May 29, 2004

Tibet: Dalai Lama visits Scotland

Tibetan leader will address the Scottish Parliament
They came in their thousands to Glasgow's SECC to hear one of the world's great spiritual leaders. For many it was a religious pilgrimage, for others just to satisfy their curiosity.

"I find the Dalai Lama very interesting, I've read two of his books and I just wanted to come along and hear what he had to say in person."

"He expresses the essence of Buddhism very much for the West."

"For us, he is our God. He is everything, he is our political leader."

You are from Tibet?

"Yes, I am from Tibet but I was born and brought up in India, I've not seen Tibet at all."

The Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 following the Chinese invasion. He now lives in exile in India now, but his ministry takes him around the world. Today there was a welcome from Glasgow's Lord Provost at the start of his visit to Scotland.

She said: "I know that I speak for each member of this huge 9,000 strong audience when I say that your four day visit to the city has been one of the most eagerly awaited of any religious or public figure for many years."

The Dalai Lama himself spoke humbly about himself while promising to share his experience.

"I have nothing to offer and no special things - nothing. I am a person who is passing through a difficult life with challenges but through these challenges and problems, I remain quite OK."

His holiness' visit to Scotland was welcomed by followers who say it's a valuable opportunity to raise awareness.

Karma Hardy of the Tibet Foundation said: "60% of the people don't know about Tibet or the Dalai Lama so we are going to have a very good opportunity and it will make a lot of awareness to the Tibetan causes and maybe in the future it will be a remarkable event for the Glasgow people, I think."

During the remainder of his visit, the Dalai Lama will give more public addresses. He'll also visit Dunfermline Abbey and address the Scottish Parliament giving their time for reflection later in the week.

Source: Scotland Today