'Serve humanity', urges Dalai Lama

 

The Dalai Lama has urged religious people to work for the good of humanity and care for the environment in an address at Westminster Abbey.

The Tibetan spiritual leader said it was important that religious faith was not confined to holy books or buildings but that it had an impact upon lives.

"I think millions of people have a genuine sense of spirituality, we must work together to serve humanity," he said.

"We now also have responsibility for the care of the planet.

"I am quite sure that religions still have an important role to make a better humanity," he added.

The 76-year-old was addressing representatives from different religious groups and denominations including Anglican, Roman Catholic, Jewish, Sikh, and Hindu leaders at the event described as a service of prayer and reflection.

The Dalai Lama, who shook hands with a row of schoolboys as he entered the abbey, was welcomed at the start of the service by the Dean of Westminster The Very Rev Dr John Hall.

The service heard a reading from the Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala, head priest of the London Buddhist Vihara, and prayers read by Lord Singh of Wimbledon, representing the Sikh community and Anil Bhanot, of the Hindu faith.

The service was part of an eight-day UK tour by the Dalai Lama to promote his message of non-violence, dialogue and universal responsibility.

The address comes after the Dalai Lama's official website said he met Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi privately yesterday.

According to his website, he told her: "I have real admiration for your courage. I am very happy we've been able to meet."

The Dalai Lama, who is one of the world's most revered leaders, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 and was awarded the £1.1 million Templeton Prize last month at St Paul's Cathedral in London for his engagement with science and people beyond his religious traditions.

He has lived in exile in Dharamsala in northern India since 1959.

The Dalai Lama passed the political leadership of exiled Tibetans on to an elected prime minister last year but remains the spiritual leader of the Tibetan community.

After the service, he was due to hold a private meeting with the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall at the royal couple's London home Clarence House.

The heir to the throne is a long-time supporter of the Dalai Lama and the two men last met four years ago in London when they chatted about spiritual matters.

PA

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