Representative Tsering Tashi receiving on behalf of His Holiness the Dalai Lama the first Ahimsa Award from the Chief Guest Rt Hon Hazel Blears, Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government (House of Commons, London, 8 October 2007)
LONDON, 8 October: At an elaborate function this evening at the House of Commons, the London-based Institute of Jainology (IOJ) gave their first ever Ahimsa Award to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual and temporal leader, and Mr. Nelson Mandela, the former President of South Africa. Ahimsa is the Indian term for non-violence.
The finely decorated thick glass memento award in recognition of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s “valuable contribution towards non-violence” was presented by the Chief Guest Rt Hon Hazel Blears, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, to Mr. Tsering Tashi, who received it on behalf of the Tibetan leader. Mr. Tashi is the Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama for London, Poland and the Baltic Countries based at the Office of Tibet in London.
Before the presentation of the award, the event presenter Ms. Pooja Jain told the gathering of parliament members, religious representatives, diplomats and members of the Jain community that the IOJ trustees’ decision to award its first Ahimsa Award was based on through research findings and achievements of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for leading the non-violent Tibetan struggle for liberation from China. Ms. Jain said His Holiness the Dalai Lama was the first Nobel Peace Prize winner to be also recognised for his effort to promote the environment in the world.
The highlight of the programme was the message from His Holiness the Dalai Lama that was read by Mr. Tsering Tashi. His Holiness in his message said that it is because of the practice of non-violence that the Tibetan people’s cause was gaining more support from the international community as well as from the Chinese people.
“I believe that more and more people around the world, including many Chinese, are coming to a better understanding of and support for the just cause of Tibet because we too have placed our faith in the practice of ahimsa or non-violence. This strong moral support is a source of hope not only for us Tibetans, but also for all oppressed peoples”, His Holiness said, adding “When I meet people in different parts of the world, I am always reminded that as human beings we are all basically the same. The fact that we wear different clothes, have different coloured skin, or speak different languages only differentiates us on the surface. Our basic humanity is what binds us to each other and is what makes it possible for us to understand each other and develop feelings of closeness and friendship”.
His Holiness said that the realisation that we are all basically the same human beings, who seek happiness and do not want suffering, is very helpful in developing a sense of a warm feeling of love and compassion for others. He said it is also essential “if we are to survive in this ever-shrinking world we live in” and once again appealed to the world to support the Burmese people’s peaceful struggle for freedom and democracy.
“As I write this message, rapidly changing events in Burma are giving us a vivid reminder of the courage and fortitude required to conduct ourselves in a non-violent and peaceful way, especially in the face of brutality. I offer my own heartfelt support to the peaceful movement for freedom and democracy in Burma, and take this opportunity to appeal to other freedom-loving people all over the world to support such non-violent movements wherever they occur”, His Holiness said.
There was much appreciation for His Holiness’ message. The Institute of Jainology (IoJ) was established in London in 1983 primarily to promote interfaith relationships to create a better understanding of the Jain faith and to acquaint the Jain community with other faiths. It maintains offices in London and in Ahmedabad, India. The London office is the coordinator for activities of the IoJ worldwide and the Ahimsa Award to His Holiness the Dalai Lama was presented “on behalf of the Jain Community worldwide”.(Report by Office of Tibet, London)