The Dalai Lama joined hands during a chant with Hawaiian elders yesterday at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. CLICK FOR LARGE
11,000 attend talk by Dalai Lama
Tibet's spiritual leader urges people to have compassion and avoid harming others
WAILUKU » More than 11,000 people paid to attend the second and final appearance of the Dalai Lama at War Memorial Stadium on Maui yesterday, as he delivered a talk on Tibetan Buddhist teachings about basic human rights.
"All want a happy life to overcome suffering," the Dalai Lama said. "In order to overcome the suffering, we need to know the cause of the suffering."
He said when people have extreme anger, they usually have a false projection of reality. The Dalai Lama said love and compassion are grounded in reason and experience and that virtue is achieved by avoiding harm to others.
The talks also focused on an examination of the "Eight Verses for Training the Mind," by 11th-century meditator Geshe Langri Thangpa. Tickets for the event cost $20 each.
The Dalai Lama spoke about how the way to wisdom is achieved through altruistic acts and training the mind with a wish to help others.
Some of those attending the talk said they felt fortunate to have met the Dalai Lama and hear his message of peace and compassion.
"It's so wonderful to be in His Holiness's presence," said Mary Sukup, a Maui resident.
Pepe Vega, another Wailuku resident, said he and others with him felt the talk was excellent. "We had a very moving experience," Vega said.
The Dalai Lama has been living in forced exile as spiritual leader of Tibet since 1959, after China invaded and occupied his country.
Earlier yesterday, the 71-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner met with native Hawaiian elders, who asked his advice on how to live with compassion while their land and culture are under threat. The group sought his advice knowing he was forced out of his homeland.
The group met at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, and the Dalai Lama told them not to confuse compassion for others with tolerance, meaning they do not have to give in to injustice. He said there is a certain amount of anger that comes from the frustration of trying to show compassion, but they need first to understand the people who are angering them and their background.
The Dalai Lama told the Hawaiians to try to form a unified message, but he said they must find compassion, respect and love inside themselves first.
"The work must start with yourself, by education or training," he said. "To help yourself is most important. You must be able to raise yourself to a level of equal standards."
Then, he said, they can mobilize more people.
The 30-minute meeting offered hope the Hawaiians can learn to handle their current struggles, according to some of the participants.
"He gave us a little more energy today," said Clifford Naeole, who serves as a cultural adviser for island hotels.
Star-Bulletin reporter Gary T. Kubota and the Associated Press contributed to this report.