The visit of the Dalai Lama to any city is an event cherished by people of various faiths and following, despite a cold shoulder that he gets from Governments, politicians and bureaucrats.
His visit to Christchurch last month was a source of comfort to thousands of people of this quake-damaged city and although words would not bring back the dead or damaged property, his genuine concern was endearing.
“I am grieving alongside the broken City of Christchurch. When you face a tragedy, lose people and have your homes damaged, it is my duty to come and share your sadness and grief as a friend,” he said, leading a public prayer at the CBS Canterbury Arena where more than 6000 men, women and children had assembled to hear him.
Families of quake victims were given a special place at the Service.
The Dalai Lama requested private meetings with people who had lost their loved ones and spoke about the bereaved families.
He was in the City on June 8 and 9 to witness the destruction wrought by the February 22 earthquake to life and property. As an advocate of universal brotherhood and solidarity, the Dalai Lama exuded love and compassion.
Apart from touring the damaged areas, he visited the hospital wards where a number of people were being treated for the injuries that they sustained during the tragedy.
Quake shocks of the worst kind rocked the City days after he left Christchurch but the Dalai Lama had taught the power of prayer.
He urged the people of Christchurch to take courage and build a new City that would be better and happier.
The Dalai Lama spoke about selfishness, racism, greed and power that have destroyed the human mind, leading to problems around the world. The Earth would have been a better place, had human beings chosen good qualities as their traits and spread love and compassion, he said.
While the entire City was excited by the visit of the great spiritual leader, it was a pity that none of the Canterbury based Ministers and Members of Parliament was present at any meeting. I was disappointed that even Mayor Bob Parker was conspicuous by his absence.
But he later told Indian Newslink that he was hospitalised for surgery.
Dr George Abraham is our Christchurch Correspondent.