Heart-warming scenes were witnessed in Ladakh’s Leh district on Saturday when the Dalai Lama visited a temple, a church, a Sunni Mosque and a Shia Imam Bara (a place designated for religious congregational mourning), where he joined special prayers held for peace and brotherhood in the world.
A spokesman of the Dalai Lama said he visited the Jokhang Temple, Jamia Masjid, Shia Mosque and Moravian Church as part “of an interfaith pilgrimage in Leh, Ladakh”.
This is the first visit of the Dalai Lama to Ladakh since it was carved out as a Union Territory from J&K in 2019. This visit also comes in the backdrop of a growing military confrontation between India and China in the region since 2020.
The Dalai Lama was seen wearing a skull cap and eating from the hands of Muslim women as they welcomed him in local mosques. He was seen praying along with Muslim priests for global peace. He also expressed unhappiness over violence driven by religion and referred to Afghanistan as an example.
“One of my commitments is the promotion of religious harmony. All religions, whether theistic and non-theistic, have a message of compassion. These days and even in the past, sometimes because of different faiths, there are killings, which is sad and unbelievable. In our neighbourhood in Afghanistan, Sunnis and Shias are killing each other. It’s sad,” said the Dalai Lama.
He further said he joins prayers irrespective of the place being a mosque, church or temple “to promote religious harmony”. “I am happy to join Muslim brothers and sisters (in Leh),” the Dalai Lama said.
He said he left Tibet’s capital Lhasa many decades ago and came to India as a refugee. “With the sense of brotherhood here in India, I am very happy,” he added.
The Dalai Lama flagged the issue of global warming and termed it “serious”. “We have to live together, work together and help each other. Global warming is a real danger to human life. We can’t avoid it but need to remain with a genuine sense of brotherhood. There is no longer emphasis on my nation, my country or my political party. The entire humanity is facing the problem. We have to live with a sense of brotherhood and with universal responsibility,” he said.