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 Lama opened with the remark that the key to peace lies
in non-violence and tolerance, which is a 7000-year-old tradition
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
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
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
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.
In 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
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
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
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.
E-Magazine, 15th April 2004
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,