By Sherab Woeser
‘That bird reminds me of Lhasa, ’ His Holiness the Dalai Lama says speaking to the media after offering prayers at the Okinawa Peace Memorial park on November 4, 2009. The exiled Tibetan leader is on his first visit to Japan’s southern Islands of Okinawa. (Photo by Tenzin Choejor)
Naha, November 4: On the last leg of his Japan visit, His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Wednesday offered prayers at Okinawa Peace Memorial park.
Arriving in the afternoon at the provincial capital of Naha, the exiled Tibetan leader, along with Father LaSalle Parsons and Venerable Hirotaka Okada the chief priest of Hase Temple prayed for those who died during the Battle of Okinawa in World War II.
“We must remember that for each of those who died during the war, their life was as dear to them as our life is to us. These reckless killings must remind us that war is senseless”, said the Nobel Peace laureate. “Only praying and wishing for a world without problems is unrealistic. We must learn from our sad experiences and promote the spirit of dialogue”.
The exiled Tibetan leader planted a tree sapling at the Okinawa Mahabodhi Garden in memory of over 150,000 ‘brothers and sisters’ who lost their lives during the 82 day-long battle in 1945.
“While offering prayers, I heard the song of a bird which I remember hearing in Lhasa and India as well. This bird, which is common to all of us, tells that human ability and intelligence to develop inner peace and respect each other’s views is also common to the entire humanity,” said His Holiness. “We all have the same potential to create genuine close relationships.”
His Holiness the Dalai Lama holds a dialogue session with over a thousand Japanese monks at Shiki Memorial Hall in Japan’s Matsuyama city, Wednesday, November 4, 2009. The Tibetan spiritual leader urged the monks to ‘study more and investigate more’. (Photo by Tenzin Choejor)
Responding to a question, the 74-year Tibetan leader expressed ‘full support’ to US President Barrack Obama’s proposal of advancing nuclear disarmament.
“Elimination of nuclear weapons is the first step. It may not be achieved in our lifetime, but we must leave a blueprint to the next generation for complete demilitarisation of the whole world,” said the Nobel Peace laureate.
Speaking to the media, Father LaSalle Parsons thanked His Holiness for blessing Okinawa with his message of peace and reconciliation.
“He does what he says. He travels the world and makes genuine effort to create peace and compassion,” said Father Parsons.
Earlier in the morning, His Holiness interacted with over a thousand monks at Matsuyama’s Shiki Memorial Hall.
Expressing ‘happiness’ at the opportunity of exchanging experience and knowledge on Buddha dharma, the Tibetan leader said, “We all are the same students of our beloved teacher, Buddha Shakyamuni.”
Encouraging the Japanese monks to ‘study more and investigate more’, His Holiness said, “the cause of all problems is ignorance and ignorance cannot be overcome just by faith. You need wisdom and knowledge through practice to overcome ignorance”.
Appreciating the views and questions from the audience, the exiled Tibetan leader conveyed his wish for ‘further dialogues and interactions’ in the future’.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama is scheduled to give a public speech on peace and a compassionate mind on Thursday.