NEW DELHI: The Dalai Lama on Saturday offered India as a model of religious harmony and asked the heads of all the faiths to rise above dogmas to reach out to human beings.
“India is an illustrious example of human values and religious harmony. Positive human values and ethical principles have been cultivated here for thousands of years… It is the only country where all major religions live together; not only in modern times but over 1,000 years,” the Dalai Lama said here.
The Tibetan leader has brought together representatives of nine major religions for a two-day meeting of the diverse spiritual traditions of India.
He said conflicts around the world are created by the people themselves and it is they who would have to end it instead of seeking divine intervention. Any killing in the name of religion is condemnable and there is no justification for fights over faith, he added.
Referring to Islamist terrorists engaging in violence in the name of jihad, he said that the concept of jihad was being “misused” by them as he had learnt that the holy term connoted a fight against one’s own impurities.
He said Indian Muslims can offer lessons in Sunni-Shia harmony as Shias, who are a minority sect of Islam, appear safer in India than in a Muslim country like Pakistan.
The Dalai Lama also expressed concern about violence in Myanmar, where Muslims have been targeted by radical Buddhist groups.
He said that the particular beliefs of the followers of a religion was a “private issue” and what was more important is for us to realise that we depend on others for our survival and therefore should build relations of trust and harmony.
The inter-faith conclave was earlier scheduled to start from Friday, organisers said, but was postponed by a day in view with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to India. The Chinese leader left yesterday.