By Phurbu Thinley
Frankfurt Mayor Petra Roth presents Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama with a Ginko tree before their meeting, at a hotel in Neu-Isenburg near Frankfurt July 30, 2009.(REUTERS/Boris Roessler)
Frankfurt, August 3: Over 50,000 people visited the Commerzbank Arena (Stadium) in Frankfurt during the Dalai Lama’s four-day spiritual events that ended on Sunday. Of them over 40,000 bought tickets to attend the Dalai Lama’s teachings and series of lectures on topics such as peace, the environment, the economy and ethics, according to German media reports.
On Sunday alone, over 15,000 people from all walks of life reportedly attended the last public talk of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on “The Art of Living”. The talks were simultaneously translated into German, Spanish, Italian and Vietnamese.
Earlier on Saturday, the Dalai Lama took part in a conference on the economic crisis organised by several groups including Germany's Buddhist Union. In his talks, he called for worldwide cooperation to fight the effects of the economic crisis by taking effective and appropriate action.
The exiled Tibetan leader and Tibet issue enjoy tremendous public interest and support in Germany.
On Wednesday when the Dalai Lama arrived in Frankfurt, Roland Koch, State Premier of Hessen State and one of the most influential political figures in Germany, said the exiled Tibetan leader "can count on the sympathy and support of Germans" in his efforts to bring greater freedom to Tibet.
Little over 400 Tibetans live in Germany, according to Mr Lekshey, president of the Association of Tibetans in Germany, an umbrella organisation that represents Tibetans scattered in small numbers around the country. Under the association's direction, Tibetans regularly come together on special occasions and for Tibet-related activities, he says.
On Sunday evening, Tibetans and Tibet supporters gathered for a modest celebration at a Tibetan monastic centre in Frankfurt to mark the Dalai Lama’s presence in the country and to wish him a belated “Happy Birthday”. His Holiness the Dalai Lama turned 74 last month.
A general view of a teaching session by His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt, July 30 2009. (Photo: Phayul)
“We already celebrated His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s birthday on July 6, but we are organising this special celebration again to mark his presence here,” Lekshey told Phayul.
Performing groups from respective regional Tibetan communities presented traditional songs and auspicious dances.
Earlier that day, Tibetans and representatives of Tibet support groups had a special audience with the Dalai Lama.
During the meeting, the Dalai Lama asked Tibetans not to “lose hope and courage” in their peaceful and non-violent struggle, and urged them to make positive efforts to reach out to Chinese community in the country.
“More and more people around the world now appreciate Tibetan cause because it is based on truth, reason and non-violence,” the Dalai Lama told the gathering of Tibetans and Tibet supporters.
“There have also been more and more Chinese both in and outside China who have started expressing sympathy for Tibet’s cause,” the Dalai Lama added. According to our attention, the Dalai Lama said, there have been more than 600 pro-Tibet articles written by Chinese intellectuals and writers since the massive unrest in Tibet last year.
“Some of these articles even justified the case of independence for Tibet,” the Dalai Lama said.
“So it is worthwhile to make more effort to reach out to Chinese people and from our side we have made special effort to meet Chinese intellectuals and people when ever possible,” the Dalai Lama said.
“So we must not lose our hope and courage,” he added.
“When I say never lose hope, we must also make positive progress from our side at the same time, especially in the filed of education,” Dalai Lama told Tibetans.
Speaking separately to Tibet supporters, the Dalai Lama said, “You are supporting Tibet on the basis of truth and non-violence.”
“When we are facing problems you stood by us. So we are highly grateful to you,” the Dalai Lama told the representatives of Tibet support groups, including the Tibetan Initiative Deutschland (TID)- the largest Tibet support network in Germany.
Dalai Lama's five-day visit to Germany ends on Monday. Next he will visit Switzerland before finally returning to India later this week.