Within moments of seating himself in front of a small crowd, the Dalai LamaâÄôs laughter and gregarious charm emanated throughout the room and triggered an onset of smiles on the faces of those in attendance.
He looked out over the audience before beginning his brief speech on his commitments to the promotion of secular basic human values and ethics, fostering inter-religious harmony and the welfare of the people of Tibet.
Co-hosted by the Center for Spirituality and Healing and the Tibetan American Foundation of Minnesota, the press conference held at the Marquette hotel downtown Minneapolis gave a preview for SundayâÄôs events, as well as provided an opportunity to answer specific questions about terrorism and Chinese nationalism.
âÄúI was always telling people the religious institution and political institution must be separate,âÄù he said. âÄúWhile IâÄôm telling other people that way I, myself combine, thatâÄôs hypocrisy.âÄù
He laughed and continued on to explain why he abdicated his role as the political leader of Tibet in March. He enforced the importance democratic values and said he will still remain as the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people until his death.
After his speech, he opened up the floor for questions. The first came from the youngest member of the press corps, an 11-year-old on an iReport assignment for CNN whose youth instantly captured the Dalai LamaâÄôs attention.
The Dalai Lama advised him to work for a better future in a non-violent way, taking what he referred to âÄúinner disarmamentâÄù to âÄúexternal disarmament, not overnight, but step by step.âÄù
He also answered questions on terrorism in response to the U.S. killing of Osama bin Laden.
âÄúDialogue is the only way. When you use violence, even though your goal is justified, moderation also may be good,âÄù he said, adding that violence may lead to unintended consequences.
He also offered advice for college students about to embark on their career paths after graduation.
He said to live more effectively, students should pair their school education with inner strength and self-confidence.
âÄúWhen you start work âÄî not easy. I think compared to your life in school or college some other people are taking care now your real life starts. You yourself have to take sole responsibility on your shoulders,âÄù he said.
He went on to say people must prepare themselves with a set of moral standards.
He will be speaking privately this afternoon to a group of Chinese students. On Sunday morning at Mariucci Arena, he will lead a Tibetan spiritual ceremony and later in the afternoon, he will give a public address on individual well-being.