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The Dalai Lama celebrates ubuntu the philosophy learned from his 'dear friend' Desmond Tutu

By: stagedoorscribbler - July 3, 2017

Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Photograph by Hattie Miles

When the Dalai Lama takes the stage at a three-day event in Botswana next month ubuntu - the South African philosophy of connected humanity that he learnt from his friend Desmond Tutu - will be at the forefront of his mind.

Indeed the event in Gaborone is described as “an international celebration of Ubuntu”. Running from August 17 to 19 it will find the Tibetan Buddhist leader rubbing shoulders with several big names connected with Africa’s struggle for truth and reconciliation.

It is sponsored by the US-based Mind and Life Institute to promote collaboration between "contemplative practices", such as Buddhism, and the world of science. A celebration of what, given the right circumstances and attitude, humans can achieve together.

Mind Life Institute spokesman Donald Cottreau, has praised Botswana for opening its doors to the Dalai Lama. Several previous attempts to obtain a visa for South Africa had been rejected because it might have offended China. 

Quoted in South Africa’s Times Live, Cottreau says: "Africa has something very important to share with the world in ubuntu and the Dalai Lama wants to participate in the process of understanding and sharing that  important wisdom.” 

The Dalai Lama says he learnt about ubuntu - "I am, because you are" - from his  “dear friend”  Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Ubuntu has been successfully used on many occasions to create meaningful discussion and understanding between conflicting factions. It is currently being utilised by the Tutu Foundation UK  in discussions between the police and youth groups in areas of inner city tension and gang related violence in London’s crime hot-spots.

*Clive Conway is chair of the Tutu Foundation UK 

Read the Times Live piece here: