A culture of kindness

Talking peace The Dalai Lama

Talking peace The Dalai Lama  

The Dalai Lama gave a talk on objective thinking and compassion to an enthralled audience the other day

“Brothers and sisters, I have been talking all morning and afternoon in my last two days in Delhi. So, silent meditation may be better,” said Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, flooding the auditorium with a wave of laughter. A few minutes earlier, revered silence in standing attention and palms joined in obeisance, punctuated with overlapping clicks of a dozen camera shutters had greeted his Holiness. “I’ve never heard him live before. So I decided to postpone my Sunday shopping,” said an official of the U.S. Embassy. “We have been nominated by the Mongolian Embassy to hear His Holiness,” said Bolormaa and Ertenetsog, working as senior officials in their country, now on a project with the ICAI, Delhi.

“You (Indians) have more reason to consider Tibet part of your country. Buddha, being born in Bharat was an Indian. And Lord Shiva’s abode is in Kailash, Tibet,” he went on, breaking into rasping chuckles.

The occasion was the silver jubilee anniversary of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). The subject of the Dalai Lama’s address was predictably the message of objective thinking and compassion. Destructive thinking blanks the mind, whereas compassion builds inner strength and hence mutual trust.

In its first few months a child needs care, unlike turtles. Likewise, surrounded by near and dear ones in the final hours prior to his death, a man dies happier. Whether in humans or elephants, in birth or in death, or between doctor and patient, compassion is basic, advised the Dalai Lama, in stop-start flow, as his disciple helped him out on the odd occasion by supplying the precise word.

Two poles

Why is it that apostles of non violence like Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King are fated to confront brutal violence?

“Of course. If there had been no violence, there would have been no need for non violence. Non violence is a special need to for violence,” was his reply to a question.

What about a woman as the next Dalai Lama? “When education developed, male dominance ebbed. Now, mere intellect is not enough. Compassion (warm-heartedness) is important, which women demonstrate. Hence women must take more active part.”

“From your earlier advocacy of a free Tibet, you are now talking about a middle path. So what happens to the hope of Tibetan Buddhist heritage?” one questioner wanted to know.

“Today Tibetan Buddhism is the biggest threat to Chinese dominance. We have asked the Chinese for meaningful autonomy. Regarding complete separation — earlier each nation could manage themselves. Today, common interest is more important than autonomy, for example, the European Union. My middle path started in early ’50s during my interaction with Mao, whom I regarded highly. But around 1956-57, the whole thinking became Leftist which started the problem,” he replied.

Dr. Karan Singh, President, Indian Council for Cultural Relations, highlighted the talk of World Peace and Heritage — both tangibles and intangibles. Young Christians in a Red USSR in 1990 celebrated the 1000th anniversary of Christianity. Cambodia reinstated Buddhism. And here, Dr. Singh concluded with a verse in Sanskrit, in the presence of a Head of Buddhist faith in a gathering of a trans-national audience at — guess what — the India Islamic Cultural Centre.


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