The Dalai Lama, spiritual head to Tibet's Buddhists, arrived in Rome on Saturday (29 September 1973) at the start of a six-week European tour.
The Dalai Lama, spiritual head to Tibet's Buddhists, arrived in Rome on Saturday (29 September 1973) at the start of a six-week European tour. It is the first time the 38-year-old religious leader has ever left Asia. On arrival, he said his visit was "purely cultural, religious and private, with no political implications whatsoever."
The main purpose of his stay in Italy, he said, was to meet Pope Paul VI. On Sunday, during the meeting which was at the Dalai Lama's request, the Pope referred to Asia as "the cradle of ancient religions and human traditions which are highly held in deep veneration." Leaving Rome on Monday (1 October), the Dalai Lama is due to visit Austria, Denmark, West Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
The Dalai Lama, "God-King" ruler of Tibet, went into exile in India in 1959 after the failure of an uprising against the Chinese. He heads some 60,000 Tibetans who have settled in India since Tibet came under Chinese rule in 1950.
SYNOPSIS: Arriving at Rome airport on Saturday at the beginning of a six-week tour of Europe was the Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of the Buddhists of Tibet. It was the first time he had ever left the continent of Asia. The Dalai Lama was welcomed by Cardinal Sergio Pignedoli, President of the Vatican Secretariat for non-Christians, and by other Catholic leaders.
The Dalai Lama, who is thirty-eight, left Tibet fourteen years ago for India after an uprising against the Chinese had failed. He how heads some sixty thousand Tibetans who have settled in India since their country came under Chinese rule in 1950.
Speaking through an interpreter at an airport news conference, the Dalai Lama said the main purpose of his visit to Italy was to meet the Pope. He said the tour was "purely cultural, religious and private, with no political implications whatsoever.
Vatican sources said the Dalai Lama had asked for the meeting with the Pope. When it took place on Sunday, Pope Paul expressed the hope that the Dalai Lama's European journey would contribute to the furtherance of mutual love and respect among the adherents of different creeds. This was only the second time that a Pope had met a Buddhist leader.