His Holiness the Dalai Lama participates in interfaith service
Wednesday, 20 September 2006, 9:30 a.m.
|His Holiness the Dalai Lama is seen on a projection screen Monday as he speaks at an interfaith service at the University at Buffalo. (18 September)|
New York: The first public event featuring His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet during his landmark visit to Western New York was an interfaith service on Monday afternoon (18 September). His Holiness the Dalai Lama was joined by 14 local religious leaders from a wide range of beliefs including Christian faiths, Islam, Judaism, Hindu, Unitarian, Sikh, Haudenosaunee (representing the Six Nations of Native Americans in the region) as well as Zen and Tibetan Buddhism at the interfaith service.
With elements of pageantry in music, dance, and recitations, the service was intended to symbolize the diversity in culture and spiritual practice across the region.
|A picture of His Holiness the Dalai Lama hangs on a pole at the UB|
Appreciating the mixture of prayer and verse from many different traditions His Holiness the Dalai Lama said, “This is something very unique. “Almost like when the prayer went on, answers came from different directions, come to bless us, or something like that”, he added, smiling.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama said in reading through all of the passages that had been selected for readings during the service, some of which have come from traditions well over 1,000 years old, he was struck by how they all shared a common theme.
“A message of love, a message of peace, a message of contentment, a message of discipline, has come (from them), all meant for humanity,” he said.
He went on to explain one of the major tenants of Tibetan Buddhism, the hazards of attachment to material things, which can provide short term feelings of happiness and contentment, but would still have something missing.
|His Holiness greets the audience at the UB (19 September)|
“Almost like deceiving our sensory experiences, but deep inside, still something missing”, he said.
He said that was why the world’s religions and spiritual traditions still held an important role for humanity.
The spiritual leader of Tibet also said that while competition in the world was good in some aspects, he felt that too much competition between different beliefs lead to fear, stress, loneliness and some form of violence in most of the world as well as injustice and inequality.
“So, under such form of reality or circumstances, I think that teaching from different traditions are very, very helpful”, he said.
His Holiness also advised caution between different religious and spiritual traditions which sometimes cause the divisions that have often lead to the injustice and inequality that we all wished to avoid.
“So therefore, in one way, we need religions spiritually. On the other hand, sometimes religious faith also causes some problems, so therefore harmony among the different traditions is extremely important”, he said.
|His Holiness speaks at the UB as the UB president Mr. Simpson applauds (19 September)|
The efforts of the University of Buffalo showing this week have been geared towards that end, with a desire to bring a variety of religions and spiritual experiences and traditions together so that everyone, faculty, students, guests, and the larger community in Western New York might find ways to create the sort of harmony His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaks of across the world to the region.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama serves as a focal point for a variety of events and activities that are taking place at the U.B. North Campus this week including the creation of a sand Mandala by Tibetan monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery in India.
In the afternoon, His Holiness the Dalai Lama met with Chinese students and scholars, faculty members of the university and participated in the university’s distinguished speaker series on promoting peace across borders through education.
Before Tuesday’s (19 September) address, His Holiness the Dalai Lama accepted an honorary doctorate in humane letters, and wasted no time putting it to use. “So with that degree, perhaps I could make an appeal,” he said to UB President John Simpson and State University of New York Chancellor John Ryan about midway into his address. He asked that educators from kindergarten through college find ways to develop “warmheartedness or a compassionate heart.
“The modern education system doesn’t pay enough attention to the development of warmheartedness,” His Holiness told a crowd of about 30,000 on the second day of a three-day visit to the University at Buffalo.
A compiled report
(www.tibet.net is the official website of the Central Tibetan Administration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.)