PISCATAWAY, N.J. – The Dalai Lama told 36,000 people at Rutgers Stadium that the concept of war was outdated and young people have a responsibility to make this century one of peace.
“This whole planet is just us,” the 70-year-old exiled monk said Sunday. “Therefore, destruction of another area essentially is destruction of yourself.”
Tibet’s spiritual leader also urged the audience to develop a wider world perspective, not just focus on “America, America, America.”
“His quiet mind is the kind of serenity New Jersey, home of strip malls, could use,” Arielle Gomberg said.
The speech was the largest nonathletic event in Rutgers history, topping visits by former President Clinton and former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno.
A row of monks, wearing traditional gold and maroon, sat near the stage on blankets, pillows or mats spread across the 10- and 20-yard lines on the football field.
The Dalai Lama, who won the 1989 Nobel peace prize, accepted an honorary degree from Rutgers President Richard McCormick. He said it was an honor to receive it without having to work hard and study.
In his lecture, “Peace, War and Reconciliation,” the Dalai Lama said society’s dream should be a world free of nuclear and biological weapons.
He noted their danger – and their expense, saying some African states have an abundance of weapons, but not enough food.
Also Sunday, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave the Dalai Lama the key to the city, calling him “a moral beacon to millions around the world, with a clear and constant voice for human rights.”
The Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 following an aborted uprising against Chinese rule in the territory and now keeps an office in exile in the Himalayan town of Dharmsala, India.