Home > Queensland Synod News > Dalai Lama meets Israelis, but Palestine visit ‘thwarted’

Dalai Lama meets Israelis, but Palestine visit ‘thwarted’

The spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists the Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama has met religious leaders during a visit to the Holy Land in which he carried a message of non-violence, religious tolerance and hope, but he was not able to carry that message over to Palestinians in Bethlehem.

The spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists also urged Jewish and Muslim leaders to play a role in making peace between Israelis and Palestinians even if it meant talking to their most bitter enemies.

"Any noble work is bound to have obstacles," the Dalai Lama told religious leaders in a meeting on 19 February. "We need determination to pursue justice and truth."

The exiled Tibetan leader ended his five-day visit to the Holy Land on 20 February. He had intended to travel to the West Bank city of Bethlehem to meet Palestinian Muslim and Christian leaders and visit the Church of the Nativity. But the Palestinian Authority cancelled the visit due to pressure from China, Palestinian sources said.

The Chinese consul in Tel Aviv has sent a letter protesting against the Dalai Lama’s visit to the Israeli government, comparing the Dalai Lama to the head of the Hamas, Israel Radio had reported. "If China would let the head of Hamas visit, Israel would be angry," the radio station quoted the letter as saying.

The present Dalai Lama – the 14th incarnation according to Tibetan tradition – also had words of advice for Israeli and Palestinian youth during a lecture at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University.

”Despite all the different philosophies and religions that exist in the world, they all carry the same message of love and compassion,” said the Dalai Lama. ”Compassion is the essence of all religions, the foundation of human society."

Israeli political officials did not meet the Dalai Lama but he met the country’s chief rabbis as well as Muslim clerics that head Islamic courts in Israel. He was also given an honorary doctorate degree at the Ben Gurion University.

The Dalai Lama is respected internationally as a religious and spiritual figure. He has also become a symbol of the desires of many Tibetans to be free of Chinese rule. Chinese Communist troops took control of Tibet in 1951 and the Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959 after an abortive uprising against Chinese occupation. He has renounced independence and seeks maximum autonomy and religious freedom for Tibet within China. China, however, accuses the Dalai Lama of seeking independence.

(c) Ecumenical News International

Photo : The spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists the Dalai Lama