Dalai Lama talk draws thousands in Riga

  • 2013-09-10
  • By Rayyan Sabet-Parry

"You’re a new nation with a lot of problems,” said Dalai Lama

RIGA - The Dalai Lama made calls to implement moral education in Latvian schools as part of his third visit to the country this week. Thousands attended the Arena Riga venue on Sept. 8 to hear the exiled Tibetan leader, 79, speak about themes including non-violence, compassion and dialogue.

“You’re a new nation with a lot of problems,” said the Buddhist spiritual leader. “Secular ethics can fit the educational field on how to build a healthy society. That’s very important.”

He added that “Today we see these religious institutions that actually suppress people’s consciousness and minds and exploit people. We have to be against that.” The Nobel Peace Prize laureate also emphasized stronger relations between each other, and the importance of mental well-being. “I consider myself one of you,” he said.

“If I make too much emphasis that I’m a Buddhist or his holiness the Dalai Lama, I create a prison for myself.” He added: “Peace of mind is a very important factor for a healthy body. Constant anger and hatred is eating at our inner system.”

On the path to inner peace, the Dalai Lama went on to say: “If we want a society with no problems, that’s impossible. What we can do is focus on our own mental attitude, then no matter what environment we can be in awe and can be a very happy person.”

“Basically, I’m a socialist,” said the Dalai Lama. “I think a more equal society is better. To make gaps between rich and poor is unacceptable.” There were also moments of humor. After being asked about his celibate life as a monk, the religious leader responded humorously: “That’s my business!”

The Dalai Lama, who last visited Latvia in 2011, later took questions from the audience and also presented a youth compassionate award for her efforts in helping build friendship in her community.