Nobel Peace Prize laureate the Dalai Lama said developed countries are in “crisis” as he urged a greater sense of compassion and love during a visit to Northern Ireland on Sunday.
The spiritual leader of Tibet (which was subsumed into China in the 1950s) called for a century of peace during a visit to Londonderry as a guest of charity Children in Crossfire.
The Buddhist monk said thinking which led to warfare was “outdated”, referring to fighting in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere.
He condemned fighting in the name of religion in Northern Ireland too – and mentioned in particular the role of Buddhists in the violence now engulfing parts of Myanmar (a predominantly Buddhist country, also known as Burma).
There, members of the Rohingya Muslim minority are fleeing an onslaught by the military, which had been sparked initially by Rohingya insurgent activity.
The 82-year-old spiritual Buddhist leader said: “Even some Buddhists in Burma are harming some Muslim brothers and sisters.”
He tutted, shook his head, and declared this “unthinkable”.
Speaking in heavily-accented English, he told the audience: “Our goal should be a century of peace, a century of dialogue based on a sense of oneness of seven billion human beings.”
He said that global warming will cause natural disasters to increase. Coupled with a growing global population, he said this means the time has come where human beings must “work together – think about humanity, not ‘my nation’,” he said.
“Not ‘Londonderry’ or ‘Derry’,” he added, playfully slapping Richard Moore, the charity’s director who was sitting beside him.
Speaking in support of international co-operation, the Dalai Lama said: “I am one of the admirers of the European Union.”
He said if there were no EU, then there would have been bloodshed over the last few decades among member states.
He suggested that at some stage – not in his lifetime – China and India could join together as part of a similar union in Asia, adding: “That is the guarantee for peace.”