The faint noise of protestors chanting “One China!” could be heard by attendees of the Dalai Lama’s public talk as they were making their way into the Ottawa Civic Center, April 28.
The event was organized by the Canada Tibet Committee. The Dalai Lama was introduced by American actor Richard Gere with the subject of the talk being "Ethics for a Whole World".
“We are about to spend some time with someone we know really well, the whole world knows,” said Gere.
Gere went on to say how there was no one else like him in our lifetime as photographers swarmed the front of the stage.
“One of the great human beings to walk on this earth,” said Gere.
The Dalai Lama entered the Ottawa Civic Centre to a long applause from about 7,000 audience members. He came onto the stage wearing his usual yellow and dark red with a cap on his head that matched his robes, smiling at the audience before speaking.
“Every part of [the] world is part of me. [If you’re] full of fear, you cannot develop this thinking,” said the Dalai Lama.
He spoke about how friendship can only develop out of trust and spoke about how to attain peace all over the world.
“This century should be a century of dialogue,” said the Dalai Lama.
He spoke about how many things are lost because of war. He stated that people must look back at the past and utilize the present with vision and determination to make this century the one of peace.
“My generation [is] now trying to relax; now it’s your turn. Think of how to build [a] healthy world, happy world, peaceful world,” said the Dalai Lama.
While his generation can relax, the Dalai Lama’s schedule is filled with public talks, teachings and keynote addresses that he will be doing worldwide this year.
During his stop in Ottawa, he wanted the audience to realize the effect each person can have and how we must change our line of thinking and see each other as one being. He said that we must all take good care of the rest of the world.
He said as he was driving through Delhi, India, he saw poor children and fortunately, his car stopped and he gave them money. He gave a small girl some chocolate and she smiled.
“You also get as much joy as they get,” said the Dalai Lama.
After he finished speaking, he gave time at the end for a question and answer period where he was asked how encourage people in Tibet. The Dalai Lama told the crowd that he had heard about the protestors outside. The Dalai Lama said he respects Canada’s freedom of expression and hopes for it in other places. He said they should not feel discouraged because he said there were already signs of change.
The Dalai Lama also spoke about how Tibet no longer wants separation from China.
“That is in the past,” said the Dalai Lama.
Yet, they do have requests including a separate judicial system and less censorship.
“Tibet wants China to be more open [and] transparent,” said the Dalai Lama.
The Dalai Lama also joked with the audience, commenting on how it can be awkward when it comes to taking pictures with the Chinese.
People could not help but chuckle along with his famous laugh, as one audience member nearby described it as “cute”.
While he spoke, young Buddhist Teuzin Donsel clapped strongly as he spoke about the protestors and the on-going issues with the Chinese government. She came from Toronto to listen to him because it had been more than two years since she had heard any of his teachings.
She said hearing him speak about the protestors helped calm her.
“At first [when I saw the protestors], I was a little angry, but after listening to him like he said, they are human beings,” said Donsel.