The Dalai Lama considers himself a “citizen of the world,” and as such, he meets with many different groups of people all over the world, even protesters. But the spiritual leader, according to the Deccan Herald, is “undeterred by protesters,” as a a matter of fact, he feels “sorry” for them.
— Rachael Vasquez (@RachVasquez) February 11, 2015
The Dalai Lama in his recent travels all over the globe has met with quite a few groups of protesters. In Switzerland, the Dalai Lama addressed the fact that the pro-Shugden group, a breakaway Buddhist group, were staging protests outside of his hotel.
The Dalai Lama’s statement was simple, “Yes, there are people out there shouting at me. They are exercising their freedom of expression.”
The Nobel Peace Laureate spent the past two weeks traveling to Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, and the U.S. before returning to India over the weekend.
It wasn’t just in Switzerland that the Dalai Lama faced more pro-Shugden protesters but in Copenhagen, Denmark, also. His response to those protesters was one of compassion.
The Dalai Lama stated, “The people manipulating these demonstrators and protesters, who are not fully informed, do so for their own reasons. I feel sorry for them in their ignorance.”
Protesters at prayer breakfast are with Dorje Shugden, a breakway faction of Tibetan Buddhists critical of Dalai Lama pic.twitter.com/m38wyhjz0S
— Niraj Warikoo (@nwarikoo) February 5, 2015
The Dalai Lama added that, “Buddhism does not force its beliefs on anyone,” explaining his use of the term of “ignorance.” He also added that the Shugden’s beliefs are “far from Buddha’s intent.”
In the last 13 months, the Dalai Lama has made over 38 trips, both inside and outside of India, to the U.S., Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada, Latvia, the Netherlands, and Norway. The Dalai Lama’s aides have stated, though, that the majority of pro-Shugden protests tend to happen outside of India.
The protests came about because, according to Swiss Info, “they view the Dalai Lama as suppressing their form of Buddhism.” The pro-Shugden group has also stated very clearly that, “they are not controlled by China, which has ruled Tibet since 1950.”
The spiritual leader, who promotes “peace, non-violence, environment, promoting human values and Buddhism,” fled Tibet in 1959 because of a violent Chinese takeover. Tens of thousands of Tibetans followed the Dalai Lama to India, where he lives to this day.
The Dalai Lama, despite the protests isn’t planning on slowing down any time soon. He has talks scheduled at his home in India in March before the 79-year-old Dalai Lama plans to travel to Japan and Australia this summer.
[Photo Courtesy of Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images]