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Dalai Lama talks happiness before large T.O. crowd
CTV.ca[Thursday, November 01, 2007 07:48]
The Dalai Lama speaks to an audience on the Art of Happiness at a stadium in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2007. (CP / J.P. Moczulski)
The Dalai Lama speaks to an audience on the Art of Happiness at a stadium in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2007. (CP / J.P. Moczulski)
The Dalai Lama addressed more than 10,000 people inside Toronto's Rogers Centre on Wednesday, sharing his vision of peace and his message on happiness.

The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader told the crowd the only way to achieve world peace was by achieving inner peace.

"We are all brothers and sisters in the human race," he told the crowd.

The Dalai Lama also commented on the war on Iraq, saying the billions of dollars being spent on the conflict would be much better spent on education.

The leader also told those in attendance he was proud to be back in Canada.

"But this time I'm speaking to you as an honorary citizen of this country," he said, before breaking into his trademark laughter.

The 72-year-old spoke for about an hour as he sat cross-legged on a couch.

"Affection and friendship is the source of security, the source of happiness," he said, warning that many of the world's problems are created from separation, from a "we" versus "they" demarcation.

Earlier in the day, he attended the Tibetan-Canadian Cultural Centre in west-end Toronto, where he blessed the facility and greeted hundreds of people who lined up around the block for hours just to meet him.

"He's our spiritual leader and it means a lot," said one young woman waiting in line. "He's basically the only thing we have and he has inspired a lot of people around the world."

Another man waiting in line noted how fortunate Canadians are to have the opportunity to meet with him.

"Other people, they risk their lives to cross a country to see him," he said. "But for us, it's very easy, I think we're just very lucky."

Mayor David Miller, who attended the event, said the city was fortunate to have the Dalai Lama as a visitor.

"He has an incredible sense of peace and calm and dignity," Miller said. "He's an extraordinary man."

Before coming to Toronto, the Dalai Lama sat down with CTV News Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife to speak about the political fallout and his hopes for a relationship with Canada.

The Dalai Lama told Fife he hopes Canada would use an event like the Beijing 2008 Olympics to speak about Tibet and its challenges. He said having Canada bring attention to the issue is far more useful than having Canada boycott the Olympics.

In a clip that aired on CTV's Mike Duffy Live on Tuesday, the Dalai Lama spoke about Canada's role in Afghanistan. The spiritual leader said he does not want to get involved in the politics of the issue but that his position on non-violence stands.

"I do not agree or support using force, violence," he said. "You have to find more peaceful ways, non-violent ways. You have to find a solution, otherwise, you're just relying on using force. It's not the answer."

He also said Tibet's struggle with China is not about asserting independence, but autonomy.

The Dalai Lama arrived in Toronto after wrapping up a three-day trip to Ottawa where he met with Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The meeting infuriated Chinese officials who called Canada's move a "blatant interference in China's internal affairs."

The spiritual leader discussed Tibetan refugees with Harper, Fife said.

"There are 100,000 Tibetans living in India, about 10,000 are living in very, very serious economic situations," Fife said.

"He asked the prime minister if some of these people, of the 10,000, could come to Canada and I'm told the government is giving it serious consideration."

With a report from CTV's John Musselman
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