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Lys Anzia – WNN Features
“I’m particularly moved by his belief that women are the caretakers and educators of our future citizens and society,” said Maria Shriver after a July 2006 personal meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala , India . Shriver had gone to ask personally if the Dalai Lama would consider speaking in Long Beach , California at the Governor and First Lady’s Conference on Women while H.H. was traveling inside the U.S. in September 2006. After the meeting His Holiness agreed.
The importance of speaking to women and to women’s issues today was foremost.
“I have always believed that women have a unique role in society,” said His Holiness in a press release before the 2006 Conference on Women. At the conference, before thirteen thousand participants, this winner of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize, shared His views freely on women’s positive contributions to society. “Women have a special capacity to lead us to a more peaceful world with compassion, affection and kindness. And there is no more important time for that than this moment.”
Named Gelong Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama wrote in 1963, “Friendliness means that one develops amity toward all beings and this counteracts feelings of hatred.”
Adding an important note that sharply applies to our understanding of compassion today, Tenzin Gyatso continued, “Compassion is developed when seeing the sufferings of others so that one wishes to share their troubles and to help them, this being opposed to the attitude of callous indifference.”
Sharing the ideas of “spontaneous concern to help others” the Dalai Lama has a broad history of encouraging international non-violence through compassion and empathy.
In August of 1995, at the International Conference of Buddhist Women held in Ladakh, His Holiness said to all the women participants, “You need tremendous will-power and determination right from the start, accepting that there will be many obstacles, and resolving that despite them all you will continue until you have attained your goal.”
“It is the nature of human beings to yearn for freedom, equality and dignity. If we accept that others have a right to peace and happiness equal to our own, do we not have a responsibility to help those in need? All human beings, whatever their cultural or historical background, suffer when they are intimidated, imprisoned, tortured or discriminated against. The question of human rights is so fundamentally important that there should be no difference of views on this.”