The 11th Panchen Lama, the religious leader of Tibetan Buddhism, made his public debut outside the Chinese mainland Thursday at the opening ceremony of the third World Buddhist Forum in Hong Kong.
Materialistic science and technology are valued above the science of the mind, said the Panchen Lama.
"Sins are spreading and (spiritual) corruption has become rampant. The body loses balance and the environment is tainted."
He said greed had "unbalanced the ecosystem, contaminated the environment, caused natural disasters, spread epidemics, induced wars and hence endangered all sentient beings now and in the future."
"We should work toward an organic synergy of 'science of the mind' and 'material technology,' as it would contribute to global peace, social harmony, and cultural development," the Panchen Lama added.
"This was the first time the Panchen Lama delivered a speech outside the mainland, advocating world peace and representing the voice of Chinese Buddhism," said Xu Zhitao, an official with the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee.
Kuan Yun, director of the forum's organizing committee and a board member of the Hong Kong Buddhist Association, told the Global Times the Panchen Lama's speech won applause from the audience.
"The speech indicated the rampant sins in society as a result of the desire for material wealth, which reflects the real problems in the contemporary world. It shows his understanding of the Buddhist doctrines."
"Before, many Hongkongers saw the Panchen Lama as a mysterious figure, but today he really impressed us with his charisma," he added.
The 22-year-old Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu, whose secular name is Gyaencaen Norbu, was officially recognized as the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama in 1995.
The Panchen Lama spoke in Tibetan when he made his debut on the world stage at the first World Buddhist Forum in Zhejiang Province in 2006 and in English at the second in Jiangsu Province in 2009.
The World Buddhist Forum is held every three years, aiming to build an equal and open platform for high-level dialogues in the world of Buddhism.
This year's forum has drawn more than 1,000 Buddhist monks and scholars from over 50 countries and regions.
China's top political advisor Jia Qinglin and UN chief Ban Ki-moon both sent letters to the forum, speaking highly of its role in helping spread peace.
As the Panchen Lama made his first public appearance outside the mainland, the Dalai Lama appeared Wednesday on CNN, saying that the dozens of reported self-immolations by Tibetans in recent months are "extremely sad."
In previous remarks, the Dalai Lama had publicly applauded the "courage" of those who died or were injured in a string of self-immolations in Tibetan regions in Sichuan, Qinghai and Gansu provinces.
Wu Zegang, chief of the Aba Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, the major region that witnessed the self-immolations, said last month that similarities found in the self-immolations have pointed to behind-the-scenes orchestration with an apparent political motive by the Dalai clique.
"The Dalai Lama always uses Buddhism as a disguise for his attempts to split China. They want to let Tibet fall back into serfdom to secure their own privilege," Xiong Kunxin, a professor with the Minzu University of China, told the Global Times.