Monday 18 November 2019

WATCH: Dalai Lama pulls on young man's beard during audience in Derry

Michael McHugh

The Dalai Lama has spoken on the developed world in Derry - but has hit headlines in the meantime for pulling a surprised young man's beard.

Footage from the audience in Derry, Northern Ireland, shows the Dalai Lama pulling on the young man's beard, much to onlookers' amusement.

The Tibetan spiritual leader used the platform to say the developed world is experiencing a mental crisis.

He railed against too much war, fear, distrust and anger and called for world leaders to create a century of peace.

The Tibetan spiritual leader also said he was an admirer of the European Union and urged Russia to join the bloc.

The 82-year-old said: "Our goal should be a century of peace, a century of dialogue based on a sense of oneness of seven billion human beings."

He addressed an audience in Derry in Northern Ireland, a city on the UK's only land border with an EU state, the Republic of Ireland, which could be deeply affected by Brexit.

The leader in exile of the Tibetan Himalayan kingdom - which was annexed by China in 1950 - has visited Northern Ireland several times: in October 2000, November 2005 and April 2013.

The winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 has become a symbol of peaceful resistance to oppression throughout the world.

He said thinking which led to warfare was outdated - referring to fighting in Burma, Iraq and Syria - adding: "Those developed countries are mentally in a lot of crisis.

"Unrest, too much warring, fear distrust and anger."

He is a guest of charity Children in Crossfire, which is marking 20 years of international development work.

The anti-poverty organisation was established by Richard Moore, who was blinded after he was injured during the Northern Ireland conflict.

Mr Moore was walking past an Army post when he said a soldier fired a rubber bullet from 10 feet away.

The Dalai Lama urged a greater sense of compassion and love during his speech to a sell-out crowd in the city.

He alluded to Brexit during a lengthy address.

He said: "I am an admirer of European Union", adding, "Eventually Russia should be part of the European Union."

He made a few jokes about US President Donald Trump and climate change, noting recent events (hurricanes in the Caribbean) may be teaching him something different.

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