Australia Tibet Council

Enabling everyone in Australia to be part of change in Tibet

Standing Up for Tibet during the Dalai Lama's 2015 visit

Monday, 15 June 2015

Selfie Popup no textHis Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived in Australia on 4 June for his tenth Australian visit. Many thousands of people heard His Holiness' messages on secular ethics, inter-religious harmony and the promotion of Tibet and Tibetan culture.

Over the course of the 12-day visit, His Holiness held Public Talks in the Blue Mountains, Brisbane, Uluru and Perth. Every talk was at capacity with a total of 26,000 people attending. His Holiness also gave an intensive meditation retreat in the Blue Mountains and a Buddhist teaching in Brisbane attended by people of all faiths wanting to hear his message on how to live a meaningful and compassionate life.

He participated in a dialogue with scientists and educators at the Happiness And its Causes Conference around the theme of secular ethics in schools.

 

A 2,000 strong Tibetan community event hosted a long life offering, His Holiness met with federal members of parliament from the Australian All Party Parliamentary Support Group for Tibet. There was also a multi faith event at the main catholic cathedral in Brisbane with representatives from all the major world religions attended by the governor of Queensland and three state ministers. And for the first time His Holiness visited Uluru and met with the indigenous community and gave a public talk. 

On Monday 8 June, over 3,600 people braved the cold in Katoomba to hear the Dalai Lama speak on "The Wisdom of Forgiveness". Before His Holiness came on stage, ATC Co-Chair Zoe Bedford reminded everyone that listening to the Dalai Lama, as they were today, would not be possible in Tibet and that Tibetans there could only dream of such an opportunity to hear him.

Zoe asked people to imagine the life of a Tibetan in Tibet - not to be able to hear the words of His Holiness or carry his photo, the constant surveillance and fear of arrest. She reminded them that, even after 65 years of Chinese occupation, the Tibetans had not given up and asked people to offer something back to the Dalai Lama and his people by standing with them and supporting their struggle for justice. 

Zoe's message was simple. The more of us that are prepared to say "I will stand up for Tibet", the stronger we are and the louder is the call for change in Tibet.

ATC Director, Prue Densley, delivered the same message ahead of the public talk in Brisbane and Zoe spoke again at the public talk in Perth. 

ATC volunteers worked tirelessly in Katoomba, Brisbane and Perth to build support by signing up people to our "Australians Stand Up for Tibet" campaign and assisting them to share their #IStandUp4Tibet photos.

ATC representatives joined members of the Australian All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet at their meeting with the Dalai Lama. Group leaders Warren Entsch, Michael Danby and Sarah Hanson Young and several members and old friends of Tibet, spoke at length with His Holiness about the current situation in Tibet, potential for change and the importance of supporters being even more active.

On a less pleasant topic, there were media reports of the demonstrations against the Dalai Lama by the "Shugden Buddhists". Unfortunately, many of the stories were one-sided, with their extreme claims going unchallenged. For some more fact-based information about this issue you can read this article by Prof. Robert Thurman: http://tibet.net/2014/03/the-dalai-lama-and-the-cult-of-dolgyal-shugden/

Check out our photos from the Katoomba public events. [Click image to enlarge]