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In a speech that extolled the virtues of compassion, the Dalai Lama enchanted an Irvine Auditorium crowd Saturday with a simple style and personable manner. Speaking in front of gigantic red and gold tapestries, the 14th leader of Tibetan Buddhism told the sold-out audience that compassion for one's fellow man is the ultimate source of strength and happiness. "Anger brings us some extra energy, but it is blind energy," the Dalai Lama said. "The decision you make when anger dominates your mind often becomes wrong." "Non-violence is much closer to human nature," he added. "Although you may achieve something quickly with violence, it always creates long-term, negative consequences." The Dalai Lama, currently on a three-week tour of North America, was exiled from Tibet 30 years ago after Tibetans staged a national uprising against Chinese occupation. He received the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts toward a non-violent resolution to the conflict. President Sheldon Hackney introduced the Dalai Lama to the crowd that included students and many practicing Buddhists, calling him, "an inspiration to people all over the world who cherish freedom and dignity." In his speech, the Dalai Lama said that basic human nature is gentle and that anger is a disturbance of mind that can only result in wrong decisions and actions. He urged listeners to develop their own inner tranquility and goodness. After using his interpreter for five minutes, the Dalai Lama began to speak in English, occasionally asking another monk to translate phrases. He pointed to religion as an important tool in developing compassion, but stressed a need for a variety of religions that can accommodate many different people and cultures. "All religions carry the same messages of love and forgiveness," said the Dalai Lama, adding that compassion and the practice of religion can be separate. "Religion is a luxury," he said. "Without religion, we can survive, but compassion is human nature." After the speech, students praised the Dalai Lama for his insights into self-improvement, although several said that they had difficulty understanding his English. Although many listeners belonged to Tibetan activist groups that distributed fliers describing brutal destruction of the Tibetan people by the Chinese, the Dalai Lama avoided delving into the specific political problems of Tibet. He centered his talk on how love, self-improvement, and understanding of other peoples can lead to personal liberty and world peace. "He was very humane," said Tara Bohling, a Wharton junior. "I was glad he didn't make it into a political statement and just gave us a general view of his way of thinking." Chimi Thonden, a member of the U.S. Tibetan Committee based in New York City, said that the speech was more religion-oriented than she had expected, but that she was extremely moved by the Dalai Lamas message of inner peace.

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