“You are my hero”, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet told Richard Moore on 17th July 2007 whilst celebrating the tenth anniversary of Children in Crossfire in Derry. Gripping Richards hand, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists said. “Whether you believe it or not, you are my hero and a wonderful son of humanity. Despite your tremendously painful experience, you don’t have any anger or hate. You accept what has happened and keep your peace of mind. You are a good example and model”.
During this visit, the Dalai Lama met privately with Richard and Charles, the soldier who blinded him in 1972. “It is wonderful to see the person who suffered and the person who caused the suffering become true friends, peace-process, ” said the Dalai Lama. “Their’s is genuine friendship and happiness which is based on forgiveness”.
His Holiness first met Richard in October 2001 when he came to Derry
as part of his visit to Northern Ireland in support of peace process. He had asked to meet a small group of victims drawn from all sides of the conflict. Richard explained to the meeting that he had found inspiration from His Holiness’ messages and promotion of the core values of compassion, forgiveness and peace, adding that he “had come to realise that forgiveness is a gift primarily to myself, I have found freedom in it”. The Dalai Lama responded
“You might be blind, but you can see further than people with eyesight”. – The Dalai Lama when talking to Richard Moore
Following this initial meeting, Richard wrote to His Holiness to invite him to be the keynote speaker at Children in Crossfire’s 10th-anniversary conference. “We wanted someone who would reflect the ethos of Children in Crossfire and the motivation behind its creation. No one better on the planet fitted this description than the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. He knows what it’s like to suffer but has constantly promoted non-violence despite the difficulties that face him and his people. He has both talked the talk and walked the walk.”
In May 2010 Richard and Charles travelled to India for a special audience with His Holiness at his residence in Dharamsala. Whilst in India Richard and Charles spoke at an event at The Tibetan Children’s Village School, attended by over 2500 students, when His Holiness honoured Richard with a citation which the Tibetan leader read himself. In it, His Holiness says of Richard “Among the billions of people in the world you have provided a living example of the true practice of forgiveness and therefore a source of hope for every one of us”.
It was during this visit to Dharamsala that Richard asked His Holiness to become Patron of Children in Crossfire, an invitation which he readily accepted.The extraordinary relationship between these two incredible exemplars has continued to grow and deepen. His Holiness has been a keynote speaker at various Children in Crossfire events and he and Richard are often asked to appear together. In his recent book “Beyond Religion” the Dalai Lama refers to Richard as being “a marvellous example of the power of compassion and forgiveness”.
The Dalai Lama has been a key inspiration behind Children in Crossfire’s Educating the Heart initiative and specifically to the development of its TIDAL programme which seeks to provide a resource for teachers in addressing the issue of global citizenship in a way that results in a ‘felt’ understanding.
Who is the Dalai Lama?
The 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet is the spiritual leader of Tibetan people and a key proponent of world peace, the transformative power of compassion and the universal right to happiness. He has lived in exile in Dharamsala, India since 1959. His tireless efforts on behalf of world peace and human rights have brought him international recognition, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.
His main commitments lie in:
- The promotion of human values such as compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment and self-discipline;
- The promotion of religious harmony among the world’s major religious traditions; and,
- The preservation of Tibet’s Buddhist culture of peace and non-violence.