Dalai Lama stresses peace, environmentalism at UC San Diego
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, on the first day of a five-day visit to Southern California, urged students at UC San Diego on Wednesday not to be distracted by materialism.
A large house and a good salary, he told a morning gathering at the La Jolla campus, should not be considered the "meaning of life."
"No, certainly not!" the 76-year-old spiritual leader of the Tibetan people said during a panel discussion on global warming attended by more than 4,000 persons in the campus basketball arena.
People everywhere should strive to promote tolerance, nonviolence and concern for the environment, he said.
"This is something serious, very serious," he said. "This small blue planet is our only one…. This beautiful planet (was) created by God. It is wrong just to exploit (it) as much as possible without care."
Still, the Dalai Lama did not underestimate the difficulty of vexing issues balancing the environment against economic growth.
With a slight laugh, he said it is good to remember the advice of an 8th century monk: if a problem has solutions, do not worry; if a problem has no solutions, do not concern yourself.
The Dalai Lama said that while he is not a scientist, he respects the scientific method: "Without skepticism there are no questions; with no questions there is no research; and with no research there are no answers."
At a press conference before the panel discussion, he was asked about the Los Angeles Times decision to publish photos of American soldiers with dead Afghan insurgents:
"All violence is wrong, I abhor all violence," he said.
In San Diego, the Dalai Lama is also scheduled to give speeches at the University of San Diego and San Diego State.
--Tony Perry and Don Bartletti in San Diego
Photo: His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso greets Marye Anne Fox, Chancellor of the University of California, San Diego at the start of a press conference. Later he joined a panel for a discussion about climate change before an enthusiastic crowd of thousands in a basketball arena. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times