Dalai Lama, at famed Mayo, touts compassion's role in health

The Dalai Lama on Monday during a visit to Minnesota said that love, forgiveness and tolerance can help the body heal.

The religious leader spoke to about 300 clinic employees after a routine medical examination at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

"If the mind is dominated by negative emotions," he said, "then there is no possibility to develop compassion, kindness, forgiveness and tolerance" and the resulting peace of mind those virtues bring, he said.

Dressed in a deep red robe, the Dalai Lama walked into the Mayo meeting hall to silence, greeting people in the front row with clasped hands and bows.

The day before, the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize winner spoke in Minneapolis to many of the 1,500 Tibetan refugees in Minnesota. Minnesota has the largest Tibetan refugee community in the United States outside of New York.

The Dalai Lama has lived in exile since 1959, when Chinese communist forces invaded Tibet. Recently, he has said he wants to make a pilgrimage to China, which has long rejected his demands for Tibetan independence.

On Monday, he mostly avoided politics, answering a handful of questions from a moderator after his speech. He did not field questions from the audience or reporters.

Besides drawing attention to Tibet, the Dalai Lama said he was committed to two other tenets: secular ethics, by which he means a tolerance of all religions, and religious harmony.

Before visiting Minnesota, he met with Muslim leaders in California, mentioning that visit as a way of offering a prediction: While the 20th century was marked by war, he said, the 21st century may be marked by dialogue between people of different religions and creeds, reports AP.

O.Ch.