H. H. Dalai Lama Emphasizing Religious Harmony
Luglio 28th, 2016 by admin

Pilgrimage Emphasizing Religious Harmony

Leh, Ladakh, J&K, India, 27 July 2016 – After a full day of rest yesterday, His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived at the main market of Leh in the morning where a crowd of hundreds were waiting to catch a glimpse of him. As part of a beautification project of Leh Market, the main road running through the market had been closed to vehicular traffic and only open to pedestrians. People vied for His Holiness’ attention while he walked the 50 meters to the Jokhang Temple.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama conveying his deep condolences to a tourist from Nice over the tragedy that struck France on his way to the Jokhang in Leh, Ladakh, J&K, India on July 27, 2016. Photot/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL

En route, His Holiness blessed several old Ladakhis and greeted tourists. A foreign tourist held out his hands and greeted His Holiness and informed him that he was from Nice, France. His Holiness conveyed his deep condolences to the people of Nice and France in general over the recent tragedy that struck his city. He said that we must all make efforts to build a peaceful world and that prayer alone would not achieve this goal.

On entering the courtyard of the Jokhang Temple, His Holiness was escorted by the Presidents and office-bearers of the Ladakh Buddhist Association, the Ladakh Buddhist Youth Association and the Ladakh Buddhist Women’s Association. His Holiness blessed the traditional Ladakhi drummers. Inside the Temple, Thiksey Rinpoche, the Chief Executive Councilor Dr. Sonam Dawa, MLA Nawang Rigzin Jora, other political leaders, and members of the General Council of the Ladakh Buddhist Association were waiting to receive His Holiness.

After taking his seat, His Holiness led the gathering with an opening prayer In Praise of the Buddha. This was followed by prayer reading of Tsongkhapa’s In Praise of Dependent Origination (tendrel toepa) and His Holiness’ Prayer for the Spread of Ecumenical Teachings of the Buddha (rimey tengye monlam).

His Holiness the Dalai Lama leading prayers during his pilgrimage to the Jokhang in Leh, Ladakh, J&K, India on July 27, 2016. Photot/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL

In his opening remarks, His Holiness said that whenever he visits Tibetan Temples, he advises Tibetans to not only use the Temples as places of worship but to make them centers of learning. It was important to introduce the philosophy and teachings of the Buddha. Knowledge of Buddhism was essential to be a complete Buddhist. Likewise, His Holiness urged the Ladakhis to ensure that the Jokhang Temple should also become a center of learning.

His Holiness noted that in the report of the Ladakh Buddhist Association that was presented to him, Muslims from Kargil had been invited to the Jokhang for a religious exchange. His Holiness praised this effort. He advised the responsible persons that occasionally during some religious holidays, it would be good to organize seminars and discussions among Buddhists, practitioners of different faiths, and even non-believers. He praised India’s thousand year old tradition of religious harmony. It was now very important to show to the rest of the world India’s example of religious harmony.

In the present world, in places like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, there was much violence and killing in the name of religion. As believers, it is morally wrong to remain indifferent to this suffering. His Holiness stressed that everyone had a responsibility in promoting more understanding among different religious traditions which could then lead to a more peaceful world.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the Sunni Mosque in Leh, Ladakh, J&K, India on July 27, 2016.
Photot/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL

Departing from the Jokhang Temple, His Holiness walked another 50 meters to the Sunni Mosque built in 1666-67 under an agreement by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and local Ladakhi King Deldan Namgyal. He was received at the footsteps of the Mosque by the President and other leaders of the Sunni Community. After entering the prayer hall, the Sunni cleric led the gathering in prayer before His Holiness took his seat.

Another 200 meters down the road, His Holiness made the last leg of his pilgrimage, visiting the Shia Mosque where he was received by the President of the Shia community and a number of Shia clerics. Besides members of the Shia community, representatives from the Sunni and Buddhist communities also joined the gathering  in the prayer hall.

The Shia President informed the audience that this was His Holiness’ third visit to the mosque. In his comments, the President said that the world was facing the challenge of terrorism in the name of religion, which was very unfortunate for humanity and must be condemned. He pointed out that a few ideologists were using the name of Islam to carry out these terrorist acts and that this was incorrect.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the Shia Mosque in Leh, Ladakh, J&K, India on July 27, 2016.
Photot/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL

In his remarks to both the communities, His Holiness related how during the Fifth Dalai Lama’s time, land was given to a group of Ladakhi Muslim traders for them to build a mosque. This marked the establishment of the Tibetan Muslim community. Since then, at all Tibetan government functions representatives of the Tibetan Muslim community participated. They were a very religious community characterized by their gentleness and peacefulness. There were no records of quarrel among them. They always had beautiful stories to share. They were true followers of Islam.

His Holiness then reflected how in the past there was immense suffering as a result of World War 1 and 2. Many people were killed. Now at this very moment, on this same planet, there are thousands of people being killed and many facing starvation. However, His Holiness was encouraged to learn from scientists that basic human nature was compassionate. If basic human nature were destructive then there would be no use in trying to promote compassion but this was not the case.

His Holiness stressed that all seven billion human beings in the world wanted happiness. In this regard, all major world religions emphasized the practice of love compassion, forgiveness and tolerance. Religion should not be a source of division and conflict. It was important to remember the concept of one truth, one religion on the level of an individual. And several truths, several religions on the level of the community.

Explaining the need for diversity of religions, His Holiness said,

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the Shia Mosque in Leh, Ladakh, J&K, India on July 27, 2016.
Photot/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL

Different philosophies are necessary. For well over two thousand years, different ways of life developed. Great teachers appeared and taught the message of love. But because of different environment, there were different ways of life. So there are different mental dispositions. Therefore it is necessary to have different philosophical views”.

He went on to explain that the Middle East had Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, which came from the same Abrahamic family of religions. India had Sankhya, Hinduism, Jain and Buddhism. Different philosophies were simply different methods to bring conviction about the importance of love. Each had their own powerful ways to practice love.

In discussing Islam, His Holiness expressed how he learned from his Muslim friends that the real practice of Islam is the practice of love. A genuine Muslim practitioner must extend his love to all creatures of Allah. Likewise, a genuine Buddhist must extend his love to all sentient beings. Despite different philosophical views, both had the same aim, the same goal.

Touching on conflict within the Muslim community, His Holiness said,

It is very unfortunate to see that in many Muslim countries there is conflict between Shias and Sunnis. This is very sad, especially since religion was the source of this conflict. It is important to remember that Shias and Sunnis are followers of the same Prophet Muhammad. Both study the Koran and pray five times a day. They should put aside their small differences and remember that they are practitioners of the same faith”.

Members of the Shia community listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking during his pilgrimage to the Shia Mosque in Leh, Ladakh, J&K, India on July 27, 2016.
Photot/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL

His Holiness pointed out how unfortunate it was these days that many terrorist attacks were being blamed on the Muslim community. He emphasized the need for all of us to change this kind of attitude. There will always be mischievous people in every community, whether Buddhist, Jewish, Christian or Muslim.

His Holiness stated that we must be careful and not use the term Muslim terrorist or Buddhist terrorist. Once a believer commits an act of terror he or she is no longer a true practitioner of their faith. In explaining to His Holiness the term ‘jihad’, a Muslim cleric defined it as combatting one’s destructive emotions, not harming other people. So there was sufficient reason to explain that practitioners of Islam were practitioners of love.

On his part, His Holiness said that he has been making efforts since September 11 in defending Islam and explaining that Islam is an important religion of the world. The essence of Islam was the practice of love.

On his return, His Holiness was greeted by large crowds along the roadside which had swelled in the thousands.

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