July 8, 2009
His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, on his 74th birthday celebration on Monday [July 6] said he is promoting secular values and different philosophy of humanities as preached by Mahatma Gandhi when travelling to different countries rather than propagating Buddhism.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama also echoed the secular thoughts of Gandhi, saying secularism doesn't mean rejection of religion but it means respect for religion and even respect for non-believers.
"When I visited different countries in these years, I have not promoted or propagated Buddhism as said by many, but harmony, humanity and spirituality," His Holiness said on the occasion, which also marks the 50 years of his Holiness in India.
"I am promoting secular values, message of love, compassion, dignity, spirit of common values and harmony as has been promoted by great thinkers," His Holiness said.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama also said that Buddhism is not only about reciting from scriptures and practicing it, but getting into the principals of the religion and the value it promotes.
"We have to make Buddhism relevant in our life ...and why it is not much relevant (is) due to lack of knowledge," His Holiness said.
Commenting on the socio-religious changes Tibet is undergoing, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said "the region is passing through difficult times and Buddhism is not being promoted in the way it used to be before."
"There is a steady depletion of the religion and our aim is to preserve and promote the religion. We need to work in the direction to strengthen Buddhism in Tibet and all over the Himalayan nations," His Holiness said.
Looking back at his 50 years in India, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said "my life has not been a "waste" and I got chances to learn from religious leaders, scientists, politicians, businessman, ordinary people whom I had met in all these years."
"From meeting these people, I have developed certain vision for life," His Holiness said.
Striking an emotional chord with the audience, most of whom comprised Tibetans from Himachal Pradesh and other parts of the country, the spiritual leader said he is sure he will celebrate his 100th birthday.
"Through all your wishes, I will live longer. I do not know whether I can live for thousands years, but I am sure I will stay alive till I am 100 years old," His Holiness said.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama also thanked India for whatever it has given to him in all these 50 years of exile.
The function was also attended by former President A P J Abdul Kalam, who spelt out his vision of 2030 -- when the country would be free of economic poverty and water crisis.
The function was organised by Himalayan Buddhist Cultural Association, Delhi in collaboration with All Buddhist Organisation of Himalayan Region.