DHARAMSHALA: His Holiness the Dalai Lama today called for respect and harmony among world’s different religious traditions at a teaching attended by over 6,000 devotees from 61 countries in Dharamsala. He is giving a three-day teaching on Shantideva’s “A Guide to the Boddhisattva’s Way of Life” at the request of a group of Southeast Asians.
The teaching began early this morning with the recitation of Sherab Nyingpo or Heart Sutra by over 450 Buddhist followers from Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Singapore and Laos.
In his introductory address His Holiness the Dalai Lama made a clarion call to the world’s different religious traditions to foster respect and harmony among themselves, saying that though they have different philosophies, all of them preach us to be good human beings and help for others’ wellbeing.
“The concept of one religion and one truth is not realistic in this world with over 7 billion people who follow diverse religious traditions,” Holiness said. “However, as one follows a particular religion according to one choice and disposition aiming to bring positive changes in mind, so it is very important to have the freedom to worship,” he added.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama recounted his first acquaintance with Muslim religion in his childhood days in Tibet’s capital Lhasa. “Though my country is a predominantly Buddhist region, I remember hundreds of Muslims co-exist with Tibetans and that the Fifth Dalai Lama provide lands for Muslims to build mosques in Tibet,” he said.
He said Tibetans came into contact with various other religions after coming into exile following China’s invasion of Tibet. “After learning that all religions, including Christianity and Hinduism, have same messages for us to practice positive values like love, compassion, morality, contentment, tolerance and helping for others’ wellbeing, I not only preach but also make practical efforts to promote inter-religious harmony.”
“The world also has a considerable number of people who don’t believe in religion and like the believers they too want happiness. So, it is very important to respect each other and practice warm-heartedness and morality, which are sources of happiness and peace of mind,” he said.
The live webcast of the teachings, with translations in English, Chinese and Vietnamese languages, can be viewed here.