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Dalai Lama: Education is key to the future

September 15, 2016

The Dalai Lama has appealed for future generations to show more compassion and resist materialism. In a speech before Europe's human rights authority, he also urged the EU to pressure China on its Tibet policy.

Dalai Lama
Image: Getty Images/AFP/P. Hertzog

The Tibetan spiritual leader expressed a bleak view of the 21st century when he addressed the Council of Europe in the southern French city of Strasbourg on Thursday.

"I'm 81 years old. I'm not expecting a happier humanity within my lifetime," the Dalai Lama told the gathering of diplomats and human rights representatives.

The Dalai Lama blamed the state of the education system, which he said encouraged a materialistic lifestyle.

"We need education about moral principles and moral ethics that aren't based on religion, but on scientific knowledge, common experience and common sense," he said, adding that such a system would help create more compassion in future generations.

He said he feared that the current focus on materialism would make the 21st century "one of violence."

The Tibet question

Later Thursday, the Dalai Lama attended a meeting with the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, where he urged EU leaders to offer more "constructive criticism" to China on its governance of Tibet.

The remote, mainly Buddhist territory is governed as an autonomous region of China, but Tibetans complain that their culture, language and Buddhist traditions have been suppressed amid an increasing influx of Han Chinese.

"The Chinese must finally understand that this problem needs to be addressed in a rational way - because it's not going to just disappear," the Dalai Lama said.

He insists he only wants greater autonomy for Tibet under the central Chinese government, but Beijing sees the exiled spiritual leader as a separatist threat.

The Dalai Lama has been living in India since a 1959 failed uprising against Chinese control in Tibet. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 and is seen worldwide as an advocate for minority rights.

nm / mkg (AFP, kna, dpa, epd)