Mumbai: Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Sunday extolled secularism practised in India and emphasised that India’s example of peaceful existence of different religions in the country should be followed all over the world.
“Wherever I go, I tell people that with regard to religious harmony, India is a living example that religious traditions can live together in peace and respect,” the Tibetan leader told an audience of over 4000.
He said it’s unthinkable that religious faith should be a source of conflict. However, there are places now where conflict takes place within the same faith—between Sunni and Shia traditions for example—something not seen in India.
“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. On the other, 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 further emphasised the learning of ancient Indian knowledge and its relevance today. “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 Buddhist leader said.
“If education paid more attention to the ancient Indian knowledge of the workings of the mind and emotions, we’d learn how to achieve peace of mind. We’ve been working with education experts and scientists to draw up a curriculum to implement this from kindergarten to university. We propose to do this on a secular basis—secular meaning not only respect for all religious traditions without bias, but even respect for the views of those who have no belief. If India can combine modern education with ancient Indian knowledge, she can make a significant contribution to the well-being of all 7 billion human beings.”
In a lighter moment during the program, His Holiness held Baba Ramdev’s beard in a playful manner and poked his midriff as the latter touched His Holiness’ feet to seek blessings.
Other religious leaders who spoke at the conclave were Maulana Dr. Kalbe Sadiq, Archbishop Felix Anthony Machado , Acharya Dr. Lokesh Muni , Giani Gurbachan Singh, Swami Baba Ramdev, Jainacharya Namra Muni and many others.
Key figures present were Union Minister for Agriculture and Panchayat Raj, Union Minister for Science & Technology; Environment, Forest and Climate Change; as well as Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan and Indian actor, Vivek Oberoi.
His Holiness and the several spiritual leaders ate lunch together in a cordial display of friendship before formally concluding the conclave.