(TibetanReview.net, Aug15, 2017) – Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, on Aug 13 took part in a seminar on ‘World Peace and Harmony through Interfaith Dialogue’ which was held at the National Sports Club of India Dome in India’s commercial capital Mumbai. He was joined by speakers from a number of other religious faiths, including Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Jainism, and Sikkism. The interfaith dialogue was led by Acharya Dr Lokesh Muni, who has dedicated his life to peace and harmony, bringing people together from across the country.
Prominent public figures who were reported to have attended the seminar included three ministers from the government of India: Mr Piyush Goyal, the Minister of State with Independent Charge for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines; Dr Harsh Vardhan who heads the Ministry of Science & Technology, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, and the Ministry of Earth Sciences; Mr Radha Mohan Singh, the Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, and Mr Narendra Singh Tomar, the minister for Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Drinking Water and Sanitation, Housing and Urban Affairs. Also present was Bollywood star Mr Vivek Oberoi in his capacity as a peace ambassador.
Mr Goyal, who was the first person to address the seminar, saluted the Dalai Lama as a “world-renowned spiritual leader we all look up to”.
Religious leaders from different faiths – Maulana Dr Kalbe Sadiq, Archbishop Felix Anthony Machado, Acharya Dr Lokesh Muni, Giani Gurbachan Singh, Swami Baba Ramdev, Jainacharya Namra Muni and many others – focused on the need for unity, truth, and harmony among the different religions and their common message on these issues.
Acharya Muni, in particular, spoke on the need to include instructions on peace and non-violence in the school curriculum as recommended by the Dalai Lama, while also suggesting that his message about resisting the urge to resort to violence be taken to places of conflict.
In his speech the Dalai Lama said that the time had come to accept that if we’re talking about peace in the world, we have to consider peace within ourselves. “Anger and jealousy are related to our sense of self-centredness and our disregard for others. Self-centredness easily gives rise to fear, which fosters irritation, which, when it blazes into anger, can provoke violence,” he said.
He also said, “In this country, ahimsa has, for thousands of years, characterized the path of action, but it is related to being motivated by karuna or compassion. On the one hand, if we have a self-centred attitude, an artificial smile and seek to deceive others with sweet words – that’s a kind of violence.”
But he also said, “When a parent or teacher, like my tutor, uses harsh words entirely out of concern for a child’s welfare, that’s non-violent.”
He therefore said, “The demarcation between violence and non-violence isn’t just about the nature of the action, it’s about motivation.”
He also spoke about the Tibetan Buddhism’s potential to contribute to peace in the world, while noting that this had its origin in India. He said: “As a Tibetan I am also concerned to preserve the knowledge that was first brought to Tibet in the 8th century by the master Shantarakshita. It reflects the traditions of Nalanda University that we have preserved and which Buddhists in the People’s Republic of China are increasingly coming to appreciate. India is our guru, and we have proved ourselves reliable chelas, because we have kept these traditions of philosophy, logic and understanding of the mind alive. Now, I’ve made a commitment to trying to revive this ancient knowledge in India, which I consider is the only country that could combine it with a modern approach to education.”
The seminar ended with the Dalai Lama having lunch with the participating spiritual leaders.