Tuesday, May 3, 2011
His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Tokyo
[Tibet House Japan] April 29, 2011 Friday
Tokyo: His Holiness the Dalai Lama met with Japanese and foreign media
this afternoon before presiding over a mass prayer at Gokokuji Temple.
His Holiness said that he was deeply saddened that Japan was struck
with three cataclysmic natural disasters one after another –
earthquake, tsunami and threat from the damaged nuclear plant. Japan
being a Buddhist country, images of the Buddhist monasteries and the
Japanese friends came before him and he felt sad, he said. “I am happy
to have this opportunity to be with the people here and share their
sorrow and pray for those who have lost their precious lives.
“But the tragedy has happened; there is no use worrying about it. Just
as Japan has overcome the tragedy of World War II, I’m quite sure the
people of Japan can overcome this tragedy and move forward to rebuild
what has been lost in this disaster. You should not lose heart, you
need to face the reality with determination,” His Holiness said.
When asked about the situation in Tibet and his decision to devolve
his formal responsibilities to the elected Tibetan leadership, His
Holiness said he has been committed to democracy and freedom.
“Political tsunami has been going on in Tibet. Now these days there is
a real danger of Tibetan Buddhist culture being destroyed. Some kind
of cultural genocide is going on in Tibet. Media people should go
there and investigate and see what is happening there.
“Another aspect of Tibetan problem is ecology. Some Chinese ecologists
have said that the high plateau of Tibet is the third pole; global
warming effect on Tibetan plateau is as dangerous as that of North and
South poles. Major Asian rivers originate from Tibet. Lives of million
of people in Asia including China depend on these rivers. This is not
a problem of six million Tibetans!” His Holiness said.
Regarding his decision to relinquish formal responsibilities, he said
that the world belongs to humanity; it does not belong to religious
leaders and governments. “Japan belongs to Japanese people; China
belongs to 1.3 billion Chinese, not to the communist party. Since 2001
we have a directly elected leadership and I was in semi-retirement.
Now, after ten years, I see that with maturity of democracy among
Tibetans in exile, the day has come to handover the political
authority to the people. But this does not mean that I am resigning
from being the Dalai Lama.
“Since the inception of the Dalai Lama institution in the 15th
century, it was a spiritual institution. It was only from the 5th
Dalai Lama onwards that political authority was also assumed by the
Dalai Lamas. Now, the Dalai Lama`s role should be purely spiritual,
and I voluntarily, proudly and happily end this four-century old
leadership” He said.
On Chinese government, His Holiness said that China is the most
populated nation with a long rich history and culture. It has become a
great economy also. Now, if the People`s Republic of China wants to
play more constructive role at international level, trust and respect
is very important. Trying to keep everything as State secret and doing
away with press freedom is harmful to China in the long run. 1.3
billion Chinese people have the right to know the truth, they also
have the ability to judge right from wrong. Distorting information is
His Holiness appreciated Premier Wen Jiabao`s recent comments
including most recently in Malaysia regarding political reform and
democracy and said that he fully supports the Premier`s initiatives.
Following the press briefing, His Holiness presided over the mass
prayer assembly at the Temple where some over four thousand people
have gathered. Mr. Lhakpa Tsohko, Representative at Liaison Office of
His Holiness the Dalai Lama for Japan & East Asia made a brief
introductory statement on behalf of the organizers.
His Holiness along with the Tibetan monks recited prayers including
Sherab Nyingpo (Heart sutra). Later the Japanese monks and the general
public recited the Japanese version of the Heart Sutra,
Ven. Okamoto, Chief Abbot of the Gokokuji Temple expressed his
happiness over being able to pray for the victims of the recent
disaster with His Holiness. He thanked His Holiness for taking time
out to share the grief and sorrow of the people here. Chief Abbot of
Tsurumi Sotoshu Temple Ven. Eigawa also thanked His Holiness the Dalai
Lama for his prayers and encouragement.
In his public address, His Holiness said that as soon as he heard
about the disaster in Japan, he felt a great urge to be with the
people to console and share their grief, and that he was very happy to
get this opportunity to attend this mass prayer for the people who had
lost their lives and those who had lost their dear ones, and those who
are displaced. He advised the Japanese people to look forward and not
to lose hope. “I am sure you people can do it, you have done this in
the past after World War II. Disasters and difficult times teach us
many valuable lesson, we need to reflect on these.” His Holiness said.
His Holiness`s words were received by many in tears and joy. Many were
seen with folded hands in deep prayers. Many made prostration and many
were seen with Khata, Tibetan scarves.
Ven. Hayashi of Japanese Buddhist Association in his concluding
remarks thanked His Holiness for his time and said that each time His
Holiness visits Japan, people here are greatly inspired and energized.
“Prayers have profound effect and energy; we are greatly honored to
have His Holiness the Dalai Lama preside over this 49th day of
Buddhist formal mourning period. The fact that so many people have
gathered will be a great inspiration to the people in the affected
regions in particular and the Japanese public in general.” He said.
North-Eastern part of Japan was hit by an earthquake of 9.0 Magnitude
on March 11, followed by a strong tsunami which brought great
destruction to the lives and properties in the region. As an aftermath
of the tragedy, nuclear radiation problem is still disturbing Japan.
As of now more than 14,000 people have died, more than 13,000 are
still missing and many are displaced.