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Dalai Lama forms unlikely double act on UK tour

June 17, 2012

The Dalai Lama kicked off Saturday a series of talks across Britain, forming an unlikely double act with comedian Russell Brand.

The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader began his week-long programme at the Manchester Arena in northwest England, with a talk to young people entitled “Stand Up And Be The Change”.

The Buddhist monk was in jovial form as he bantered with Brand, 37, the ex-husband of US pop star Katy Perry, who is as well-known for his hedonistic past as he is for his stand-up routines and film roles.

“Day is for work, night is for sleep but you can do what makes you happy,” the 76-year-old said.

“Thank you for sanctioning my lifestyle,” Brand replied.

“Going from junkie to Shagger of the Year…three times… to now introducing the Dalai Lama. It has been an interesting journey,” the hirsute comic said.

Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, said the future was in the hands of youth.

“The 21st century belongs to you. My generation belongs to the 20th century, it has already gone so my generation are ready to say bye bye,” he said.

“I think quite certain this century can be more pleasant, more peaceful and more equal.”

He said dialogue was the key to avoiding violent conflicts.

“At the age of 16 I lost my freedom. At the age of 24 I lost my own country. During these 50 or 60 years I have faced a lot of problems but I never give up hope. Hope based on truth, hope based on reason,” he continued.

He is due to give further talks and teachings in Manchester before heading to London and then Edinburgh, Dundee and Inverness in Scotland.

Speaking Friday, he was asked about the economic crisis in the European Union.

“It is very, very serious but then if you ask me what my advice is then I say I am not an expert,” he said.

“You have experience of the First World War and the Second World War by rebuilding.

“Looking at Germany they rebuilt their economy as did Japan, so why not?”

The Tibetan leader, who fled his homeland for northern India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule, announced last year that he was giving up his political role to focus on spiritual duties.

Despite his calls for autonomy rather than independence for Tibet, Beijing has repeatedly accused him of trying to split Tibet from the rest of China and has stepped up pressure on world leaders not to meet him.

- AFP


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