Brand praises ‘amazing’ Dalai Lama

THE Dalai Lama and comedian Russell Brand formed an unlikely duo yesterday as an audience of youngsters was enlightened and entertained.

Brand, master of ceremonies at Manchester Arena where the Dalai Lama addressed several thousand youngsters on the theme Stand Up and Be The Change, said he found the Dalai Lama “amazing”.

The comic-turned-movie star had said before the event that he presumed he was asked to compere proceedings because they wanted him to be funny.

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He did not disappoint the crowd of mainly under-25s –who were given free entry – as he also hosted a question-and- answer session on stage and obviously created a good impression with the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.

At one point the Dalai Lama playfully tugged Brand’s beard on stage as the joker responded: “Not really a lot I can do in a situation like this. I just have to go with it.”

The Dalai Lama is on a 10-day tour of Britain with a mission to spread his Buddhist teachings of peace and understanding to youngsters. His visit to Scotland this week will include a private viewing of archived Tibetan material at the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh on Friday and a talk at the Usher Hall.

At yesterday’s event, the Dalai Lama said the future was in the hands of the young people who could make change happen. “The 21st century belongs to you,” he said. “My generation belongs to the 20th century, it has already gone so my generation are ready to say bye bye.”

Brand said the Dalai Lama was “intense and sort of mellow”.