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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Dalai Lama Speaks on Going Green

April 22, 2008

ANN ARBOR, Mich. April 20, 2008 (AP) - The Dalai Lama on Sunday said the
need for environmental responsibility dovetails with Buddhist teachings
on valuing human life - whether it's one person or the world's entire

The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader offered his trademark humor and
humility before crowds of more than 7,000 at the University of Michigan
that gathered for an afternoon lecture on sustainability and a morning
teaching session.

"Taking care of our planet, environment, is something like taking care
of our own home," he told the audience at Crisler Arena, as he sat
cross-legged on a chair on the main stage in his traditional saffron
robes. "This blue planet is our only home."

Outside the basketball arena where the Dalai Lama spoke, hundreds of
pro-Chinese demonstrators held signs and waved Chinese flags.

Diane Brown, public safety spokeswoman for the university, said the
number of demonstrators was estimated at about 600 to 700. Many wore
T-shirts that read "Support Beijing 2008," a reference to the upcoming
summer Olympics.

As they rallied, a small airplane flew overhead pulling a banner that
read: "Dalai Lama Please Stop Attacking Olympic Flame."

The Dalai Lama, who fled to India after a failed uprising in 1959 in
Tibet, arrived in the U.S. on April 10, a day after demonstrators
disrupted the Olympic torch run in San Francisco in a protest of China's
treatment of his people.

The Dalai Lama has denied Chinese claims that he and his followers have
used the run-up to the Olympics to foment unrest.

The protest led to heated verbal exchanges between pro-Chinese and
pro-Tibetan demonstrators. They traded shouts of "One China" with "Open
the door! Let's see what's happening inside Tibet."

Jianbo Han, a 36-year-old accountant from Ann Arbor, said the Dalai Lama
should use his influence to quell the rioting in Tibet and restrain
demonstrations during the Olympic torch run.

"For the majority of Chinese, the Olympics is their dream - for
centuries," he said while holding a Chinese flag. "We don't want anybody
to interrupt this festival. It's not only for China, but for the whole

Lobsang Jimpa, 40, who lives in Ann Arbor but was born in Tibet, said
for him the debate isn't personal, but political.

"I love Chinese people. ... We are not against the Chinese people at
all," he said. "We oppose Chinese policy, that's all."

During the morning teaching session, the Dalai Lama revisited the
Buddhist teachings of wisdom and compassion he had begun the day before.
His answers didn't contain the quick fixes that modern culture has come
to expect from Dr. Phil and other tough-love-dispensing talk show hosts.

"We have to deal with the causes and conditions of that anger," he said
in response to a question about living with someone who is angry and
argumentative. He elicited large laughs for his long, contemplative
pause before answering.

"The best thing - try to remain a bit (of) distance. If it's a husband
and wife, then I don't know. Worst case? Divorce? I don't know."

On Saturday, he encouraged people to preserve their own religious
traditions while respecting others with differing beliefs. He expanded
on that theme Sunday in a response to a question about whether someone
should convert to Buddhism.

"Among Tibetans, some are Muslim as far as religion is concerned, not
Buddhism, but they live a life that is very much in the spirit of
Buddhist culture. And maybe there is an individual Buddhist in the
Christian culture," he said. "That's OK, isn't it?"

Still, he said, there is a freedom and right to choose for those who
have practiced their faith and do not find it effective.

During "Earth Day Reflections," the sustainability lecture sponsored by
the university's School of Natural Resources and Environment, he said
Americans in particular should be more content with what they have
because of anticipated shortages of natural resources.

"It is better to know the limitations of material value," he said. "We
always want more and more and more. I think some lifestyle ... has to

During applause from the audience, he added: "But this is not my business."

Ford Motor Co. Chairman Bill Ford was in the audience for Sunday
afternoon's lecture, and actor Richard Gere attended the teaching sessions.

The three teaching sessions were sponsored by the Jewel Heart Tibetan
Buddhist learning center, The Tibet Fund and the Garrison Institute.

At the end of Sunday morning's session, the Dalai Lama presented a
$10,000 check to Jewel Heart, and it was announced that the teaching
sessions netted $52,132 after expenses such as security and advertising.

That money likely will go to pay for bills yet to come and additional
programming, said Jonathan Rose, board co-chairman of Garrison
Institute, a New York-based nonprofit.

Cindy Haidu, 55, said the Dalai Lama's lecture was inspiring. The high
school history and peace studies teacher said she's never heard the
Dalai Lama speak about anything but peace, but she acknowledged it's
difficult to know what's happening in Tibet without being there.

She said a student who fled Tibet recently shared her experiences as
part of a class project.

"Her story is full of tragedy and loss," Haidu said. "There has been a
lot of violence and oppression toward the Tibetan people."

The Dalai Lama is scheduled to talk with Undersecretary of State Paula
Dobriansky on Monday in Michigan and speak at Colgate University in
Hamilton, N.Y., on Tuesday.
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