25 June 2012
Guest blog: An Audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama
On 16th June His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave a talk in Manchester. In place of the Children's Commissioner Josh, a member of Amplify, the OCC's advisory group (made up of children and young people) attended. Below is his unedited blog about the day. The views expressed are his own.
The event began with a build-up of anticipation and excitement as we waited in our seats for His Holiness to arrive. Security was heavy and various pieces of filming and recording equipment were in place around the room.
The reception began with a rather long opening question. It asked how His Holiness thought the effects of the current economic and climatic turmoil encompassed with a loss of society's moral compass were impacting children and young people in the 21st century. His Holiness's response was that there are traces of mistakes made by the previous generation that are still negatively impacting on our younger generation today. One example used by His Holiness was the tragedy that occurred at Hiroshima when the Allied forces bombed hundreds of thousands of Japanese soldiers and citizens. With a second including mention of former President Bush and the situation in Afghanistan. He said that while the motivations of peace and democracy were correct, the former president's methods of war and invasion were wrong. Although he loved former president Bush as a fellow human being, he had certain reservations about his policies.
Turning to the subject of universal equality His Holiness commented on the judging of others by religion and faith. He said this was an "outdated" way of life and that we should and must live as one human family. His Holiness then spoke of how pleased he was with the recent evolution of the Human rights movement, with a particular emphasis on the right to self-determination.
Further discussion included talk of the younger generation's opportunity to create a new and better world. He talked of young people's need for a grand vision and the importance of international co-operation, honesty and truth. He also stressed how vital it was that we keep a calm mind when approaching problems, and do our very best to avoid turning to violence.
A question by Youthnet asked if His Holiness used Facebook or Twitter, His Holiness replied that although the office had an account; he himself was part of the minority that did not have an account. The same was said about an iPad he had received as a gift. He simply said "It looked nice, but I didn't know how to use it!"
Overall the experience for me was very humbling, and extremely insightful. Regardless of his lack of technological expertise His Holiness seemed very in-tune with the needs of the people of the 21st century. His message of peace, tolerance and international co-operation is one we would all do well to adhere to.