Dalai Lama contributes to “I Have a Dream” speech commemorations

Among the myriad ways the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s enduring “I Have a Dream” speech is being commemorated today, two have included a known admirer of Dr. King’s steadfastly nonviolent approach to America’s civil rights struggle: His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

The BBC’s Radio 4 had prominent peace and human rights activists recite portions of the text, creating an accompanying video montage. The passage they chose for the Dalai Lama to read (it begins at 6:29 at the link) evokes a powerful resonance with the Tibetans’ own Buddhism-based struggle to achieve autonomy and civil liberties in their homeland:

“But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

“We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”

NBC News has solicited the thoughts of notable personalities and ordinary citizens about the speech under the hashtag “#dreamday”, asking for a statement that begins, “I have a dream that…” The Dalai Lama contributed this short video about education as a means to non-violence: