The South China Morning Post (SCMP), English daily published from Hong Kong, has reported on the tremendous public response to the Dalai Lama during his recent trips to the United States and Europe. In an article on October 23, 2003, SCMP said, “Tens of thousands of people turned up for the Dalai Lama’s free public talk in Central Park” in September in New York while in Paris, The Palais Omnisports was filled to capacity to hear his teachings in October.

SCMP, in its report titled “Messiah of the Modern Age,” quotes the French daily Le Monde as saying that the turnout in Paris indicates ‘the sympathy France has for the Tibetan cause and a more general attraction for the values of Buddhism…’

“But much of the increasing popularity of Buddhism here seems to be tied to the self-effacing simplicity of the Dalai Lama, his hearty laugh, the fact that he sees himself as no better than any other person, his sense of humour and the philosophy he outlined at the Palais Omnisport,” SCMP adds in its report from Paris.

Talking of the increasing interest in Buddhism in France, SCMP said, “One of the other reasons for the growth of Buddhism in France seems to be that the Dalai Lama doesn’t try to convert people away from their own religions. Indeed the Dalai Lama, while hoping people will incorporate his teachings on non-violence and compassion into their lives, at the same time advises them to stick with the religions they grew up with.”