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  Lecture by the Dalai Lama at the Sathya Sai International Centre in Delhi on 3rd January 2004

News from Sri Sathya Sai International Center

The Sri Sathya Sai International Centre in Delhi began the New Year with a lecture on 3rd January, by the Dalai Lama. Lt. Gen.Dr.M.L.Chibber, Director of the Centre welcomed the Guest of Honour and Dr. Karan Singh, eminent philosopher-statesman, who presided over the function. The auditorium was packed to capacity, even though it was one of the coldest days of this winter. His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke for 45 minutes, after which Dr. Karan Singh, delivered his presidential remarks.

The Dalai LamaThe Dalai Lama opened with the remark that the key to peace lies in non-violence and tolerance, which is a 7000-year-old tradition in India.

We can have peace only if we are able to bring about an attitude of respect for religions, faiths and belief systems other than our own. There is an interesting fact to be noted about the great world religions. At the level of philosophy there might be apparent differences among them; but at the level of practice there is no difference.

When we study the ethics or the practice advocated by the various faiths, there is not much difference. They all believe in certain core human values like Truth, Non-violence, Compassion, Love and Peace. One of the important values is Truth. Truth lies in perceiving Reality as it is. Reality can be experienced in its fullness, only if one harbours positive emotions and not negative emotions.

It would not be correct to say that we should have no emotions. A person without emotions is a person without feeling. He is apt to be dry, distant, cold, friendless, negative and vicious. The important thing is not to harbour negative emotions.

Negative emotions are emotions that are immature, narrow and cloudy. For example, attachment and hatred are two such negative emotions. When a person sees the world through the prism of attachment, he would conclude that whatever he does is 100% right. And when he sees someone else through the prism of hate, he would conclude that whatever the other person does is 100% wrong. Nothing in Nature is 100% right or wrong. Such a perception is merely a mental projection, that distorts our appreciation of Reality, creating more problems.

Positive emotions are mature emotions because here emotion is combined with intelligence. The application of intelligence leads to analysis and investigation. Analysis leads to conviction. The disciplining of emotion leads to a holistic vision of Reality. Everything is interconnected. If one fails to see the interconnectedness and interdependence, then it is a distorted vision. Examples of positive emotions are faith and Compassion, which can be imbibed only through a training of emotions.

Knowledge leads to conviction. Conviction leads to determination. Determination leads to familiarization. Familiarization leads to change of emotion. The main attempt must be have a clear vision so that we can see Reality as it truly is. Only then can we solve the problems of life.

Cultivation of positive and noble emotions leads one towards Compassion, Contentment, Forgiveness and Self-discipline, in turn producing a calmness of Mind. When there are no ripples in the Mind, it remains clear in its vision of Reality. It sees a problem as it really is and is able to solve it easily. Problems would then be unable to disturb Peace of Mind. But if the Mind is weak, if it is assailed by fear and doubt or too much of unbridled emotion, it would find it difficult to face the arduous problems of life.

Life is bound to be full of problems. Even if there are no other problems, one's own body suffers from the problems of illness, decay and death. If problems are an integral part of our existence, we have to be fully prepared to face these with calmness, placidity and fortitude.

In this process of nurturing your inner self, it helps if you continue to remain in the spiritual and religious tradition in which you have been born. I am happy to see that Sathya Sai Baba has said that his mission is not to convert people to other traditions. He would like a Buddhist to be a better Buddhist, a Muslim to be a better Muslim and a Hindu to be a better Hindu.

One should be serious and sincere towards one's own faith. This generates a calm atmosphere both in the individual and the society. Our inner experiences reach a deeper dimension.

Quite often, I get the feeling that I am reciting verses that were taught to me by my mother and teacher in my childhood. On certain days, it seems to me that I am reciting the verses by rote and not with my full heart and soul in it. The recitation then becomes something of a burden. But later I realize that such daily practice, although it appears to be monotonous and repetitive, it silently and effortlessly builds my inner resources and strength and help me to become a true follower of the Buddha.

In this audience there is a plurality of faiths. This reality has to be accepted. India has always believed in ahimsa in terms of acceptance of other faiths. Gandhiji is a great example of inter-religious harmony. He was a staunch Hindu, but he had a deep respect for other faiths.

Buddha was also a true Indian in this sense. He studied the faiths prevalent in India in his time and practised a number of Hindu paths. After his enlightenment, he taught the four noble truths. Buddha's philosophy of interdependence is his unique contribution to world philosophy. The concept of interdependence is equally true in the fields of economy, politics, defence and so on. This gives a wider, holistic picture of any problem and brings us closer to reality.

Buddha believed in the human value of truth. He exhorted his followers to follow the truth. When he enunciated the four noble truths, he also analyzed the cause of suffering. His conclusion was that all suffering was due to ignorance. He accepted the practice of Samadhi. He also innovated the vipassana system, which can be a very effective method for reducing attachment. He had great respect for the other traditions.

This ideal of religious tolerance is still alive in India at the village level. There the followers of different faiths have lived together in peace and harmony for the last several centuries. Multi- culturalism and religious tolerance is practised in their daily lives.

It is only in recent times that some politicians have created problems due to their low level of awareness. They have too much attachment, which leads to a narrowness of vision and a kind of shortsightedness. It is important that these few people are not allowed to destroy the rich 7000-year-old tradition of tolerance and harmony. We can all live together and work together at individual and community levels.

Shri Karan SinghIn his presidential address, Dr. Karan described the Dalai Lama as a unique combination of a natural sense of humour, compassion, wisdom, and an infectious childlike laugh. He demonstrated by his living example that Spirituality did not necessarily mean a prissy, acidic outlook on life. On the other hand, Spiritually-advanced souls were full of Ananda, which often bubbled over into their conversation.

The Dalai Lama was also the epitome of Compassion. Compassion was the essence of Buddhism. He had deep insight into the nature of the world and man. He had nurtured Tibetan Diaspora all over the world and helped them to organize themselves into dynamic communities.

But apart from being the apostle of Tibetan Buddhism, he had taken the Message of Love, Compassion and Peace to the people of the world. He could be described as a great Warrior of Peace. His services to the world community had been recognized through the award of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Today the world was divided and split apart by fanaticism, hatred and war. Against these demonic forces, we were sorely in need of a countervailing coalition for Peace, led by personalities like Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and the Dalai Lama.

In order to strengthen the forces of Peace, it was necessary to first accept the fundamental fact that no religion could claim a monopoly on Truth. Nor could we wage wars, crusades and religious conflicts in the twenty-first century, in order to compel others to adopt our point of view. Today, war meant a nuclear conflict, which could easily result in the disappearance of humanity from the face of the globe. We find ourselves in an imperfect world and we have perforce to learn the art of living together in peace and harmony.

India had always nurtured religious harmony through the ages. Our seers had declared long ago that Truth was One and the sages simply called it by different names. We needed to remember these insights that had served this country through the millennia of its existence.

Describing the discourse of the Dalai Lama as illuminating, Dr. Karan Singh expressed his happiness at the large presence of young people in the audience. With so much of misinformation around, it was refreshing to drink from a healing spring of knowledge, insight and wisdom.


Source: Radio Sai E-Magazine, 15th April 2004
http://www.radiosai.org/Journals/Vol_02/08April15/11_News/news.htm


Dalai Lama giving a discourse on Human Values at a function organised by Sathya Sai International Centre

Dalai Lama giving a discourse on Human Values at a function organised by Sathya Sai International Centre for Study and Research in Human Values in the Capital on Saturday. 
Photo by Kamal Singh

Photo of His Holiness the Dalai Lama giving a discourse on Human Values at a function organised by Sathya Sai International Centre for Study and Research in Human Values in the Capital on Saturday January 3, 2004
http://www.tribuneindia.com/2004/20040104/ncr.htm
Photo copyright www.tribuneindia.com

 

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