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The Dalai Lama devoted the last public appearance of his Portland visit to an hourlong teaching on compassion.

Speaking to about 10,000 people at Veterans Memorial Coliseum, he said the traditional Buddhist value is the key to a happy and peaceful life.

“Compassion means genuine lovingkindness,” he said, “the wish for others to be happy.

“All the world religions’ — every one — message is compassion. We need the practice of tolerance. We need the practice of forgiveness.”

Religious people who aim to practice these values must be serious about it, the Dalai Lama said. “In many cases, religious practice is simply lip service: Talk compassion, do something different.  Sometimes religion teaches us hypocrisy.”

The spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism said compassion is not, strictly speaking, a religious value. Out of 7 billion people in the world, about 1 billion say they are not religious.

“We can see among non-believers some people really dedicated to serving other people,” he said. “Be a compassionate person, not necessarily a religious believer.” His remarks drew a round of applause.

He encouraged his listeners to scorn wealth and material consumption as the means to true happiness.

“Sometimes money brings more worry, more anxiety,” he said. He knows rich people who are miserable. “Too much stress. Too much exciting. Too much loneliness deep inside.”

He repeated a point he’d made in his other public appearances, that the “secular ethics” he promotes do not imply negativity toward religion. “Secular means respect other religions, respect non-believers.”

“Compassion is the key factor to one’s own well-being,” he said. “We are social animals,” he added, “but those dogs always barking often remain lonely.”

Anger eats away at us, he said. “Compassion strengthens our immune system.”


“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.”