Dharamshala — "I usually consider America to be the leading nation of the free world -- very important. But, this expression 'America First,' I don't like that. America, leader of the free world should take concern with humanity, concern for global responsibility... some of his thinking, I feel, is sad," His Holiness the Dalai Lama said of the US President during his time in Manipur.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama took his first journey to the northeastern state of Manipur on October 18th, where he was received by the Speaker of the Manipur Legislative Assembly, Y. Khemchand Singh, the Chief Minister, N. Biren Singh, as well as the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police.
Meeting with members of the local media at the City Convention Centre, His Holiness said, “I’ve been aware of Manipur since I was a child, and now I am extremely happy to actually be here among you.
“Wherever I go, I always stress that as human beings we are all the same. We all want to live a happy life, which is our right, and the key to doing so is developing compassion for others.
His Holiness also suggested to members of the media that they too have a responsibility to promote a positive outlook, not dwelling solely on negative stories, and told them it is important to highlight corruption and abuse of power wherever it occurs.
Asked whether there would be a 15th Dalai Lama, His Holiness replied, “Whether a 15th Dalai Lama is recognised is not my business. As early as 1969 I made clear that whether the institution of the Dalai Lama continues after me will be up to the Tibetan people to decide. I’ve also made it clear that when I’m between 85 and 90, I will discuss the future of the succession with Tibet’s other spiritual leaders.
“As far as political responsibility is concerned, I’ve been semi-retired since 2001 and completely retired since 2011, because we now have a democratically elected political leader. Not only that, I also proudly, voluntarily and happily put an end to the almost four centuries-old tradition of the Dalai Lamas being both the temporal and spiritual leaders of Tibet.”
More than 700 people waited to greet His Holiness as he entered the auditorium in Manipur. Speaker Khemchand Singh welcomed the Nobel Laureate on behalf of the entire state of Manipur and invited him to address the gathering.
“Many of the problems we face today are of our own making,” His Holiness began. “Why is this? Because we are subject to emotions without properly using our intelligence. Human beings are not fundamentally negative, but are prone to be swayed by anger and fear. We take such emotions for granted without realizing how destructive they can be.”
His Holiness observed that challenges like climate change affect us all and that in today’s globalized world, communities and continents are interdependent. The idea of one side only securing victory, while the other suffers utter defeat is no longer realistic. Instead of seeking to solve problems by force, he said, we need to engage in dialogue.
His Holiness urged modern Indians to pay more attention to the ancient knowledge of the workings of the mind that is part of their heritage.
“Our existing education system focuses on material goals such as money and power. The ancient Indian understanding of mind and emotions shows us how to develop inner peace, which is very relevant in today’s world. I believe India is the only nation that can combine this ancient knowledge with modern education and so make a significant contribution to world peace.”
As for the problems pertaining to the Northeastern region of India, he urged the people to think more broadly and also use the democratic rights that come with being part of a great democracy. He said, “You can criticize if the central government’s policies are not suitable.”
The spiritual leader also fielded a question about the American President, saying,"I usually consider America to be the leading nation of the free world -- very important. But, this expression 'America First,' I don't like that. America, leader of the free world should take concern with humanity, concern for global responsibility... some of his thinking, I feel, is sad."
His Holiness left Manipur this morning en route to return to Dharamsala.