Dalai Lama preaches message of compassion

AAP, June 15, 2008

Sydney, Australia -- The Dalai Lama captivated thousands in Sydney with his preachings on vanity, birth control and the imperative of truth and conviction as necessary means to stem global violence.

His holiness joked and laughed about the modern-day habits of the western world but always brought the discussion back to one central topic: infinite compassion, unbiased compassion, real compassion.

He gave a public talk to a packed house of 6500 onlookers at The Dome in Sydney Olympic Park - a late addition to his five-day schedule of meditation teachings that ends tomorrow.

Couples often find love in one another through external attraction, the Tibetan leader said, but that will eventually wear off, leaving them with the inevitable focus on “the inner ugliness”.

“External beauty - you can make ...I think quite expensive,” the 72-year-old Nobel laureate said.

“Some makes them look like (they) come from outer space.”

“Therefore, I think inner beauty very important.”

He also sparked widespread laughter when asked during question time about the issue of global population growth.

“Religion can make a good contribution to birth control,” he said.

“So best thing is more nuns - more monks.”

The Dalai Lama said human compassion begins with honesty, forgiveness and tolerance, but those qualities do not necessarily have to originate from religion.

“Some portion of society are non-believers,” his holiness said.

“We must have different approach to bring conviction to non-believers.”

He said a “secular” approach was “very, very important” but qualified his use of the term by saying no religion reigned highest or was required for the moral ingredients of compassion.

“Without touching religious faith - simply using common sense - we can bring compassion (and) importance of love and kindness,” he said.

Islam is being tarnished by a few who preach untruths and behave in direct contradiction to the religion, the Dalai Lama said.

“My Muslim friend told me we must extend love to others as to Allah.”

“Despite the negative imputations of Islam and other denominations, people can't generalise all traditions.”

He noted that while Australia was an island nation, the global sense of being connected to other countries continued to strengthen.

“Now today's reality - your livelihood very much dependent on other continents.”

His holiness offered some advice to world leaders to consider before they come together to global issues.

“I wish the leaders of these big countries should have some certain period for holiday,” he said.

“To have a place with their families to spend time together.”

“This may help to bring friendship, then differences in politics and the agenda should be discussed.”

Many in the audience took notice when the Dalai Lama was asked “what can the west do to help Tibet”?

He urged people to educate themselves on the “real situation of Tibet” and the country's culture, history and traditions.

“Please do not forget us,” he said.    “Please investigate thoroughly inside Tibet - check all our files.”

“We welcome it - even (from) Chinese officials.”

“There are billions of Chinese people with wrong information.”

“We are not pro-Tibet, we are pro-justice.”

He thanked the crowd for opting to attend his talk instead of going out to “a nightclub”.

“You are free, you can enjoy anything, but you come here. Thank you very much.”

About 200 Members of a Buddhist group known as the Western Shugden Society (WSS) continued their peaceful protests outside the entrance of the venue.

They accuse the Dalai Lama of suppressing religious freedom and driving them out of the Buddhist community.

They chanted “Dalai Lama stop lying”, “Dalai Lama give religious freedom” and waved placards.

A WSS spokeswoman said the Dalai Lama's campaign against a Buddhist deity called Dorje Shugden had resulted in thousands of monks being expelled from monasteries, supporters denied food, medicine and travel visas, families being ostracised and Shugden temples being destroyed.