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News > Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama holds prayer session in view of threat of war in Iraq

...says in any war the poor and the helpless suffer the most

DHARAMSALA,11 March 2003 – His Holiness the Dalai Lama said that differences in opinion must be resolved through dialogue and discussion rather than settling them by waging wars. His Holiness the Dalai Lama said wars produce temporary victors and temporary losers and that the result of this kind of victory or defeat will not endure.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama was speaking at a special prayer session held in view of the threat of imminent war in Iraq. This special prayer session was part of the eight-day annual Great Prayer Festival that began today at the Tsuglhakhang, the main Buddhist cathedral opposite the residence of the Dalai Lama. The chairman and vice-chairperson of the Tibetan parliament, the officials of the Tibetan administration, the Buddhist clergy and the Tibetan public attended the first day of the annual Great Prayer Festival, which is organised by the Department of Religion and Culture of the Central Tibetan Administration.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama said, “The Iraq issue is becoming very critical...Now think of this. If there is any bloodshed, people in positions of power, those who are responsible, will find safe places and escape the consequent hardship. They will find safety for themselves, one way or the other. But what about the poor people, the defenceless, the children, the old and infirm? They are the ones who will have to bear the brunt of devastation.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama said the concept and the practice of war has become an anachronism and must be consigned to the dustbin of history.

Kalon Thubten Lungrig, the kalon for the Department of Religion and Culture of the Central Tibetan Administration opened the annual Great Prayer Festival by commenting that all Tibetans pray that the imminent war in Iraq could be averted and requested the members of the Buddhist clergy for their prayers.

(Click here to read the Dalai Lama's statement)


His Holiness the Dalai Lama believes that unless people change their attitude and realise the ultimate futility of war and the use of force in solving our problems it is difficult to expect the world to be peaceful and free of violence. Unfortunately, such a change takes time and can only come about on the basis of understanding and conviction, but when it does take place we can expect to live in genuine and long-lasting peace.

Peace is not something which exists independently of us, any more than does war. Those who are responsible for creating and keeping the peace are members of our own human family, the society that we as individuals have helped create. Peace in the world thus depends on there being peace in the hearts of individuals. Peace based merely on political considerations or prompted by other compulsions will only be temporary and superficial. Unless the basic causes of violence are addressed, sooner or later violence will recur. This is why for many years His Holiness has been encouraging people wherever he goes to appreciate non-violence, tolerance and compassion.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama is very concerned about the impending threat of war against Iraq. However, this is a very complicated matter and there are limits to what His Holiness can do. He has always believed and has repeated publicly that violence is not the solution to any problem, including the Tibetan people’s struggle for freedom.

His Holiness has endorsed and supports the statements issued by the International Committee for the Peace Council, Madison, Wisconsin, USA (see NEWS), and by the Nobel Laureates.

His Holiness very much appreciates the efforts of all those people who support a peaceful resolution of the international dispute with Iraq and offers prayers that ultimately peace may prevail.

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Page Published: 03/24/2003 · Page Last Modified: Thursday, December 6, 2007
©2003 International Committee for the Peace Council

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