neither Islam nor Buddhism teaches anyone to be a terrorist and religion cannot be used to justify such actions. He suggested we should refer to terrorists as just ‘terrorists.’
Finally, asked if he is optimistic, His Holiness said: “Yes, because basic human nature is compassionate. And because of that we should live together as human brothers and sisters.” As he left the building, friends and well-wishers were gathered on the pavement outside chanting prayers for his long life. Tomorrow, he will travel to Los Angeles.

Readout of the President’s Meeting with His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama

The President met today with His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama.

The President accepted the Dalai Lama’s condolences for the shooting in Orlando, Florida on June 12 and commended the Dalai Lama for his efforts to promote compassion, empathy, and respect for others.  The President and the Dalai Lama discussed the situation for Tibetans in the People’s Republic of China, and the President emphasized his strong support for the preservation of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural, and linguistic traditions and the equal protection of human rights of Tibetans in China.  The President lauded the Dalai Lama’s commitment to peace and nonviolence and expressed support for the Dalai Lama’s “Middle Way” approach.

The President encouraged meaningful and direct dialogue between the Dalai Lama and his representatives with Chinese authorities to lower tensions and resolve differences.  In this context, the President reiterated the longstanding U.S. position that Tibet is a part of the People’s Republic of China, and the United States does not support Tibetan independence.  The Dalai Lama stated that he is not seeking independence for Tibet and hopes that dialogue between his representatives and the Chinese government will resume. The President and the Dalai Lama agreed on the importance of a constructive and productive relationship between the United States and China.

The President welcomed the Dalai Lama’s leadership on climate change issues, and expressed support for the Dalai Lama’s efforts to raise awareness of the importance of limiting global warming, including to protect the Himalayan glaciers and the environment on the Tibetan plateau.

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