Mon, Nov 19, 2007 - Page 5 News List

Dalai Lama pays respect at Shinto shrine in Japan

PILGRIMAGE During his stay, the spiritual leader will address public forums and schools, but has not scheduled any meetings with government officials

AP AND AFP , TOKYO AND ISE, JAPAN

The Dalai Lama, third left, bows to a Shinto priest as he visits the Ise Shrine, Japan's grand shrine in Ise city in Mie Prefecture, yesterday.

PHOTO: AFP

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama paid a visit to Japan's holiest Shinto shrine of Ise, western Japan, yesterday as part of his effort to harmonize the world's religions.

The Nobel laureate, who arrived in Japan on Thursday for a 10-day stay, made his second pilgrimage to the Ise Shrine complex dedicated to the sun goddess Amaterasu Omikami, mythical ancestor of the imperial family.

Escorted by the chief priest of the shrine, the maroon-robed Tibetan bowed twice at the main shrine and purified himself with water from a small river inside the site in accordance with Japanese tradition.

The Dalai Lama said the visit was part of his long-established practice of making trips to religious buildings and holy places around the world.

"Wherever I go, if time permits, I always pay my respect or pilgrimage to all different religious ... temples," said the Dalai Lama, who first visited the shrine in 2003.

"I've fully committed promotion of religious harmony," he said on Saturday ahead of attending a religious forum here.

He reiterated on Saturday that autonomy from China was all he was asking for, not independence, and refused to accept Beijing's allegation that he is a "separatist," Japanese media reported.

The Dalai Lama is scheduled to attend a Buddhist conference in Yokohama and visit a high school in Tokyo visit, his Tokyo office said.

He has no plan to meet government officials, as they allowed his trip on the condition he did not engage in political activities.

The Dalai Lama said if he dies in exile, his successor would appear anywhere but China in order to keep his mission alive.

His visit to Japan is scheduled to end on Friday.

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