Dalai speaks of peace despite WA protest

As the Dalai Lama spoke in Perth about happiness and peace, protesters stood metres away desperately trying to gain attention about the plight of minority Shugden Buddhists.


About 14,000 people gathered to hear His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, speak at Perth Arena on the final stop of his Ocean of Wisdom tour of Australia.

The 79 year old spoke about having the right “mental attitude” to balance a healthy mind and body, adding that he had always found his best adviser to be his heart and mind.

He joked you could not walk into a shop and buy peace of mind – you had to achieve it within yourself.

“From the birth, we all want a happy life, even in the mother’s womb,” he said.

“We all have the right to be a happy person.”

His Holiness also spoke in detail about science and the importance of education.

About an hour into the event, His Holiness had only answered one question despite host Rick Ardon having two pages full of questions from people seeking spiritual guidance.

But his lengthy speech did not seem to deter the audience, who listened intently to his wise words and laughed with every joke he made.

The Dalai Lama also talked about respecting all religions and non-believers, adding that compassion was important for happiness.

But since arriving in Australia, the spiritual leader has been followed by protesters calling for an end to the persecution of Shugden Buddhists.

At a peaceful rally before and during his talk, about 50 protesters held signs that read “False Dalai Lama. Stop Lying” and “Give religious freedom”, while his followers stood on the other side of the road with their own signs of support.

The Shugden Budhists have repeatedly asked the Dalai Lama for equality, but feel he has ignored their plight.

Tibetan monk Sonam Lama told AAP he was forced to leave India in 1996 and now lived in New Zealand.

International Shugden Community spokesman Nicholas Pitts told AAP the group was seeking freedom.

“We want everyone to have the freedom to practice the faith of their choosing without being at risk of repercussions,” he said.

“At the moment, anyone who practices Shugden openly is immediately rendered a pariah, they’re thrown out of their community, they’re completely ostracised.”

The Dalai Lama will wrap up his tour of Australia on Monday.