25th Anniversary of Conferment of the Nobel Peace Prize on His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama of Tibet
Tibetan-American Foundation of Minnesota
December 10, 2014
Speech by Chief Guest
Mary Jo Kreitzer
Tashi Delek – Thank you very much for this kind invitation. I am deeply honored to be your guest this evening.
Twenty-five years ago today, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama received the Nobel Peace Prize. In accepting the award, His Holiness remarked, “I feel honored, humbled and deeply moved that you should give this important prize to a simple monk from Tibet. I am no one special. But, I believe the prize is a recognition of the true values of altruism, love, compassion, and non-violence which I try to practice.”
He then accepted the prize with profound gratitude on behalf of the oppressed everywhere, and for all those who struggle for freedom and work for world peace.
In the remainder of his speech, His Holiness focused on three themes that continue to be core to his teachings:
• No matter what part of the world we come from, we are all basically the same human beings. We all seek happiness and try to avoid suffering. We have the same basic human needs and concerns. All of us human beings want freedom and the right to determine our own destiny as individuals and as peoples.
When we hosted His Holiness in 2011, the title of his public talk was Peace through Inner Peace – and the message we heard was that inner peace brings freedom, as well as happiness, which is essential to wellbeing.
• The problems we face today – violent conflicts, destruction of nature, poverty, hunger, and so on – are human-created problems which can be resolved through human effort, understanding, and the development of a sense of brotherhood and sisterhood.
There is perhaps even more urgency today than there was 25 years ago to address these issues. We face in our own community – as well as within the nation and world – disparities that are growing in economics, health care, and education. We need to be asking ourselves what is our personal responsibility and what is our collective responsibility?
• With the ever-growing impact of science on our lives, religion and spirituality have a greater role to play by reminding us of our humanity. There is no contradiction between the two.
His Holiness has focused extensively over the past 25 years on the interconnectedness between spirituality and science. It was been remarkable witnessing his collaboration with the world’s leading neuroscientists who are making discoveries such as the role of meditation in changing the structure and the function of the brain.
Within the state of Minnesota, we have been blessed that so many Tibetan people have chosen to live here. And I know that I speak for the entire Center for Spirituality & Healing team at the University of Minnesota when I say that we treasure our special connection with the Tibetan-American Foundation of Minnesota. And, we are grateful that through your collaborations with many community groups, we have had the good fortune of being able to host His Holiness on a number of occasions.