HH the Dalai Lama Visits Yeunten Ling Institute, Belgium

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing Tibetans, Mongolians and Tibet support groups from Belgium and Holland who came to Yeunten Ling Institute in Huy, Belgium, on May 24, 2012. Photo/Jeremy Russell/OHHDL

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Dharamshala: - His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited the Yeunten Ling Institute in Huy, Belgium, on May 24 as part of his current European schedule. The retreat centre was founded in 1983 by the Venerable Lama Orgyen. The institute is a Kagyu centre which has roots in the Sonada Monastery in Darjeeling, India and is one of the oldest Tibetan Buddhist centers in Europe.

His Holiness talked to members of the Tibetan exile community living in the Benelux countries, and some members of the Mongolian community in Europe, and reminded them to have self-confidence in their cultural identity.

He expressed his belief that wherever Tibetans may find themselves in the World they must never forget that their ''blood, flesh and bones come from Tibet'' and that the cause of Tibet is one based on truth and justice. His Holiness also explained that Tibetans in exile must keep their language alive not just for reasons of their own personal identity, but also because the most comprehensive teachings of the Buddhist canon are in Tibetan and so therefore of tremendous value to all.

His Holiness also expressed his delight that Tibetan was being taught at the centre and that Tibetan children born in Europe could learn their own language as well as the language of their adopted country.

Members of the media asked His Holiness about the current crop of self-immolations taking place in Tibet and outside Tibet by young Tibetans. He replied that this is a very sensitive political subject and that, invariably, the Chinese authorities would try to use the issue to blame him for trouble arising inside of Tibet. As before, he said he would remain silent on the issue. However he did urge people to travel to Tibet and see for themselves the conditions that give rise to such acts.

His Holiness continued, "Since these tragedies have been taking place, I have strongly advocated following Deng Xiaoping's advice to seek truth from facts, although the facts should be genuine, not just items of propaganda."

On world issues the Dalai Lama mentioned the growing income and wealth gap between the poor and the rich, and the gap between the political and geographical North and South. He said he believed that the media has an important job to do in highlighting multiple problems such as corruption and should ''sniff out'' problems and so thereby inform the public and then let them draw their own conclusions on the matter.

His Holiness also gave some teachings on ethical issues such as the importance of being mentally strong in the face of distracting sensory input, and in securing the happiness that all human beings truly desire.