Tokyo, Japan — The spiritual leader of Tibet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, arrived for his 23rd trip to Japan on November 8th for an extended trip including a series of public talks and Buddhist teachings.
His Holiness was received at the airport by several old Japanese friends, including the organizer of the trip and principal of Seifu High School, Mr Hiraoka Kouichi. Around 100 Tibetans were also waiting outside the airport to welcome to His Holiness.
Traveling to Kyoto on the 9th he began his public engagements with a visit to Honganji Temple, where he was received by Chief Priest Otani Choujyun.
Before His Holiness appeared on the stage, a group of primary school children presented a song titled 'Arigatou no hana' in honor of his visit to Honganji temple. His Holiness thanked each child for the beautiful rendition of the song.
His Holiness addressed an audience of more than 500, saying how honored he felt to visit such an historic temple. He explained that when visiting Western countries, he is hesitant to talk about Buddhism to people with a Judeo-Christian background. However, since Japan is traditionally a Buddhist country he is comfortable advising his listeners to be 21st century Buddhists.
Regarding creating a more peaceful world, he said, "Peace is not a mere absence of war or violence—it's deeper than that. What leads to inner peace is cultivating a compassionate heart. It is developing inner peace that creates peaceful individuals, communities, and a peaceful humanity. We talk about a demilitarized world, but first need to achieve inner disarmament. Although I may not see it in my lifetime, I am convinced that if we make a serious effort now, the world could become a more peaceful place in the latter part of the 21st century."
His Holiness then told the members of the audience that he prefers discussion and invited questions. He light-heartedly said "I love and respect Japanese culture. But I don't like too much formality in their cultural etiquette."
Taking a question from an audience member about how to bring compassion into business. His Holiness said that the quality of all actions depends on the motivation for them. "At present, because the existing education system is oriented towards material goals, we take a materialistic view of life. However, by itself this does not lead to happiness.
"Today, despite progress in science and technology, we face many problems, essentially because we lack moral principles. We need to cultivate compassion and greater respect for other's well-being. When action is motivated by anger or hatred it brings about harmful results. Action motivated by compassion brings about beneficial results."
Together with Chief Priest Otani Choujyun His Holiness made a joint statement closing their meeting.
"The purpose of our lives is to be happy. Buddha taught us how to eliminate suffering and how to obtain happiness.
"To be happy we must recognize the kindness of others—the kindness of our parents, siblings, spouses, friends, teachers, all sentient beings and even the natural environment. Recognizing the kindness of others will lead us to feel compassion for others.
"Based on the Buddha's teachings all of us gathered here today declare our commitment to do our best to create a better society in order to help everyone in the world achieve happiness."
Leaving Kyoto, His Holiness traveled to Osaka where he will rest and prepare for his next engagement. He will be in Japan until November 26th.