Melbourne, Australia, 12 June 2011 (By Tsering Kyinzom Dhongdue) – It is His Holiness’ fourth day in Melbourne. His first public engagement this morning was with the members of Tibetan, Mongolian and Bhutanese communities. He told the audience that “we should be 21st century Buddhists. By this, I mean we must have full understanding of the Buddha dharma.”
He encouraged the Tibetans living in Australia to pay special attention in preserving our culture. He said, “We are in exile not because of a natural disaster or a civil war. We left our country because of a foreign occupation. It is our duty to keep our rich and ancient heritage alive.” Refuting any speculation over his devolution of political power, His Holiness told the Tibetans in the audience to “be assured” that he has not given up on Tibet. “I have taken my decision in the interest of the Tibetan people,” said His Holiness.
His Holiness then headed off to start his second day of teachings on Bodhisattva’s Way of Life. After completing chapter 9 on wisdom, he drew attention to chapters 1 (The Benefits of the Awakening Mind), 4 (Conscientiousness) and 8 (Concentration).
He spoke at length on emptiness, nirvana, the Four Noble Truths and other central Buddhist concepts. Speaking in both Tibetan and English, His Holiness again showed his remarkable prowess as a Buddhist teacher, communicating these profound concepts not only in a manner accessible to Tibetan and Western minds alike, but highly relevant to the modern world.
During his lunch break, His Holiness met with a large group of Chinese youth, Buddhists and democracy activists. Many of them are members of the Chinese Tibetan Friendship Group in Melbourne, which was formed on an advice by His Holiness himself on a previous visit.
His Holiness was touched by the warm reception from the Chinese community. A group of Chinese women recited a prayer song in Tibetan for him. He told them it was the same prayer that he has been reciting every day since his childhood.
He said the Tibet-China relationship is over 1000 years. As far as Buddhism is concerned, it flourished in China long before Tibet. So the Chinese are more senior students of Buddha. On the political front, His Holiness reinforced his position on seeking autonomy within China. He said, “We should resolve the issue through friendship and mutual cooperation.”
His Holiness told the Chinese gathering that he is proud to show the Chinese government on what he has done in achieving a genuine Tibetan democracy, adding it is now the Chinese Communist Party’s turn to retire after being in power for 60 years.
However, he made it clear that it is not his expectation that China would change into a democratic country overnight. He said, “China is a big country and is not used to democracy. It is good to go on that path gradually. The first step could be to be transparent in the government. It should start with allowing freedom of information and the press.”