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His Holiness the Dalai Lama Arrives in the UK

June 27th 2015

London, UK, 27 June 2015 - His Holiness the Dalai Lama flew from Dharamsala to Delhi yesterday afternoon. This morning before setting out for the United Kingdom, he gave an interview to Ms Jyoti Malhotra of India Today. Scattered cloud interrupted views of London as his flight came in to land. He was met at the door of the plane by Shri MP Singh, First Secretary (Protocol) at the Indian High Commission and Mr Kaji Sherpa, President of the Buddhist Community Centre UK.

Nepalese members of the Buddhist Community Centre were present at the hotel, a short drive from the airport, to greet His Holiness and offer him a traditional welcome. Before he retired for the night, a journalist from AP took the opportunity to ask him several questions. He first of all wanted to know why His Holiness was coming to the Glastonbury Festival. He replied:

“If an invitation comes I am happy to accept it. I’m one of the 7 billion human beings alive today. And I believe we all have to make the welfare  of our fellow human beings our concern. We are social animals; we all depend on each other. Whenever I get the opportunity, this is what I try to share with people. And because we are essentially the same, physically, mentally and emotionally the same, I think it’s possible that people may find my experience useful to them too.”

Asked if he would stay to watch the musical performances, he said that as a Buddhist monk, he is not permitted to do that, although, of course, he’ll be able to hear it.

He was asked how he responded to the protests against his visit by the International Shugden Community and the fierce criticism of it by the Chinese authorities. He answered that the Chinese complaint has become routine. He said since they portray him as a demon, hardliners among the Chinese authorities feel they have to oppose him even though he is not pursuing independence for Tibet. However, he does assert a right to try to preserve Tibet’s unique religion, culture and language.

As for the Dolgyal / Shugden issue, it’s been going on for nearly 400 years.

“From the early ‘50s until the early ‘70s, I propitiated this spirit myself out of ignorance, but then I noticed that there were problems associated with it and did some research into it. I discovered that it began at the time of the 5th Dalai Lama and that he considered it to be an evil and harmful spirit. What people choose to believe is their own business, but it is my duty to make clear what is a source of harm. Members of this group are angry with me, but they are just exercising their freedom of speech.”

His Holiness was also asked about the terrorist events that took place yesterday. He distinguished natural disasters like the Nepalese earthquakes from man-made tragedies like these terrorist attacks, which we should be able to prevent. However, he pointed out that once people’s minds are severely disturbed by strong disturbing emotions like anger and hatred, it’s very hard to calm them down again. He said that occasions when people unleash violence in the name of religion are unthinkable. He repeated his view that it is all the more important to train those who are young at present how to resolve conflict through dialogue and accommodation rather than the use of force.         Tomorrow, His Holiness will travel to the West Country to address people attending the Glastonbury Festival.