His Holiness 14th Dalai Lama’s visit to UK (2004)
After five years His Holiness Dalai Lama visited UK again at the request of Dharma Network - an organisation formed by coming together of various Buddhist organisations in UK for the purpose of inviting His Holiness. This year most of the talks and teaching took place in Scotland.
On Saturday, 29 May 2004 His Holiness gave public talk on “Inner Peace, Outer Harmony” to an audience gathered at Scottish exhibition and conference centre in Glasgow. The centre has a sitting capacity for 10,000 people and tickets were sold out months in advance. The public talk was given in English. At the start of the public talk he told the gathering that some of you may be Buddhist and would like to know more about Buddhism, others may be from different faiths but would like to learn about Buddhism, others still may have come because they are curious. All are welcome but do not expect miracle from him. If you are expecting miracle you will be disappointed because he is just a simple Buddhist monk with the same aspiration like all of us i.e. to be happy and peaceful. If you find today’s teaching beneficial then practise in your daily life if not forget it. He also told the gathering that it was not only the Buddha, who taught his followers how to be happy but also teachers of all major religions practised at present have the same message for their followers. So one does not have to be a Buddhist to be happy, it is not a monopoly of Buddhist only. But as far as he is concerned Buddhist way is the only way because he has been learning and practising it all his life.
Public talk on Saturday was followed by three days of teachings on Kamalashila’s middle stages of meditation, Mitrukpa (Karunamaya – the goddess of compassion) initiation etc. Between 4500 and 5500 people listened attentively to his teaching on 30 May, 31st May and 1 June 2004 at the same conference centre. Again at the start of the teachings, he told the gathering that if you are a Buddhist practise what you learn in next three days. I found it beneficial to me and hence I hope you also will find the teachings beneficial. If you are of different faiths or of no faith, I am not asking you to leave your faith and become Buddhist but contemplate on what you have learned from these teachings and practise it if you feel it is right for you. You will certainly become a better person in the society. Although these teachings were delivered in Tibetan language, an interpreter provided an excellent translation. Every one in the audience expressed their deep appreciation on the last day of teachings regarding his excellent service and depth of knowledge. Every one departed with the sense of achieving some thing very useful and feeling very happy.
Before the main event in Glasgow, His Holiness visited Liverpool John Moores University on 27 May 2004 to receive an Honorary Fellowship and gave a talk entitled 'Secular Ethics' at Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral. On 28 May 2004 His Holiness gave 2004 L M Singhvi-Tremenos Interfaith Lecture at Central Hall Westminster, London. Tickets for these talks also were sold out well in advance.
After the programme in Glasgow His Holiness visited Edinburgh and Dunfermline. He addressed the Scottish parliament in Edinburgh on 2 June 2004 on the subject of “Compassion, wisdom, justice and integrity”- the words featured on parliament’s mace. He urged the politicians to live up to their parliament’s founding principles. He told the parliament that there are some similarities between Scotland and Tibet on their concern for preservation of culture, identity and spirituality. He felt he can lean from the Scottish experience. In his short speech he told the parliament members that he greatly admired democratic system. He believes each individual has the unique potential to create a better world, a better family.
On the final day of his visit to Scotland on 3 June 2004 thousands of people waited in rain to hear Dalai Lama speak and spread the message of world peace at Dunfermline Abbey. Leaders of Scotland’s main religious groups welcomed His Holiness before he went on to address 4,000 people gathered at the neighbouring Pettencrieff Park. He later returned to Edinburgh to speak to 2,200 people at the city’s Usher Hall.
His Holiness will be visiting Zurich, Switzerland from 5 August to 12 august 2005. His Holiness will be teaching on two of his favourite texts- Living the Bodhisattva Way of Life and Kamalashila’s Middle stages of Meditation. His Holiness will comment on how to develop positive ways to overcome afflictive emotions and to lead a life that is happy and peaceful. Details of the programme can be down loaded by visiting www.TheDalailama2005.ch.