Finnish religious leaders, intellectuals embrace His Holiness'
Office of Tibet, London[Monday, October 02, 2006 10:12]
Report by Tsering Tashi
(Office of Tibet, London)
HELSINKI, October 1 - The Leader of the Greek Orthodox Church in
Finland today warmly welcomed and thanked His Holiness the Dalai Lama
for taking part in the inter-faith meeting that he had arranged today
here at the Palace Hotel conference hall with leaders of the
Christian churches, intellectuals and business executives. In his
concluding remarks before the end of the meeting, the Metropolita or
Archbishop Ambrosius said they would bear in mind the importance that
His Holiness gives to warm heart, unbiased compassion and Tibet.
Bishop Eero Huovinen of the Lutherian Church in Helsinki, Liisa
Jaakonsaari, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Finnish
Parliament, Judge Antti Heikinheimo and Kari Raivio, the Chancellor
of the University in Helsinki also attended the meeting among others.
The meeting was reported during the primetime 10 pm TV news today.
When asked why the Finnish Parliament failed to invite His Holiness
the Dalai Lama to address the parliament, when the European
Parliament and other parliaments have done so, the Chairman of the
Foreign Affairs Committee was shown as saying this time the schedule
being difficult in future they could consider inviting His Holiness
to address the Finnish Parliament. She also said the Tibetan demand
for autonomy in a way is similar to the status of Finland under the
erstwhile Soviet Union.
At the meeting when a participant asked a question about Tibet, His
Holiness explained that the Tibetan struggle is not merely political,
it is the struggle about the preservation of a unique culture and
heritage. He said even Tibetans who were Communists had joined the
Tibetan struggle for freedom as they were against the Chinese rule.
His Holiness said he was seeking genuine autonomy for Tibet to ensure
the survival and preservation of Tibetan Buddhism, culture and the
fragile environment of Tibet.
His Holiness also told the distinguished gathering, some of whom had
attended yesterday his sell-out public talk on A Human Approach to
World Peace that all the major religions of the world had the same
message of love, compassion and forgiveness. He said to promote
interfaith harmony it was helpful if people from different religious
background mix with each other. His Holiness also shared his
experience of interactions with practitioners from the Christian and
The Tibetan Nobel Peace Laureate said that a peaceful society and a
peaceful world is in the interest of everyone and therefore we must
think about the environment and welfare of humanity as a whole
because in this world of growing interdependence, the concept of
national boundaries no longer seem to be relevant.
Earlier in the morning His Holiness gave a basic introductory
teaching on Buddhism to a largely Finnish audience at the request of
the Finnish-Tibetan Cultural Association, which along with the
Service Centre for Development Cooperation (KEPA) had also organised
His Holiness' public talk. Prior to the teaching which was also
attended by half a dozen Tibetan families living in Finland and some
Vietnamese, His Holiness reiterated that it is always better for
people to maintain one's traditional religion as sometimes changing a
religion can bring confusion.
The visit of His Holiness and the public talk that he gave yesterday
received wide coverage especially in the Finnish TV and newspapers.
The reports were accompanied by photos of His Holiness and background
information relating to Tibet.
"In general whether the people believed in Buddhism or not they all
seem to have a lot of interest to see and hear His Holiness'message
which was apparent from the large attendance at the public talk when
the main hall was fully packed and the organisers had to arrange two
different rooms so that people could see His Holiness on large video
screens", said Mrs. Kesang Y. Takla, Representative of His Holiness
the Dalai Lama for Northern Europe, the Baltic States and Poland.
Mrs. Takla said the public interest in attending His Holiness' talk
and the teaching clearly indicated the success of the fulfillment of
His Holiness' three declared commitments in life, namely promotion of
human values, promotion of inter-religious harmony and working for
Maatti Ojanpera feels His Holiness' visit to Finland has been
successful in terms of good media coverage and bringing people
"This visit of His Holiness is important because now many Tibetan
Buddhist groups seem to have the willingness to work together and
cooperate in practicing Tibetan Buddhism in this part of the world.
His Holiness has also shown how close he is to the common people and
has been very effective in conveying his message about warm heart,
compassion and the Tibetan cause", said Mr. Ojanpera whose Finnish
translation of His Holiness' book, The Universe In A Single Atom, can
be seen prominently displayed from the window of book stands in
Archbishop Ambrosius welcoming His Holiness to the inter-faith group
meeting. To the right of Archbishop is Liisa Jaakonsaari, Chairman of
the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Finnish Parliament and to the
left is His Holiness' translator Geshe Dorje Damdul. Sitting on His
Holiness' left is Kari Raivio, Chancellor of Helsinki University
(Photo: Tsering Tashi)