The Dalai Lama kicked off his four-day visit to Portland, Oregon on Thursday by talking about his first understandings of pollution.
The 77-year-old Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader sold out two events at the University of Portland and was in the city for an interfaith discussion on spirituality and the environment.
"I was in Tibet until my age was 24. I think Tibet, some people call it the roof of the world, It was very clean, a small population, everything simple," the Nobel Peace laureate said. "Only after I came to India (did) I first hear, 'This water, you cannot drink.' I was very surprised...In Tibet, passing through waters, by a stream, we always enjoy. No problem. Then I began to learn."
He said that led to his environmental education and his conviction that people, whether spiritual or not, must act to protect the earth, The Oregonian reported (http://bit.ly/131eo9B ).
His views were shared by other religious leaders on stage.
"We are all water babies," said Grandmother Agnes Baker Pilgrim of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz.
"We came to this world in water. Laughter may be your cheapest medicine," she told the crowd, "but your best and first medicine is water. Guard it with your life. Without it, we can't live."
By the afternoon, the Dalai Lama talked about mothers and violence.
"I always stress the oneness of human beings," he said. "Most of the conflicts we face are of our own creation." But he also believes that deep down, human beings may be different, depending on their childhood experiences.
"Those children who received maximum affection from their own mothers, less fear, less sort of distrust in them," he said. "Insecurity creates fear that very much affects us."
He is scheduled to deliver a lecture at the University of Oregon on Friday and another speech Saturday in Portland.