Dalai Lama avoids Tibet reference in Kyoto speech

KYOTO — The Dalai Lama praised peace efforts in South Africa and the Middle East but avoided any reference to Tibet during a two-hour presentation at Kyoto Seka University on Sunday.

“The 20th century was one of bloodshed and violence, but humanity’s attitude toward peace changed as the century progressed. In particular, Nelson Mandela in South Africa and the Middle East turned toward peaceful resolutions and nonviolent means,” the Tibetan spiritual leader said to about 1,500 people gathered in the university’s gymnasium.

The Dalai Lama was invited as the keynote speaker at a ceremony commemorating the university’s establishment of a department of environment and social sciences. His visit to Japan drew vigorous protests from the Chinese government and security was extremely tight.

Speaking in Tibetan and English, he gave a keynote speech and then took questions from many of the students, to whom he offered words of praise.

“I believe that the desire for peace among the younger generations of the world is increasing. Humanity is becoming more mature, and people are realizing that we must take care of each other,” he said.

Many of his answers to the questions included comments on the main social developments of the last century, including the rise of individualism and rapid developments in science and technology as well as the advent of the global economy. He said that for a long time people had fooled themselves into believing that individualism and science and technology could solve all their problems, but were now realizing that was not the case.

“Individual freedom is important. Without it people cannot progress as human beings. Science and technology are also important. But none of this is enough to make us happy. We must seek a happy life with a calm, mature mind,” he said.