News & Updates
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
May 1, 2015
Last week, Archbishop Tutu was the guest of the Dalai Lama and they visited the Tibetan Children’s Village, a school His Holiness has established for Tibetan refugee children living in India. They participated in a Q&A session with children from the school asking questions. One question posed to the Archbishop was, “How can we achieve true joy and happiness?”
Watch the video for the Archbishop’s thoughtful response. Click here to watch the entire video: https://youtu.be/-DZ55YGgKeA
April 23, 2015
Dharamsala, HP, India, 23 April 2015 – The Upper Tibetan Children’s Village School was host to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, his good friend Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Team Joy this afternoon. As they drove there from His Holiness’s residence the streets were lined with smiling people eager to catch a glimpse of them.
On arrival at TCV His Holiness and the Archbishop were escorted into the small library adjacent to the basketball court. Amidst the neat bookshelves and displays of projects the children had done writing about ‘joy’, several students, girls and boys, recounted their own journeys from Tibet to the school. The first, who had come with her grandmother, leaving the rest of her family behind, broke down in sobs and tears. Archbishop Tutu’s daughter, Mpho, stepped forward to hug and comfort her. She completed her tale, but when the next student too was overcome with emotion His Holiness intervened, suggesting:
“You should think about how as a result of coming here you have been able to receive not only a modern education, but also to learn about our rich culture. You’ve been able to study our language. This is the best language for explaining the profound traditions of Nalanda University. This is something to be proud of. And yours may be the generation that can rebuild Tibet.”
The final student to make a presentation spoke of his appreciation for what he had received and how he tries to take joy in everything.
The children, who filled the basketball court, sang a song in Tibetan celebrating His Holiness’s 80th birthday as he and Archbishop Tutu emerged to take their seats in the middle of the throng. They then followed it up with a Tibetan rendition of ‘If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.’
When His Holiness was invited to address the gathering, he turned to the Archbishop and said that since he teases him so much about his English, on this occasion he would speak in Tibetan. He stated that although our various religious traditions have different philosophical viewpoints, they share a common message of love and compassion. This is clearly reflected in the Archbishop and is why he admires him.
Commenting on the hardships faced by the parents of the students who were present His Holiness said:
“We received immense help from the Indian government. The world helped us. Because of the kindness we have received you have the opportunity to study today. Please, work hard. We Tibetans are going through a very difficult time, but we still have our own language and culture. Please take full advantage of your educational opportunities.”
Archbishop Tutu acknowledged His Holiness, the beautiful children and those in the crowd who were not children.
“It’s a great honour and privilege to be here. You are beloved throughout the world and we want to say to you, young people, that it might not seem possible to you that you will one day return to a free Tibet. But we in South Africa lived for many years under a system of injustice and oppression. Many of our leaders and young people went into exile. It seemed as if the chains of oppression would never be broken, that our prisoners on Robben Island would never come home. And yet,” and he let out his characteristic high pitched chuckle, “it happened.”
“In 1995, our beloved Nelson Mandela and the others were released and the exiles came home. One day, you too, all of you, will see your beloved Tibet again. You’ll be free of the oppression that has driven you here. The Chinese government will discover that freedom is actually cheaper than oppression.”
He spoke of the deep honour he feels to count His Holiness as his friend and that the world feels the same way. He continued:
“I want to thank the Indian government and the Indian people who opened their arms to welcome you, because they preserved for us a great treasure that would otherwise have been lost.”
Looking round at the students, he exclaimed:
“Look how beautiful you are! One day you’ll be dancing and singing in the streets of Tibet.”
Students were then able to put questions to the two spiritual leaders starting with one to His Holiness asking whether we can ever hope to live in a violence free world. He replied that there are many different kinds of violence, including exploitation and corruption.
“If you are thinking about serious physical violence involving war and people killing each other, then yes, I think we can eliminate that if we make the right effort.”
Archbishop Tutu was asked his advice about the way people seek happiness in material things. He answered that more and more people are realizing that they will not get real satisfaction from things alone. He said you can have many possessions while your heart remains empty.
“I meet many young people from well-off homes who go out to help others and find a much greater satisfaction in that.”
When His Holiness was asked about how he controls his anger in daily life, he replied that when he’s angry he shouts. He told a story of an occasion in 1956 when he was watching the driver and mechanic who looked after one of the cars that had belonged to the 13th Dalai Lama. While working on it he accidentally banged his head on the car. In anger he then deliberately banged it against the car again and His Holiness wondered: “What’s the use of that?” He remarked that anger destroys our peace of mind.
“Reciting ‘manis’ won’t help, even reciting the refuge prayer won’t help. Training our minds is the only solution.”
Asked whether joy could really be a source of world peace, His Holiness replied:
“I think so and that’s why people should have a clear understanding of how to create joy. Doing to harm to others may bring some temporary satisfaction, but being helpful to them is the only real source of lasting joy.”
Archbishop Tutu was also asked how true joy and happiness can be achieved and he answered:
“If we think we want joy for ourselves that’s short-sighted and will only be short-lived. Real joy is the reward of acting to bring joy to others. Deep joy is what happens when you show love, care and compassion to others. You can’t get it any other way. You can’t buy it.”
In reply to a final question about the environment, the Archbishop said:
“We have to remind people that this is our only home and if we treat it badly we’re done for. The ice caps are melting. The summers and winters are too long. We need to say ‘Yes, something is wrong’. People are beginning to hear what many religious leaders are saying, that this is our only home and we have to care for it.”
A band on the stage led the whole crowd in singing, ‘We are the world’. Archbishop Tutu got to his feet, dancing and swaying to the music. At the end he took the microphone and led everyone in singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to His Holiness as a large cake ablaze with candles was placed before them. He called for children to come and help His Holiness blow the candles out. The cake was cut and as it was distributed among children and guests, His Holiness, the Archbishop and Team Joy returned to McLeod Ganj.
This article originally appeared on the Dalai Lama’s web site: http://www.dalailama.com/news/post/1268-his-holiness-the-dalai-lama–archbishop-tutu-at-tcv
Photos courtesy of Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
September 5, 2012
I am an Iraqi man now living in Sweden. I fled my country in 2006. I am a witness to what happened in Iraq when George Bush and Tony Blair invaded my country in the name of bringing Democracy. I read about Archbishop Tutu’s opinion in the Huffington Post on September 2nd regarding what happened in Iraq and how you feel George Bush and Tony Blair should be brought to trial.
As a witness to what happened to my country, what Bush and Blair brought to Iraq had nothing to do with whether I and other Iraqi people wanted Democracy—we DID—but not brought to our country with force, with killing, with such destruction. We would have developed a democratic government all on our own if we were allowed the time and left alone.
I believe that Democracy grows from the ground up and cannot be imposed on a nation from outside forces, as what happened in Iraq. I consider that my country was destroyed in the name of Democracy.
Please accept my best regards and GOD bless you and for your work to bring about global peace.
September 5, 2012
October 6, 2011
The attempt to silence His Holiness the Dalai Lama is an exercise in futility akin to trying to block the flow of eternal spiritual truths. Yet this is what the government of South Africa is trying to do. Their refusal to grant him a visa to give a lecture in Cape Town in honor of his friend Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s eightieth birthday is ironic at best and, at worst, hostile to free speech and religion.
These two iconic human beings are honored in much of the world for their willingness to speak truth to power out of the spirituality of their respective Buddhist and Christian traditions. Tutu’s fearless defense of the voiceless and the inclusion of all people is an expression of the abundantly generous love of the God he believes in. The Dalai Lama’s insistence on the inter-connectedness of all beings arises from his Buddhist tradition. He says that his religion is one of kindness. These two Nobel Peace Prize Laureates share a common spiritual and pragmatic insistence on the power of forgiveness over retribution.
There is nothing kind, inclusive or generous about the obfuscating responses of the South African government as they dither about whether to succumb to China’s pressure to keep the Dalai Lama out of South Africa.
In 2009 the Dalai Lama was denied a visa to give a lecture in South Africa with News24 reporting that the government admitted its move was made “in order not to jeopardize ties with China.” The Sunday Independent reported that the South African Embassy in New Delhi had not received the Dalai Lama’s visa application. On August 22, 2011 the Ministry of Home Affairs spokesman was quoted by Phayul News saying, “The Dalai Lama’s visa issue is not only administrative but political and diplomatic in nature.” In others words the South African government is considering colluding with China in an attempt to silence His Holiness’ voice in South Africa.
The irony lies in the history of apartheid giving way to a robust democracy in 1994. Many members of the current government were silenced by the apartheid regime under which freedom of expression and association was unknown. It was Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s voice against apartheid that could not be silenced at home or on the global stage. Calling for the end of apartheid and for justice he insisted that the human family is made not for separateness but for togetherness. He calls it Ubuntu – we are only human beings in the context of others human beings.
The long fight for freedom of expression, association and democracy in South Africa is called into question by not granting a visa to His Holiness to deliver the inaugural Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture in honor of his good friend’s eightieth birthday today, October 7, 2011.
Driven by the spirituality of their respective traditions Tutu and the Dalai Lama tirelessly work for freedom, reconciliation and the inclusion of all. In addition to the Tutu invitation, the Durban based Gandhi Development Trust intends to honor His Holiness in South Africa with the 9th Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Reconciliation and Peace.
Dumisa Ntsebeza, Chair of the Desmond Tutu Peace Center in South Africa, expressed a generous hope saying, “Although uncertainty over the visa has proved challenging…the Peace Center is confident the visa will be granted.”
Archbishop Tutu and The Dalai Lama will not be silenced by any government. The question is why, given the remarkable history of South Africa’s journey, it would even consider trying to keep the Dalai Lama’s voice out of the country?
It is a futile flourish that the old Apartheid government would have been proud of. Perhaps it is the South African government that is in need of reconciliation – the reconciling of a country’s liberation and constitution with a visa that will welcome one of the great religious and human rights crusaders to its country. What is to be feared from these two Nobel Laureates celebrating their voices and those of humanity in the quest for spiritual and human freedom?
Editor’s Note On Tuesday, October 4, 2011, His Holiness, The Dalai Lama, withdrew his request for a visa to visit South Africa.