The Dalai Lama made his final public appearance in Hawaii Monday at Kualoa Park, where he bestowed blessings upon the Hokule’a. The legendary Hawaiian double-hulled voyaging canoe recently returned to the ocean after several years in dry dock to prepare for next year’s worldwide voyage.
The Dalai Lama was greeted with traditional Hawaiian conch shells and chants before Cy Bridges of the Polynesian Cultural Center spoke to him, saying, “Your blood is our blood; your bones are our bones; our stories are intertwined forever.” The Dalai Lama then gave his blessing, and as a gift, tied a Tibetan white scarf to the canoe’s mast. In closing, Nainoa Thompson, the director of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, encouraged guests to remember the Dalai Lama’s message to be kind and peaceful.
After the blessing, the Dalai Lama answered questions from the media, which were somewhat political. However, before the Q&A session, he responded to the crowd’s “Aloha” greeting, saying he had just learned the true meaning of the word. Although it’s a simple word, he said the meaning isn’t, and that people should make an effort to truly implement aloha.
When asked what he thought of Hawaii being such a militarized location, he said that like with Okinawa, he knows at a local level, militarization is not good, but that it’s unfortunately necessary on a global level. He hopes, however, that one day the world will be peaceful enough to be demilitarized. On a humorous note, when asked why some view him as dangerous for promoting peace, he said he’s been called a demon by the Chinese government, then laughed with Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle as he held his fingers to his head, mocking demon horns.
His overall message during his time in the islands is that the world can be healed with education and secular ethics to create a oneness among humanity.