His Holiness arrives at his hotel in Lausanne, August 3, 2009, Photo: CTA
Dharamsala, August 4 – His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived Monday afternoon in Lausanne, Switzerland, where he is expected to draw more than 12,000 people at a skating rink in Malley. The Tibetan leader who turned 74 last month will give teachings on Lama Tsongkhapa's The Three Principal Aspects of the Paths (lam ghi tsowo nampa soom)
His Holiness will confer a Medicine Buddha Initiation tomorrow morning and accept a long life offering ceremony from the Tibetan Communities of Europe. Live webcast in English and French will be available here
The Tibetan leader’s program in the country does not include any meeting with cabinet ministers. "That really isn't a problem for me," the 1989 Nobel laureate told the Tages-Anzeiger
newspaper. "I am here to learn and don't want to make anyone uncomfortable."
The Tibetan leader’s envoy based in Geneva, Kelsang Gyaltsen, expressed his disappointment at the Swiss government’s decision not to welcome the Tibetan leader. In an interview he gave to Swiss Info Kelsang said that His Holiness doesn't wish to cause any inconvenience to any host government. "It is alright if certain governments don't meet him. But as a Swiss-Tibetan I am disappointed with this decision by the Swiss government. This is not helpful; it doesn't send the right signal to the Chinese leadership that they need to rethink their policy regarding Tibet and minorities in China.”
Kelsang further said that Switzerland has a reputation as a country committed to humanitarian values and traditions and to the ideals of freedom and democracy. “By not meeting with the Dalai Lama the decision of the federal council [government] is in some way damaging the credibility of these values for which Switzerland stands in the eyes of the international community.”
His Holiness was welcomed by more than 200 people at the Hotel Beau-Rivage in Ouchy on Lake Geneva, where he will be staying for the duration of his visit.
According to the Swiss foreign ministry, Chiara Simoneschi-Cortesi, the speaker of the House of Representatives, will meet His Holiness. On Thursday he will travel to Geneva for a Sino-Tibetan conference.
This is the Tibetan leader’s first visit to Lausanne. In 2005 he visited Zurich, where 30,000 people gathered to hear him speak.