'Century of peace' possible, Dalai Lama tells Ottawa crowd 0
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama blows a kiss to one of the thousands of people who showed up at the Civic Centre in Ottawa, April 28, 2012. Chris Roussakis/QMI Agency
OTTAWA -- The Dalai Lama brought a message of world peace to his visit to Canada's capital this weekend.
"For several years we have feared that the whole world could be blown up. Human history never experienced that sort of thing, the 20th century became the century of violence, a century of bloodshed. According to some history, about 200 million people killed through violence," he told a gathered crowd of a reported 7.000 in Ottawa.
He praised Prime Minister Stephen Harper for meeting with him, despite pressure to the contrary from China.
"He had the courage to meet me, so I very much appreciate that," the Dalai Lama said. He noted his honorary Canadian citizenship and called Harper "my prime minister."
Harper is walking a tightrope, balancing the human rights of Tibetans with a growing trade relationship with the booming economy of China.
The Dalai Lama says he is asking for enough autonomy for his homeland's culture to survive, not total independence from the communist regime.
The 76-year-old Buddhist monk is the 14th dalai lama. In Tibetan buddhism, dalai lamas are believed to be reincarantions of their predecessors, and manifestations of the bodhisattva of compassion, the patron saint of Tibet. Bodhisattvas are thought to be enlightened beings who have held off on going to their personal nirvana so they could be reborn to help people.
While visiting the city that feeds on politics, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet joked about joining a political party. "Green Party are concerned about ecology, so I joke that I would join the Green Party."
In the end he told the crowd that despite war and death, all is not dark.
"We have to look to the future, no matter the past, the future open, although no guarantee, but still the future depends on the present. Now we must utilize the present properly, and if we make plan with vision and determination, I think this century can be the century of peace."