Belfast Telegraph

Do not lose hope, urges Dalai Lama

Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has urged Irish people not to be discouraged or lose hope as they struggle to cope with the financial crisis.

In his first visit to Ireland in 20 years the exiled Nobel peace laureate spoke to a sold-out conference of 2,000 people on the first leg of a two-day trip.

In a country reeling from its worst recession and facing the costliest banking crisis in history, the 76-year-old said money would not make people happy.

"The ultimate source of happiness, peace of mind, cannot be produced by money," he said. "Billionaires, they are, I notice, very unhappy people. Very powerful, but deep inside, too much anxiety, too much stress.

"So where I go, I always say ... the ultimate source of happiness and successful life is within ourselves."

The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, addressed the Possibilities civic summit at the Citywest Hotel in Dublin, organised through the Children in Crossfire charity which was established by his friend Richard Moore who was blinded by a British soldier in Northern Ireland aged 10.

Mr Moore said the purpose of the conference was to create a sense of community for people facing the despair of financial ruin. The Dalai Lama, describing Mr Moore as his hero, clutched his hands warmly.

Mr Moore said: "There's no one on this planet that would inspire people more, I believe, than His Holiness."

Dressed in his traditional red Buddhist robes, the Dalai Lama said he had an emotional connection with Ireland as the country supported his initiative to raise the political plight of Tibet at the United Nations in 1959. He fled his country that year after a failed uprising against Chinese rule and now lives in India.

The Dalai Lama said he did not know much about "money matters", but said friends had told him the global recession was caused by short-sightedness and too much greed. He said the country's battered economy would prosper again with self confidence, hard work and determination.

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