The Dalai Lama warns against greed but sees hope for America
Wednesday, May 16, 2001
By SHELBY OPPEL of The Oregonian staff
While charming a sellout crowd with humor and halting English, the Dalai Lama used his final public appearance in Portland to criticize American culture for "a total lack of self-discipline" that prevents its own people from finding peace.
"Your lifestyle, I think, eventually should be more contented," he told 9,400 people who filled most of Memorial Coliseum on Tuesday for "An Evening With the Dalai Lama."
"This country, too much greed," he said.
The capacity of Americans to ignore suffering in other countries and the growing gap between rich and poor inside this nation's borders are "morally wrong," he said. He also criticized U.S. foreign policy for too often using force rather than compassionate dialogue to address conflict.
In domestic policy, "you really follow democratic principles," he said. "Yet, in the international relations, still old concept -- showing force."
Still, the Nobel Peace laureate said he sees reason to hope for a better, more peaceful future as more and more people search for happiness that transcends the material world.
"You have all the facilities, but you not necessarily very happy. . . . You begin to realize the limits of material development," he said. "I think this is a very good sign."
The speech concluded the key events of the Dalai Lama's three-day Portland visit, which began Sunday with a welcoming celebration that drew thousands of people to Pioneer Courthouse Square. His packed schedule included a two-day teaching session at the University of Portland; a private meeting with the Tibetan community; a youth summit with 8,000 Oregon and Washington youths; and a $250-a-plate luncheon, with proceeds benefiting the Northwest Tibetan Cultural Association.
The Dalai Lama, 65, appeared tired during his final speech, switching frequently from English to Tibetan and relying heavily on a translator. He spoke from a chair at center stage, with two tiny microphones clipped to his scarlet and saffron robes and his image magnified on three large video screens.
When he is tired, he said through his translator, "sometimes I even myself do not know what I am trying to say."
He joked and laughed often, smiling broadly when 8-year-old Taylor Coghill sang "Ocean of Wisdom," composed for the event by Portland violinist Aaron Meyer and pianist Michael Allen Harrison. After the performance, the Dalai Lama -- whose title means "ocean of wisdom" -- pulled from his cloth bag a white "kata," a traditional Tibetan scarf, and hung it around the small girl's neck.
His 50-minute speech ranged among topics, from the rejection of war, which he called an outdated concept, to the importance of self-discipline and concern for others.
The 20th century was the bloodiest in human history, he said. It will take more than the passage of time to create a better future.
"We human beings, we have the motivation, the power of vision. Therefore, it is entirely up to us whether this new century be happy century or painful century."
To achieve world peace, "inner disarmament, external disarmament. This must go together," he said.
Self-discipline -- crucial to a simpler, more "contented" life, he said -- means sacrificing short-term satisfaction for long-term consequences. Drugs and alcohol, for example, may bring momentary "peace" but will ruin the body, he said.
"Like sex. Beyond limitation, you get in more and more trouble," he said to laughter from the crowd.
Former Sen. Mark O. Hatfield introduced the Dalai Lama. Tickets for the event cost $25, $50 and $100 each and sold out in late February, organizers said.
The Dalai Lama is scheduled to leave today for San Jose, Calif., the fourth leg of his U.S. tour, then continue on to San Francisco, Madison, Wis., and Los Angeles.
Before leaving Portland, he will attend a private breakfast for donors who paid $5,000 for the privilege. Proceeds will go to the Northwest Tibetan Cultural Association.
The association sponsored the Dalai Lama's Portland visit with the hope it will increase awareness of the Tibetan movement for autonomy from China and jump-start fund raising for a planned $4.5 million Tibetan studies and peace center in Portland. About 230 Tibetans live in the Portland area.
The Dalai Lama ended his final public event by thanking the crowd for the "brotherhood and sisterhood" of the evening. Outside, the sun sliced through the cloudy sky and a rainbow arched over the coliseum.
"Now, this kind of feeling, please try to maintain for your whole life," he told the audience, "if not at least for one day."
Dalai Lama tells youth, have faith in yourself
The Tibetan's message that religion isn't the only way to be a good person impresses many at a summit for 8,000 youth
Tuesday, May 15, 2001
By SHELBY OPPEL and Janie Har of The Oregonian staff
The Dalai Lama told 8,000 high school students Monday that they don't have to be religious to lead purposeful lives and cultivate "basic human good qualities" such as tolerance, compassion and kindness.
"Even without religious faith, you can be a happy person. But without these (qualities), you will not be a happy person," said the Nobel Peace laureate and high lama of Tibetan Buddhism.
He spoke to Oregon and Washington teens at a youth summit at Memorial Coliseum. The event sparked controversy in recent weeks because several Washington legislators and others questioned whether schools should sanction a speech by a religious figure.
The speech drew applause and laughter from the students and attracted only a few sign-carrying evangelical Christians outside the coliseum.
"This has nothing to do with religion. This has to do with us working together to promote peace, and peace goes with every religion," said Rebecca Payne, 18, a senior at Cleveland High School.
Payne was one of 200 students selected to spend 30 minutes with the Dalai Lama before his speech. Payne, who is Native American, said she cried while telling the Dalai Lama about the bigotry she has experienced.
"He hugged me and told me it would be OK. He said discrimination and racism is just a matter of ignorance," said Payne.
The youth summit was the third public event of the Dalai Lama's three-day Portland visit.
Sharon Kitzhaber, the wife of Gov. John Kitzhaber and a key backer of the summit, introduced the Dalai Lama as "our world's most renowned peace advocate."
Speaking to the larger group, the Dalai Lama sat casually, ankles crossed, in a straight-backed chair at center stage. He spoke mostly in English, occasionally with help from an interpreter, and joked frequently with "his young brothers and sisters," as he called the students.
"You have great or immense opportunity to making new shape of the world," he told the students, through education, determination, compassion and self-confidence.
"You should have self-confidence on the basis of your great potential," he said.
At one point, he suggested that the United States "should have more nuns and monks. That's one way to make contribution to population control, nonviolently," he said. "That's half-joke, half-serious."
Students interviewed after the speech said they were impressed with his positive message and his sense of humor.
"He's a great man. He's humble, caring and considerate," said Felipe Gonzalez, a 16-year-old sophomore at Lincoln High School who was one of the students who met with the Dalai Lama before the speech.
"He made peace sound so simple, and everybody else makes it sound so complicated," said Carolynn Beck, an 18-year-old senior at Southridge High School in Beaverton. "Learn to control your anger and turn your energy into positive things."
Jason Johnson, a 15-year-old freshman at South Salem High School, said he learned plenty from the video about the Dalai Lama's life that preceded his lecture.
"Just about some of the stuff he went through and his experiences and how to be peaceful and stuff," said Johnson. "When he started talking, it was kind of hard to understand him. I got some of it, but not all of it."
The Dalai Lama urged students to work as hard to develop "warm hearts" as they do to improve their minds.
"Please, my young brothers and sisters, please take more attention . . . on our inner values. That's very important."
Five Washington legislators last week criticized school districts for spending tax money to transport students to the youth summit, arguing such an endorsement violated the separation of church and state.
Vancouver School District officials stood by their decision to provide transportation, but they did accept an anonymous donation to pay the $940 cost for 280 students. In the Evergreen School District, transportation costs for 250 students were paid by a group of donors. Evergreen teachers acting as chaperones took vacation time to attend.
The Camas School District used district buses to transport 45 to 60 students to the event, but students paid $3 each for the ride. Teachers who served as chaperones were paid for regular workdays. An anonymous donor paid the cost of substitute teachers, said Camas Superintendent Milt Dennison.
In Portland Public Schools, students arranged their own rides to the summit and obtained parent permission, said Lew Frederick, a district spokesman.
Gonzalez, the Lincoln High sophomore, said he was struck by the Dalai Lama's lifelong struggle on behalf of the Tibetan people:
DeltaRNOmd-80 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (14 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 2059 times:
Who cares about the Dalai Lama? he is nothing, why do some think he is respected? I am sure he recieves way more credit than Billy Graham does, and they are both in similar positions, except that Graham is Christian and Christianity is a much larger religion than Buddhism. Dalai Lama is some old bald guy that wears a robe in my opinion, no big deal here folks.
Nicolaki From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (14 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 2043 times:
Realy DeltaRNOmd-80 your disrespect have no boundaries, you never learned to respect others point of view or opinions?
You immediatelly jump on people on this board when they say that Bush is nothing but then when a religious peaceful figure like the Dalai Lama expose you to a bit of truth about your country you make comments which are disrespectful.
Aviatsiya From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (14 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 2036 times:
I know matie. And what I thought would happen has happened.
People have only gotten as far as my subject heading. They didn't for one minute think that "And More!" could relate to someting more, something a lot more positive, which is does.
I don't remember ever hearing or seeing of the Dalai Lama expecting you to buy T-Shirts, Tapes, Videos and a whole range of other merchandise as you leave one of his "sermons". Billy Graham does!
As to why the Dalai Lama is respected.
Maybe it is because of his ability to talk outside of the realm of religion, when he does talk within that realm, he transcends all religious boundaries with his words.
Although he may be the highest living figure in terms of Buddhism, and yes he is a Buddhist, no where in his speeches has he even mentioned religion, saying you must do this or he will get angry, or anything like that.
That is probably why he has the respect that he does have.
AerLingus From China, joined Mar 2000, 2371 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (14 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 2016 times:
C72, DeltaRNOmd-80, Matt D, L-188:
You are all extremely ignorant people. In fact, I would venture as far as to say that he is exactly one of the types of people he would admonish.
What the f-ck is your problem, anyway? Can't you just stand back and hear something about another religion beside your own without immediately making a fool of yourself with arguments that make you look like a some stupid idiot or is that how you really are? Get a life and take your midless drivel with you.
DeltaRNOmd-80 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (14 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 2015 times:
I stand by all my previous statements. Nikolaki, Aviawhatever, and AerLingus, I couldn't give a flying sh*t if you don't like my opinions. Aviawhatever, some people would pay $5,000 to see Billy Graham, the Dalai Lama is no more important then Billy Graham, you just put down Graham because you don't agree with him. To the rest of you, all of your comments could be reversed and said by me in a case where I didn't agree with you, so simply because I (and anyone else) doesn't agree with you, you jump on us when in fact you are all doing the same things. When you don't agree with a conservative's statements, you all say the same thing that we say when we don't agree with your statements. so get off it.
Aviatsiya From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (14 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days ago) and read 1983 times:
You are entitled to your opinion, just as much as I am entitled to laugh and make fun of that opinion.
The Dalai Lama in the same position at Billy Graham?
Let's see....the Dalai Lama is:
1) The most important living person for the Buddhist religion
2) The head of the Tibetan government-in-exile
3) Nobel Peace Prize recipient.
Ummm....yeah....I would be put Billy Graham right up there with the Dalai Lama...not!!
Also, you are right. I don't like organised religion, so no, I don't like Billy Graham's preachings. However, I would also not like the preachings of the Dalai Lama if he brings religion into it....which for the most part he doesn't. Probably why I feel, if I was to ever be a religious person, that Buddhism would be the one for me.
Like I said before...
1) America is a free society. You have the freedom of speech. America has criticised other country's for whatever; so America has to be willing to take criticism back.
2) No-one forced anyone, by putting a gun to their head, to pay $5,000 for a PRIVATE breakfast (not the event which was attended by over 9,500 people). These people made that choice to spend their own money to have breakfast with the Dalai Lama. After all, it is their money, they can piss it away on whatever they like, except I personally think that having b/fast with the Dalai Lama would be a once in a lifetime opportunity worth every penny.
DG_pilot From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 856 posts, RR: 2
Reply 20, posted (14 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 1976 times:
""As to what you say are "derogatory" remarks. I actually say that he is hitting home a message. But hey, they are the principles of free speech right? The same freedom which America wants for Tibet.""
First off, what the hell are you talking about? He never said anything to the tune of anyone violating free speech. He knows that the Dalai Lama is not doing so, so get off his back. He fully understands free speech, so stop trying to make that an issue.
""Freedom of speech goes both ways dude.""
No shit??!! Like above, no one said it doesn't!! Calm down.
I'm just wondering how many Gore supporters showed up for the event?...
Mx5_boy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (14 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 1970 times:
Timely posting Scotty,
Some American members of this board are so wrapped up in themselves that they cannot and will not understand 'worldwide' opinions.
The fact of the matter is that the narow minded and uneducated people of the so called 'free world' need a bit of education on world matters.
Every nation is different, and everyone has differing opinions. You just have to expect that, however, many of our American counterparts have the ignorant and strangely weird opinion that world stops at the USA.
Yet the biggest cry babies on this forum are some American members, who when faced with irrefutable evidence that they are wrong, scream "American Basher".
If they are so "sure" of the USA being the greatest and best nation on earth, and have the so called confidence of those claims, then why do they get so upset when people from pissy little countries like our own, or Europe interject and tell them they are wrong?
Mx5_boy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (14 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 1952 times:
"""I still for the life of me can't figure out who is doing the following, You or Brissie/Aviatasya. You two seem to agree on everything, and are not open to other peoples opinions."""
Do you think? We agree on a lot of things, which is why we are friends. I respect Scotty's opinions and ability to prove a point, mostly through being a thorough investigator.
Look back through this post and read some of the forum members contributions, and I note that certain ones seem to respect you. Which would you prefer to have respect your views? Half-wits or people who are articulate and intelligent?
: A todos los Americanos aqui: Usted no puede contar con seriamente a esta gente, con sus cabezas en de cada otros rectos, de ser más receptivo que ell
: Dónde está mi cabeza? El poste pasado debe haber leído "usted puedes"! Lo Siento! FLY DELTA JETS and sail UNITED STATES LINES N 8 6 3 D A
: To Hell with what that Dali Lama says! I don't give a rats ass about what that God Damn liberal has to say! Billy Grahm and Pat Robertson are the true
: And this is news? Sorry, I had to! But aren't we all greedy now and then? Peter