-Filed by Office of Tibet, Brussels-
Rotterdam, Netherlands: The second-day schedule of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the Netherlands took place in Ahoy Rotterdam. The venue is well-known in the country and it was taken up to its capacity of 15 thousand seats.
The major event was the public talk on Why Compassion is Essential in Our Troubled World. Among others, His Holiness dwelt on the sufferings of people in Afghanistan, Syria and many African countries.
He was troubled by the violence and destruction perpetrated in the name of religion. Once again he reiterated the role of Indian secularism, which has created the bedrock for religious harmony in the country, which can be replicated in the parts of the world too.
He also recalled the wonderful example of the European Union. Erstwhile archenemies like Germany and France have come together to ensure peace, security and prosperity in the member states. He thought that this concept could be extended via Russia to the Far East. Russia could be a bridge between Europe and China, he said. Not only that African Union from the North to the South and the East to the West could be a vision too.
While answering to a question he said that violence was being generated in the name of nationality, colour and religion. He believed if religion could continue to be the cause of further suffering in the world, it is well that it would be better to have no religion at all.
On a lighter note, to a question as what was the benefit of being monks and nuns, firstly he said it was the best solution to the population control. It brought a loud applause from the public.
He continued further that the monks and nuns had lives devoid of continued worry and concerns from parents to grandparents to children and grandchildren. In that, they had a greater capacity to be useful to others.
The question-answer session prolonged beyond the schedule. To the series of statements by His Holiness to the effect that it was the last question, each time the public greeted it much appreciation and applause.
Earlier in within the same hall the 30th anniversary of the International Campaign of Tibet (ICT) was held. Ms Tsering Jampa, executive director of ICT Europe gave a brief update on the ICT’s activities.
It was followed up by a dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and actor Richard Gere. They shared their life experiences in a lively talk and discussion.
But the morning’s schedule began with an audience to Tibetan community who have come from around Europe. The biggest contingent from Belgium, the Netherlands, from Spain, France, the UK, Austria etc. Over 5000 Tibetans packed the adjacent hall of Arena where the main public talk was held.
Tibetan community leaders in the Netherlands presented a written report to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. After the talk to the Tibetans, they presented to him a silver Dharma wheel to express their gratitude to His Holiness during which he graciously took photos with them. He also appreciated the Tibetan voluntary teachers of the Tibetan Sunday school. They were presented their certificates and also a group photo became the final snapshot of Tibetan community event.
The gist of His Holiness talk to the Tibetan was that the Tibetans are hardworking people and that though we are undergoing difficulties. But there would be time for the release from that suffering. In the meanwhile preserve our ancient heritage, language, religion and culture. Strive to protect Tibetan delicate ecology. He also narrated and recalled Tibetan political struggle and explained how the Middle Way Approach came to be adopted.
He left behind for the Tibetan public enough holy pills and strings to be distributed to those who had come for the audience.