Pope John Paul II with His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Vatican in 2003. (AP Photo/File/Osservatore Romano)
Dharamsala, April 2 - His Holiness the Dalai Lama expressed his sadness over the worsening health of Pope John Paul II as the Vatican prepares for his approaching death. Italian media have reported that Cardinals who will elect the next pope are arriving in Rome from all over the world.
"I am deeply saddened by the deteriorating health of Pope John Paul II. I have heard that he is in a very serious health condition and that prayers are held everywhere in the world. We will also pray for the popes life", said His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
His Holiness told the gathering that the pope has worked immensely for the poor and underprivileged people of the world and that prayers should be said so that philanthropists like the pope could live longer to benefit the entire humanity.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama was speaking today at the initiation of Sangwa Gyachen (the sealed secrets) being given here at the Tsuglakhang main temple.
His Holiness said that the Tibetans have a special relation with the Christians ever since our arrival in India as they have extended humanitarian assistance to the displaced Tibetans during our early days in India.
"Personally, when I first met the pope, who originates from Poland, I felt very close to him as we hailed from a common background of having lived under communist regimes."
His Holiness said that though the Pope has not shown his support to the Tibetan cause openly he has been a very strong supporter of the Tibetan cause. "Whenever I met him he was very attentive and sympathetic to the Tibetan cause."
His Holiness has met the pope eight times with the first meeting between the two religious leaders taking place on 9 October 1980. His Holiness last met the pope during the Tibetan leaders visit to Italy in November 2003.
The strong bond of friendship between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Pope John Paul II is apparent in the fact that His Holiness has met the Catholic head the most number of times than any other important personality in the world.