GENEVA: The International Interfaith organised an “Inter-Cultural & Inter-Religious Forum” in Geneva in conjunction with the commemoration of the “International Day of Non-Violence” on 3 October. The invited panelists were Mukhtar B. Tileuberdi, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United Nations in Geneva, Abbot Geshe Thupten Legmen, Tibet Institute Rikon and Ms Clare Amos, programme executive (Inter-religious Dialogue & Cooperation, World Council of Churches). The forum was moderated by Dr Charles Graves, Secretary General of Interfaith International.
The forum began with screening of a documentary film on the early life of Mahatma Gandhi, whose birthday on 3 October is observed as the International Day of Non-Violence.
Kazakhstan Ambassador talked about his government’s initiatives on promotion of inter-cultural and religious dialogue nationally and internationally as well.
Ms Amos shared her 20 years of experience in Jerusalem. She also talked about works of St. Francis and reminds audience that 4 October is St. Francis Feast Day.
Abbot Geshe Thupten Legmen spoke on “Buddhist Perspective on Non-violence”. The abbot said that Tibetan Buddhist preaches same as in other major religion in the world about love, compassion and tolerance etc. With regard to violence, Tibetan Buddhists renounce any act of violence and considered lives of all living being precious. Thus, every living being including invisible micro germs should be treated with equal respect.
While referring to current turmoil around the world particularly in the Middle East, he said that we must recognise the root causes of violence. The violence cannot be resolved through violence whether in a family matter, government and community, he adds. Thus, it must be tackled through dialogue with mutual respect and in a peaceful way.
In order to create peaceful and better world, he suggests introducing programme of non-violence in school particularly targeting youth by choosing the best ideas being practiced in world. He urged everyone to join and work together in promoting non-violence whether it is individual, civil society and government.
He said he is a refugee living in India following Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1959.
He told the audience that His Holiness the Dalai Lama is committed to non-violence in resolving the Tibet problem with China following the path of great Indian freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi while in exile. In 1989, His Holiness the Dalai Lama received the world prestigious Nobel Peace Prize for his commitment to non-violence for liberation of Tibet from yoke of Chinese colonization.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama had set up a foundation called “Foundation for Universal Responsibility of H.H. the Dalai Lama. One of key functions of this foundation is to build a global ethic of nonviolence, coexistence and social change among others. His Holiness has authored many books on promotion of human values. He highlighted about some spoiled teenage youth who became good person after reading books of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Abbot Thupten Legmen concluded by urging everyone to make effort to eradicate poverty and work for world peace.
The round table discussion concluded after half an hour of interaction between panelists and audiences.