Report by Tsering Tashi
(Office of Tibet, London)
His Holiness the Dalai Lama pose for a group photo with Father Lawrence Freeman (left), MNI director Brenden McAllister (right), MNI chair John Colgan and staff of Mediation Northern Ireland after inaugurating their new headquarters at University Street, south Belfast (Photo: Tsering Tashi)
BELFAST (NORTHERN IRELAND), 21 November - After opening the new headquarters of Mediation Northern Ireland on University Street today, His Holiness the Dalai Lama told a gathering of the management, staff, members, volunteers and guests that peace would come to Northern Ireland through continuous efforts and dialogue among the various political parties. He said that since his last visit here five years ago, the situation in Northern Ireland has improved.
“Please continue your work continuously and your efforts in creating a peaceful and a friendly society will give people the confidence. The political differences will have to be overcome with realisation and awareness of the common interest,” His Holiness said.
Later when interviewed by some Irish TV channels and newspapers, and in his meetings with leaders of different political parties, His Holiness emphasised that the main purpose of his visit to Northern Ireland this time was to try to help develop a spirit of enthusiasm for talks and as a fellow human being share the pain of the people of Northern Ireland. He said he was here not to tell what to do but simply to offer advise and that whether his advice was taken or not was up to the people and their leaders.
In his welcome address, Mr. Brenden McAllister, director of the south Belfast-based Mediation Northern Ireland, said that they were honoured by His Holiness’
presence and good wishes and that from the “new home”
they will endeavour to make their own small contribution toward peace in their province.
“In spite of your eminence in the arena of world affairs, you regularly describe yourself as a simple Buddhism monk – just a human being – who seeks to make a small contribution to peace. I like your message of simplicity and your simple style. I like the warmth of your handshake, the goodwill in your face, the joy in your smile, as if life is constantly surprising you with delightful and beautiful things. Yesterday I heard you say that practising deeper human values brings inner peace,” Mr. McAllister said.
In the evening His Holiness addressed some 150 civic leaders at the Waterfront Hall on the topice, “Compassion, Forgiveness and Justice: Dimensions of Peace Building.” This session with the civic leaders was organised by the Community Relations Council, whose Chief Executive, Mr. Duncan Morrow, in his introduction remarked how His Holiness’ consistent efforts to promote peace and solve the Tibet issue with China through non-violence has inspired them.
Yesterday at the start of his three-day visit to Northern Ireland, His Holiness visited the Corrymeela Centre where the Tibetan Nobel Peace Laureate was welcomed by its 90-year-old founder, Dr. Ray Davey and director, Mr. Ronnie Millar. Corrymeela is the oldest peace movement in Northern Ireland and considered influential in their peace process.
Tomorrow, on the last day of his stay, the Tibetan spiritual and temporal leader will take part in a service at Belfast Cathedral. Prior to the service, His Holiness will meet local Christian clergy and members of other faiths. According to the Christian Meditation Community of Northern Ireland which is hosting the service scheduled to begin at 4.30 pm, “There will be music, poetry and the service and the Dalai Lama’s visit will end in the peace and unifying silence of a period of meditation. The event is open to the public on a first come first served basis.”