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20 October  
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1973: Dalai Lama makes first UK visit
The spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists, the Dalai Lama, has arrived in Britain for the start of a 10-day tour during which he will "administer vows to people who want them".

It is the first time he has been to the UK. The visit is part of a European tour that started with a meeting between the spiritual leader and Pope Paul V at the Vatican in Rome.

It was the first time the two had met and the Pope said he hoped the tour would be an occasion for spiritual satisfaction.

During his stay the 38-year-old is expected to meet the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Michael Ramsey, and address many of his followers including a group at Sutton Courtenay Abbey.

The Buddhist leader said he wanted to meet people on his trip who were "thinking deeply about the problems of mankind" and said his message to British Buddhists was that "they must develop compassion".

Tenzin Gyatso, the fourteenth Dalai Lama, has insisted his visit is not for political gains.

My trip is of a non-political nature
Dalai Lama
He has been living in exile in India since 1959. He left his home country following a failed uprising against the Chinese in Tibet.

Asked on his arrival if he was looking forward to returning to Tibet after 14 years of exile in India he said: "My trip is of a non-political nature".

"I have developed respect for my former enemies. In my autobiography I comment on Chairman Mao. I like him and admire him very much" he added.

In 1972 India announced that China should decide the fate of Tibet and not the people of Tibet. This was put down to improved China-Indian relations.

A Tibetan diplomat is currently discussing the possibility of the Dalai Lama returning to Tibet. He would be stripped of all political powers but retain his spiritual leadership of Buddhists.

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Watch/Listen
Dalai Lama at Westminster School, London
The Dalai Lama wants to meet people "thinking deeply about the problems of mankind"

Dalai Lama discusses buddhism with British school pupils


In Context
During his European tour the Dalai Lama visited Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, West Germany and Austria.

When the Dalai Lama left Tibet in 1959 he was followed by up to 100,000 Tibetans to India.

In 1989 the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The committee said he was awarded it because throughout his attempts to liberate Tibet he advocated peaceful solutions based on tolerance and mutual respect.

The Dalai Lama and other Tibetans have still not returned to what was once their country. It remains under the control of China.

Stories From 20 Oct


 
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