|Pilgrims in the middle of the monsoon rains -- photo Duncan Millar|
Pokhara is a major city in central Nepal. Until 1968 it was a sacred city for pilgrims to Annapurna, inaccessible by road. All that changed with the arrival of the Dalai Lama and 80,000 Tibetan refugees fleeing Chinese persecution.
|The World Peace stupa (chorten) in Pokhara on a sunny day: Wikipedia|
The Dalai Lama says, "I speak simply as a human being, as an upholder of the humanitarian values that are the bedrock not only of Mahayana Buddhism but of all the great world religions. From this perspective I share with you my personal outlook - that:
...natural calamities must be accepted and faced with equanimity. Others, however, are of our own making, created by misunderstanding, and can be corrected. One such type arises from the conflict of ideologies, political or religious, when people fight each other for petty ends, losing sight of the basic humanity that binds us all together as a single human family....
- Universal humanitarianism is essential to solve global problems;
- Compassion is the pillar of world peace;
- All world religions are already for world peace in this way, as are all humanitarians of whatever ideology;
- Each individual has a universal responsibility to shape institutions to serve human needs.
Life is as dear to the mute animal as it is to any human being; even the simplest insect strives for protection from dangers that threaten its life. Just as each one of us wants to live and does not wish to die, so it is with all other creatures in the universe.... Every being wants happiness and does not want suffering. If we, as intelligent human beings, do not accept this fact, there will be more and more suffering on this planet....
Today we are so interdependent, so closely interconnected with each other, that without a sense of universal responsibility, a feeling of universal brotherhood and sisterhood, and an understanding and belief that we really are part of one big human family, we cannot hope to overcome the dangers to our very existence - let alone bring about peace and happiness." -- from the Dalai Lama, A Human Approach to Peace.