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Dalai Lama blesses, boards voyaging canoe Hokule’a

    The Dalai Lama visited Kualoa Park today for the arrival and blessing of the Hokulea and its crew.


In his final public appearance as part of a four-day visit to the islands, the Dalai Lama blessed voyaging canoe Hokule’a this afternoon in preparation for its round-the-world sail.

He boarded the double-hulled canoe after blessing it.

Polynesian Voyaging Society President Nainoa Thompson thanked the Dalai Lama for the blessing, saying it was the preparation needed for a planned four-year voyage around the world that will begin in 2013.

"Your presence and your blessing and your words are so powerful," he told the Dalai Lama. To the crowd of gathered onlookers Thompson added, "The real question is, what are going to do with what we learned today?"

After blessing the Hokulea, the Dalai Lama met with reporters and repeated his call for the world’s citizens to pursue "inner peace."

He added that during his four-day visit in the islands, he learned the many meanings of "aloha."

"You need a lot of effort to implement the real meaning of aloha," he said. 

The blessing at Kualoa Park followed a talk at Kailua High School, where he spoke to a gym ful of students.

At Kailua High, the Dalai Lama’s message to students was simple: The "future is very much on your shoulders."

The Dalai Lama spoke for about an hour, drawing a number of laughs and roaring applause from Kailua High’s student body.

The appearance was not open to the public.

The Dalai Lama delivered a short speech to students before taking questions on everything from "Why is it so hard to be a good person?" to whether or not the world’s leaders can be trusted.

He told students that he and others of his age were members of the 20th century, and that today’s young people now have the responsibility of working for a happier future.

"My time almost ending," the Dalai Lama told students. "You," he said, pointing to the audience, "just beginning. You belong to the 21st century."

He added that a better future will not merely come to be, but will take work. "We must make preparation now to create better sort of society," he said.

During his speech, the Dalai Lama said, "I always feel very happy mixing with young people, the younger generation, because time always moving. No force can stop time. Past is gone … now future is still yet to come and here to some extent we can make new shape of the future. 

Students said they were honored for the opportunity to hear the Dalai Lama in person and to ask him questions.

Jeremiah Taleni, 16, presented the Dalai Lama with a paddle and with a peace quilt students made.

"It was an honor to actually touch him," he said, laughing. "The message was touching. If everyone took his message … this world would be a better place."

The Dalai Lama arrived in Hawaii on Friday, and delivered two public talks over the weekend.

From Hawaii, the Dalai Lama heads to San Diego, where he will make several public appearances to talk about climate change and peace.


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