Dalai Lama meets Belgian Prime Minister and addresses the Belgian Senate

Phayul, June 3, 2006

Brussels, Belgium -- The Dalai Lama was warmly received by the Belgian Prime Minister, His Excellency Mr. Guy Verhofstadt at his Office Lambermont on the morning of June 1. The Prime Minister after exchanging greetings, requested His Holiness to him a broad picture of the Tibetan issue and also said he had not met Chinese leaders for a long time.The meeting took place for 45 minutes at the end of which the premier assured that he would put in his effort to help resolve the Tibet issue.

His Holiness briefed the premier about the early political history of Tibet; stating that the Chinese leadership's claim that "Tibet is a part of China from 13th century" was based on a marriage of Chinese Princess with the Tibetan King Srongtsen Gonpo and the Chinese Emperor Manchu, originally a Mongolian had some influence in Tibet.

Then His Holiness said, "this is the Chinese leadership's interpretation of Tibet's past history. We Tibetans have our own interpretation and expert historians have their own interpretation." At that time, China was a Buddhist country and high ranking Tibetan Lamas became spiritual masters of the Chinese Emperor who in turn, became a protector of the Buddha Dharma, His Holiness usually calls this a "Priest and Patron Relationship."

The Dalai Lama further said that past was past and future was more important and explained the Middle Way Approach to resolve the issue of Tibet through dialogues and negotiations. He recounted how some Chinese intellectuals living outside mainland China had told him that the Middle Way Approach was the "best method" to resolve the issue of Tibet. On the basis of the Middle Way Approach, he elaborated how the Tibetan governmnet in exile's contacts with the Chinese leadership developed, ceased and then re-established.

The Dalai lama urged the Belgian Premier to explain the Middle Way Approach and the Dalai Lama’s sincere desire to resolve the Tibet issue peacefully during his future meetings with Chinese leaders. He lamented how Tibetans had become a minority in their own land threatening the very survival of Tibetan culture, religion, language and the way of life.

Later, the Dalai Lama’s motorcade proceeded to the Belgian Senate where he was warmly received by the Senate President Mrs. Anne Marie Lizin with a guard of honour by the security personnel of the Senate.

In her introductory speech, the President said, inter alia, "Buddhism seems to be at the bottom of a profound force able to influence our lives and it has instilled a doubt in modern scientific knowledge about the value of pure intelligence devoid of its affective roots."

In his address to the Senate, the Dalai Lama said it was crucial for China to have moral authority and bot just was population, military and economic progress to become a super power. And to have moral authority, Chinese people should be granted freedom of expression in their political and religious lives including the right to practice and belief, he said.

Following the address to the Belgian Senate, the Dalai Lama met the Belgian Inter-parliamentary Group for Tibet chaired by Mr. Walter Muls and discussed the issue of Tibet. He told the Group that the Tibetan issue will not go away with the Dalai Lama as the educated Tibetan youngsters in Tibet who are fluent in Chinese had stronger sense of Tibetan nationalism.

The Dalai Lama then met Mr. Charles Picques, Minister President of the government of Brussels, Capital Region, who shared the communal problems of his own region and asked for the Dalai Lama’s advice in making his region a model of unity in diversity.

A Xinhua (the Chinese government-owned news agency) correspondent was also among the 30 journalists who attended a June 2 press conference with the Dalai Lama.

The Dalai lama will give 3-day teachings on Nagarjuna's Treaties on the Middle Way at Tour & Taxi where he was warmly received by the Mr. Freddy Thielesman, Mayor of Brussels City who introduced the Dalai Lama and spoke about the Tibetan people and their struggle.

With inputs from Bureau du Tibet, Brussels