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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

His Holiness the Dalai Lama's Berkeley Visit: A Momentous Occasion

April 12, 2009

Tibet Custom
April 10, 2009

UC Berkeley often has great speakers and fun
cultural events, and the appearance of His
Holiness the Dalai Lama is surely one of this year's highlights.

Meeting the Dalai Lama in person was a profound
moment of my life. Just to be near him I could
feel him radiating peace, love and wisdom to each
person he spoke to. The afterglow energized me
for months, and still rekindles warm feelings years later.

The Dalai Lama is internationally acclaimed as a
spiritual, political and cultural leader. His
teachings have touched the hearts, minds and
souls of millions of people throughout the world.
While he is pre-eminently known as a Tibetan
Buddhist leader, his message resonates with
people of good will of many countries and many faiths.

Like Prairie Home Companion, the Dalai Lama's
teachings touch deep subjects with lightness,
love, and laughter. Powerful words and issues are
wrapped in enormous human empathy and humor.

Like Harriet Tubman, the Dalai Lama led thousands
of his people into exile to escape oppression, persecution and likely death.

Like Martin Luther King Jr., he has been
steadfastly devoted to nonviolence, in the face
of much repression. His eloquent articulation and
lifetime commitment to nonviolence earned him the Nobel Peace Prize.

Like Cesar Chavez, his passionate love for human
beings led to a deeper understanding of
environmental justice and moved him to speak up
against policies devastating to Tibetans and the environment.

Like Barack Obama, he is not a prisoner of the
past but rather a complex interweaving of old and
new together. Even while he labors to preserve
Tibetan language, clothing, dance and music, he
displays openness to change and practices
democracy. His affiliated groups, like our local
Tibetan Association of Northern California
include women leaders, and are working to build a
Tibetan Community Center here in the Bay area.

The Dalai Lama's continuing commitment to
negotiation in spite of disappearances,
crackdowns and media suppression, denote him as a
potential partner to reconciliation.
Unfortunately his enemies would rather accuse him
and his supporters of being a "clique". That is
an absurd and profound misunderstanding of both
the Dalai Lama and what he represents.

Customarily cliques are snobbish or narrow
coterie. In contrast, the Dalai Lama circle
includes presidents and other political leaders,
and hundreds of thousands of common men and women
around the globe. The Dalai Lama has won
international respect and admiration. If his
supporters are a clique, we are overwhelmingly
the largest and most diverse one ever in the history of the world.

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