Hundreds of people welcome His Holiness the Dalai Lama on his third visit to Estonia
Tallinn, Estonia, (by Toomas Tiivel) - His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama arrived in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia from France this afternoon. His Holiness will stay in Estonia for three days until the afternoon of 18 August, and the hosts for this visit are the Estonian Institute of Buddhism and the Riigikogu Tibet Support Group (Estonian Parliamentary group for Tibet). This is His Holiness’ third visit to Estonia, the previous two visits having taken place in 1991 and 2001.
At the Tallinn Airport His Holiness was welcomed by the main organisers of this visit, the Director of the Estonian Institute of Buddhism Mr. Sven Grünberg and the leader of the Estonian Parliamentary group for Tibet MP Mr. Andres Herkel.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s first public engagement for this current visit to Estonia started with an audience at the conference center of the Radisson Blu Hotel in Tallinn. There was a meeting of His Holiness and people from the Institute of Buddhism as well as guests invited by the Institute. All together there were more than 400 persons in the hall - politicians, ministers, members of Parliament, scholars from the Estonian universities, representatives of various non-governmental organisations, intellectuals as well as members of the different Buddhist groups in Estonia.
Opening the meeting, the Director of the Institute Mr. Sven Grünberg compared the event – His Holiness’ visit to Estonia with a miracle, although Buddhism does not recognise miracles. He said also that people are here not only to get something but also to give – we have to make sure that the Tibetan civilization and culture will not vanish. He gave a present to His Holiness from the Institute – an umbrella in the national colours of Estonia – blue, black and white.
In his speech His Holiness remembered with warm words his first two visits to Estonia and to other Baltic States some years ago, mentioning that he loved Estonia and Estonian people for their courage and the bravery during complicated times 20 and more years ago. His Holiness spoke of the respect which he held for the Estonian people for the strength and determination that they have shown in their struggle for freedom and in their establishing democracy following a long period of authoritarian Communist rule.
His Holiness told the large gathering that it was good to base our life on hope because no one can predict the future. He said if a person lost hope then many bad things can happen and this is why it is much better to remain hopeful and follow the path of peace and non-violence. “Only through cultivation of inner peace can we attain lasting and long-term peace in the world. All the religions and faith have the same potential to promote peace,” His Holiness said, adding that “Religion must be the method to solve problems and not create problems”. There must be a freedom to believe and to practice your own religion and traditions. There have been very difficult times in Tibet for both Buddhism and the Buddhist. The Chinese see Buddhism in Tibet, where the majority of people are Buddhists, as an enemy for the Chinese state. Many original Buddhist texts are still forbidden in schools and universities.
Following the address, the Tibetan Nobel Peace Laureate also answered a series of questions from the audience ranging from his growing up in Tibet, the present situation there, his recent resignation from the post of the political leader of Tibet and how people from different countries can help the Tibetans. His Holiness told the supporters that he does not consider their support for the Tibetan people as being pro-Tibet or anti-Chinese but rather as pro-justice and pro-truth. People must be free inside, in their thoughts as well as beliefs.
His Holiness´ schedule for the afternoon also included an interview for Estonian television channel Kanal 2.
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