Dalai Lama encourages hurricane Katrina victims to not lose hope

AP, Sept 12, 2005

WASHINGTON, USA -- The Dalai Lama offered a message of hope Sunday to the thousands of victims of hurricane Katrina, saying such tragedies often bring out the best in human nature.

The exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader, who is on a 20-day U.S. visit, told ABC's This Week that the outpouring of sympathy and support from around the world for those devastated in the southern states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama "is a sign of human compassion."

"In our blood, the seed of compassion is there, because we are a social animal," he said. "Generally, where there is a challenge, we have the capacity to overcome that challenge."

The Dalai Lama is making his first trip to America since 2003. He encouraged hurricane victims to put their faith in their fellow human beings.

"When we are really passing through a difficult period, it is very important to try to keep calm," he said. "And then, most important, you should not lose hope and optimism. We must keep our determination, our self-confidence and look at more wider perspective."

The Dalai Lama, who won the Nobel Prize in 1989, is known as an envoy for peace and tolerance. He is based in northern India, where he fled the Chinese Red Army's march into Tibet in 1959.