Dalai Lama receives honorary degree from SMU
Published: Monday, May 9, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
With a red SMU baseball cap on his head, his Holiness the Dalai Lama received the SMU Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa.
Speaking to a sold out audience of approximately 2,500 guests the Dalai Lama delivered his message of universal responsibility and unity among religions as part of the 10th Hart Global Leaders Forum in McFarlin Auditorium Monday afternoon.
"The world belongs to humanity, not to kings or spiritual leaders," the Dalai Lama said. "The whole world is one entity, one body."
Having been offered a seat on a couch in the center of the stage, his Holiness the Dalai Lama preferred to speak from the podium.
The Dalai Lama, who received the Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent struggle for the liberation of Tibet in 1989, realizes the importance of, and is implementing, democracy.
"Democracy is not an American possession. It is universal," he said.
He encouraged young people of the 21st century to view the world holistically in order to solve the problems of the 20th century.
"Young people belong to the 21st century; you can make this century more happy, peaceful and democratic," he said.
Speaking to majority local high school students in the audience, the Dalai Lama said that young people need to broaden their education in order to gap the appearance and the reality of the world.
However, he said, "Your mind must be very calm. Too much emotion and you cannot see the reality."
Aspects of a calm mind include love, compassion and tolerance.
In order to see the reality of the world and encompass these characteristics, the Dalai Lama believes that individuals should approach the issue from a secular perspective.
"We are the same human beings-mentally, emotionally, physically the same," he said. "We all have the right to achieve happiness."
The Hart Global Leaders program was established in 1999 and has honored many prestigious speakers on the SMU campus including former President Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush, Gen. Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Today, in welcoming his Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, Vice President for Development and External Affairs Brad Cheves announced this was a "historic day" for SMU.
Linda Hart, a graduate of SMU's Dedman School of Law, said, "The Hart Forum may have reached a pinnacle in global leaders in bringing his Holiness to SMU."
Former Student Body President Jake Torres agreed.
"I have been incredibly blessed to meet one of the true spiritual leaders of the world," he said.
In mid-March the 75-year-old leader announced that that he is retiring as head of state for the Tibetan government-in-exile. He will retain spiritual leadership in Tibet.