(TibetanReview.net, Jun13, 2015) – Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, on Jun 11 joined several hundred Bahais, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians to pray for world peace in the Cathedral of St. Stephen in the Australian city of Brisbane, Queensland. Welcoming him before a packed congregation, the Archbishop of Brisbane, the Most Reverend Mark Coleridge, described the Dalai Lama as someone able to speak across cultures, someone who has known sorrow yet spreads happiness.
In his remarks, the Dalai Lama noted that almost all the world’s major religious traditions were represented at the gathering, “so this event confirms one of my own commitments to promote inter-religious harmony”.
He then also told the gathering: “all our religious traditions, despite their philosophical differences, which are only different methods for encouraging the growth of love, can contribute to creating a happy humanity, starting with happy individuals, families and communities. Here in the 21st century we face a number of problems that we have created and which we have to solve. And we have to employ warm-heartedness, not resorting to force, to make a peaceful world.”
Associate Professor Mahamad Abdalla, Imam at Kuraby Mosque, thanked the Dalai Lama for his words about peace, forgiveness and tolerance, saying that religious harmony was needed more than ever today.
And then, one by one, representatives from other faiths came forward to speak and pray. Dr Janet Khan spoke on behalf of the Baha’i Tradition. Three monks, Venerables Pilimanthalawe Samahitha Thero, Ihalagonagama Nanda Thero, and Aluthgamgoda Gnanaweera Thero from Theravada Buddhism from Sri Lanka chanted words of refuge in Pali. Mr Surendra Prasad intoned Sanskrit verses before saying a prayer in English from the Hindu Tradition. Mr Ariel Heber said prayers on behalf of the Jewish Tradition, while Venerable Chueh Shan spoke and then chanted in Chinese to represent the Mahayana Buddhist Tradition. Associate Professor Mahamad Abdalla pronounced prayers in Arabic and English from the Islamic Tradition. Mr Ranjit Singh prayed and sang from the Sikh scriptures. Finally, the Most Reverend Dr Phillip Aspinall, Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane, invoked the blessings of Jesus Christ in his prayers for peace.
Finally, Monsignor Peter Meneely uttered concluding prayers and words of thanks not only to the spiritual leaders who attended, but also to the civic leaders, the Governor of Queensland among them.
Earlier in the day, the Dalai Lama addressed a gathering of about 300 members of the Tibetan, Bhutanese and Mongolian communities residing in Brisbane in the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. He then gave a teaching on the ‘Precious Garland of Advice for a King’ by Nagarjuna to a gathering of more than 2,500 devotees.