He said the environmental situation in Tibet was his second concern. He said that this issue impacted not just Tibet but affects billions of people in the region. He also listed as a serious matter the issue of population transfer in Tibet.
The Dalai Lama said that as long as the six million Tibetans remain unhappy he will continue to speak out on their behalf.
When asked what people could do to support Tibet the Dalai Lama said individuals could visit Tibet, ‘see for yourselves’ and then educate the public, particularly the Chinese, about the true situation. He said this could be done at several levels, business people could talk to Chinese business people, students could talks to Chinese students and officials could talk to Chinese officials. The Dalai Lama said currently the key positions in Tibet are held by Chinese officials who have no knowledge of Tibetan culture.
The Dalai Lama was asked about the reason he is being awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor in the United States, and his feelings on this. As for the reasons why he is being bestowed this honor, the Dalai Lama responded, ?Ask them,? referring to the United States Congress that passed the resolution. In terms of his feelings, the Dalai Lama recalled the time when he was informed that the Nobel Peace Prize was being conferred on him. Personally he did not really feel anything, but he recognized that the Prize was a recognition of his service to humanity and global peace. He felt that the Congressional Gold Medal was a similar recognition.
The Dalai Lama’s public talk was organized by the American Himalayan Foundation. Prior to the talk, the Dalai Lama gave a two-day Buddhist teaching at the request of the San Jose based Gyuto Vajrayana Center.