Monday, October 27, 2014

'Make a Peaceful World': Dalai Lama Says

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama - The Dalai Lama's message of peace echoed throughout Regions Field on Sunday afternoon, with thousands of curious onlookers and devoted followers soaking up his message, and soaking up the sun on a hot day.

"If you feel too hot, that's not my mistake," said Tenzin Gyatso, 79, the 14th Dalai Lama, who came to Alabama a stranger and left with thousands feeling they now know the revered spiritual leader. Communist China took over Tibet in 1950. Gyatso and other Tibetans moved to India to set up a government in exile. Hundreds of his fellow Tibetans made the trip to Alabama from all the country. A dozen Tibetan monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery chanted before the Dalai Lama came to the stage that was set up in center field at the baseball stadium downtown.

Birmingham Mayor William Bell joined the Dalai Lama onstage and His Holiness urged him to move closer, under the shade of an umbrella a Buddhist monk was holding up to shield him from the sun. Later, workers brought a tent onstage so Bell and the Dalai Lama would be sitting in the shade.

The Dalai Lama called on young people to carry forth his message of peace. "In order to make this century a century of peace, we must make this a century of dialogue," he said. "It is your responsibility to make a peaceful world."

Several hundred youth were in the audience, some part of school groups, others encouraged to attend by their parents for the cultural experience.

William Hagood brought his daughter, Emily, 13. "I want her to have exposure to lots of different ways of thinking," Hagood said.

Emily said she agreed with the Dalai Lama's call to youth. "Someday, we'll be the adults; it's all on us," she said. "I think it was amazing to get to see him."

Janet McGowin also brought her daughter, Elena, 13. "It's a once in a lifetime experience," the mother said. "They may not understand everything he said, but they'll remember this. He's got a good message."

Elena said she understood the point of the Dalai Lama's message. "We need to do the right thing," Elena said. "You have to think about everyone around you."

Bell asked the Dalai Lama about the civil rights movement, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and King it has influenced him in his struggle for human rights. The Dalai Lama said he had visited the place where King was shot in Memphis. "I'm one of the admirers of the late Martin Luther King," the Dalai Lama said. "Although he's no longer alive, his spirit is still very much relevant, very much alive. We must keep his spirit alive. Different places, still discrimination. His spirit is very much relevant."

original link and photos: http://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2014/10/make_a_peaceful_worlddalai_lam.html

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