(TibetanReview.net, Jan15, 2015) – Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, on Jan 13 spoke at the Presidency University in Kolkata, capital of the Indian state of West Bengal, with the topic being ‘A Human Approach to World Peace’. In her address to the gathering, Ms Anuradha Lohia, the 200-year-old university’s Vice Chancellor, called the Dalai Lama an extraordinarily human being, an embodiment of wisdom and compassion, joined on stage also by the state’s education minister Mr Partha Chatterjee.
The Dalai Lama said that ahimsa, the core of his talk, although an ancient concept, “remains keenly relevant today and there is something appropriate about an elderly person, nearly eighty years old, speaking about something ancient at this oldest of universities.”
The Dalai Lama said all human being desired to be happy and had the same potential and right to fulfil it and that this was sustained by hope. “When we lose hope it can shorten our lives and in the worst case induce us to commit suicide, which is a terrible outcome.”
He said no matter how desperate things may seem, there is always a hopeful aspect to be found if we assess the situation from a wider perspective. “Even religion, he added, “is intended to make us happy. Nobody is religious in order to be miserable.”
The Dalai Lama also said that religion alone cannot address the moral crises the world faces today. Rather, he said, “what we need today is to adopt an approach akin to India’s more than three thousand year tradition of secular practice that views those with religious faith and those with none with equal respect.”
And he added that the key to peace of mind today is not necessarily religion but secular ethics. He informed the audience that he was looking forward to meeting scientists in the USA next month to finalise a draft curriculum for introducing secular ethics in a secular school system.
Later in the afternoon, the Dalai Lama addressed members and guests of the Merchants Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Kolkata chapter, on the Meaning and Purpose of Education. The West Bengal Minister of State for Education, Mr Partha Chatterjee, was again among the guests, as were students from the St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata.