Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, India – His Holiness the Dalai Lama has written to Rt. Hon. Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand to express his deep sadness over the tragic deaths and injuries that took place in a place of worship as a result of last Friday’s shootings in Christchurch. He offered his heartfelt prayers for those who died and conveyed his condolences through Ms. Ardern to their families, friends and the people of New Zealand.
“I admire the courage, wisdom and leadership you have shown in spontaneously declaring that the victims of violence belong to the family of New Zealanders, while the perpetrator of violence set himself apart,” he wrote. “Since we all depend upon others, we have to be inclusive in our concern for them. Wherever I go, I consider myself to be just one among seven billion human beings alive today. It is unthinkable that these days we see people killing each other in the name of religion or out of hostility to another faith. This is why I am committed to creating a greater awareness of the oneness of humanity—the fact that as human beings we are mentally, physically and emotionally the same.
“I applaud the way you and the people of New Zealand have reached out with compassion and support to members of the Muslim community among you. It is encouraging too that across the world, people of all faiths are visiting mosques in solidarity with Muslims after the Christchurch shootings.
His Holiness concluded his letter by observing, “Your Government’s determination to reform gun laws will contribute to peace and security, but equally important is to resist hatred and fear by cultivating warm-heartedness as you have shown.”