Dalai Lama stresses music's connection to peace at One World concert

His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke on the importance of collaboration and music to global peace at Tuesday's One World concert.

To the Dalai Lama, the most important thing in life isn’t religion. It isn’t ritual or tradition or even the Buddhist faith. To the His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, the most important thing in life is love.

“The message is the same in all religions: love, forgiveness, tolerance,” he said in a press conference Tuesday prior to the One World Concert at the Carrier Dome. “It’s same goal, to make better human beings.”

After making a statement, the Dalai Lama opened up the floor to questions, discussing everything from his musical tastes to cases of self-immolation by the Tibetan people, which is becoming increasingly prevalent.

In the past few months, there have been over 50 cases of self-immolation, or setting oneself on fire in protest, and the Dalai Lama said this is a symptom of more deep-seated issues.

“Chinese leaders must do thorough investigation of the causes,” he said of the protests. He went on to say that totalitarian governmental systems follow their own visions and ideas and that the way to combat these regimes is to seek truth.

The idea of seeking out truth and raising awareness is central to the Dalai Lama’s personal philosophy.

“It is every human being’s responsibility to make contribution to better world,” he said.

Yet he noted that a better world does not come through meditation or prayer, but through action by the individual. And while one individual does not make a vast difference alone, multiplied by 100 people, global change is brought about, he said.

The Dalai Lama also stressed the importance of the right to question. He discussed what he called 21st century Buddhists, who only practice the Buddhist faith because their parents do. Followers should know and question the teachings, he said.

“Too much emphasis on ritual,” he said. “No substance.”

He compared that right to question to American politics when asked what he advice he would give the current presidential candidates. He noted that American democracy encourages constant questioning and discourse.

“I really admire American...concept of liberty, democracy, freedom...,” the Dalai Lama said.

But the question on everyone’s mind was the Dalai Lama’s view of the One World Concert performers. When asked whether he was looking forward to any particular artist at Tuesday night’s concert, the Dalai Lama laughed.

“I know nothing about music and such things,” he said. “I am not the right person to ask that question to.”

He did note, however, the importance of music in raising awareness and bringing people together. Music can send important messages and performers have the power to reach many people, he said.

This sentiment was echoed by singer/songwriter Natasha Bedingfield, who spoke to the press directly following the Dalai Lama. Music crosses cultural boundaries and the concert created an opportunity for many voices to come together, she said.

Though performing is her craft and occupation, Bedingfield said performing at the One World Concert was something entirely different.

“When you get a chance to bring meaning, it feels quite wonderful,” Bedingfield said.

The performers had the privilege to meet with His Holiness prior to the press conference and even took a group photo. Bedingfield said she could feel an energy emanating from the Dalai Lama, and that her experience of meeting him was one she will never forget.

“It was incredible to meet His Holiness,” she said. “He is such a strong, peaceful presence.”

When asked what she was most looking forward to at the concert, Bedingfield said she was ready to join the rest of the performers and concertgoers in celebrating love and peace.

“As much as I’m going to be giving, I’m going to be receiving,” she said. “I’m just going to drink it in.”


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