A Peaceful Power

This past weekend, His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke at two events at the Stan Sheriff Center on the UH-Mānoa campus. He addressed high school and college students at the first event, “Educating the Heart.” At the second, “Advancing Peace through the Power of Aloha,” he addressed the general public. The two talks were part of a series of events planned by a Hawai‘i-based initiative called Pillars of Peace. Mānoa interns Megan Oshiro and Nelson Rivera attended the Saturday event, and Pat Matsueda the Sunday one.

The Dalai Lama spoke extemporaneously, drawing on the more than fifty years he has tried to lead the Tibetan people while exiled from his homeland. He characterized the PRC’s takeover of Tibet as a tragedy, but one that “woke” Tibetans and united them in a way they had not been before.

Having accepted that Tibet is a part of the PRC, he exemplified two of the principles he was trying to express: being realistic, and using one’s intelligence to understand situations, particularly the elements that appear to be in conflict. He also drew connections between valuing education and using one’s native intelligence to solve problems and stressed the importance of approaching people on a personal level, without bias and judgement. When we do that, he said, we open ourselves to the possibility of empathy and compassion. And when we do that with our enemies, we make forgiveness possible. Forgiving, he stressed, does not mean accepting wrongful deeds.

Related issues of Mānoa:

Song of the Snow Lion: New Writing from Tibet (vol. 12, no. 2); purchasing information. Excerpts:

Chinese rule had an immediate and striking impact on the Tibetan language at every level—because it was initially used as the means for the Communists to convey their message. At this stage, Tibetan intellectuals were recruited as “important patriotic personages”—a class that would mediate between the past and the present. Because many of the early literary elite came from monasteries and the religious community, the Chinese assumed that they would be trusted by the masses.—from “The Waterfall and Fragrant Flowers: The Development of Tibetan Literature Since 1950” by Tsering Shakya

He crawled to her side and marked a bloody cross on their son’s pure-white forehead. With a laugh, he spoke these last words: “Damn. Killing everywhere. With knives. With guns. That’s life.” Ugyen watched his mother pull his father’s knife from his belt and solemnly lay it on him there inside her robe, passing on the legacy to him. The icy blade on his face made him shudder as if he’d gotten an electric shock. The cold steel of the knife pressed against his chest so heavy he couldn’t breathe. His father stroked his face, laughed contentedly, then died.–from “The Glory of the Wind Horse” by Tashi Dawa


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