SENDAI, Japan: Praising the Japanese people’s spirit and strength to recover in the face of immense suffering and destruction, His Holiness the Dalai Lama encouraged victims of the devastating natural disaster which hit Japan in 2011 to look to future with optimism and determination.
A Society for Prayers – 2014 invited His Holiness the Dalai Lama to give emotional support and zest for living for people in Sendai, one of worst regions during the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.
Before addressing the gathering on “Finding Wisdom and Confidence in the Face of Terrible Loss”, His Holiness the Dalai Lama joined Shinto priests for a special prayer service for the disaster victims.
“I am really happy to meet you once again in this time of tragedy and honoured to take part in many Shinto traditional prayer services. I want to especially express my solidarity with those of you who have suffered immense loss during the tragedy,” His Holiness the Dalai Lama told a packed auditorium.
His Holiness advised them not to remain disheartened and hopeless because doing so will not reduce the suffering. “It is important to develop self-confidence to transform tragedy into self-determination and optimism to build a better future,” His Holiness the Dalai Lama said.
His Holiness reiterated that Japan and Germany serve an example of resilience in the face of immense tragedy. “These two nations suffered immense suffering and destruction during the second world war, but showed great determination to rebuild a very stable and strong nation from the ashes of war destruction.”
“All these were achieved through self-confidence, transforming the tragedy into determination and will power based on optimism to rebuild a better future,” he added.
His Holiness further said: “It is a matter of great sadness that many people lost their loved ones in the natural disaster. But remaining worried and sad would not end your suffering. It will instead bring more suffering upon yourself and sadness to the departed souls.”
“In spite of the tragedy, if you work hard with determination and optimism to lead a more truthful, honest and compassionate life, then the departed souls of your loved ones would be very happy. So think that way,” he added.
To inspire them to look forward with hope and courage, His Holiness recounted his own life story and the upheavals that he and the Tibetan people have undergone.
“I lost my freedom at the age of 16 and lost my country at 24. We Tibetans have faced problems and challenges in exile for the last past more than 55 years. But we never gave up hope and determination. At the initial stage of our exile life, many Tibetans complaint to me that the jungle that the Indian government provided us for rehabilitation are inhospitable and they might die of the extreme hot climate. To beat the heat, I advised them to work at night and rest at day time to prepare the base for the settlement. After one year, I visited the settlement and told them that they were not dead. I visited that settlement in January this year and it has become a very successful and thriving one. So everything depends on how our mind reacts and will power when faced with difficulties in life. Always look in a more holistic way during such time.”
His Holiness also responded to numerous questions from the audience.
Ms Kawakami Hiroko, head of the organising committee, said: “It is our earnest hope that, through this kind of prayer and, especially, through the words of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, those who are suffering may regain strength, optimism and confidence.”
Tomorrow, His Holiness the Dalai Lama will visit Seifu Gaken Boys High School and give a talk to students on “What one would hope for the young people to do”.