By – Shyamal Sinha
The Dalai Lama is one of the most beloved and inspirational figures of the last century. As the political and spiritual leader of the Chinese province of Tibet, the Dalai Lama’s tireless and decades-long work as a builder of bridges, seeker of peace, and campaigner for Tibetan independence has elevated him into one of the world’s great moral leaders, with countless supporters and admirers around the world
The Dalai Lama in Delhi pledged to donate 25 lakh rupees per annum for five years (totalling 1.25 crore) to Smile foundation to help fund education of underprivileged children in India.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama made the donation while delivering a talk on Universal responsibility and compassion to over a thousand children at the NCUI auditorium in Hauz Khas, New Delhi. The interaction titled ‘The World of Children’ was organised by the Smile foundation, an NGO that looks after the education, welfare and healthcare needs of less privileged children in India.
During the interaction, His Holiness the Dalai Lama expressed his deep anguish at the growing economic gap between the rich and poor, and said that this gap can be reduced by providing proper education opportunities for underprivileged children.
“Education is key to create an egalitarian world. All human beings on this earth whether rich or poor, tall or short, dark or fair, have equal potential to achieve greatness through education. Therefore, we should focus on education of children,” His Holiness said.
His Holiness cited the lack of self confidence among the poor as one of the causes of their predicament and urged them to develop self confidence.
His Holiness also denounced the practise of discrimination based on the caste system, calling it outdated and unfair. “It’s totally unfair to divide people based on castes. To say that caste is decided by god is not only morally wrong, it’s akin to blaming god for the divisions created by humans,” he said.
His Holiness further spoke about India, describing the country as his only home since 1959. He expressed gratitude to India and said that he is a lifelong student of the Nalanda tradition of ancient India.
His Holiness said the knowledge of ancient India can make a significant contribution to the world to develop genuine happiness and inner peace. His Holiness described India as the only country in the world that can effectively combine the benefits of modern education and emotional training for noble causes.
“We all face problems in life. However, to escape from these problems, some use temporary solutions like drugs and alcohol. These are not only harmful but also ephemeral. Rather, we should practise training of the mind through logic and reasoning,” His Holiness said.
“Logic and reasoning is the basis of the Nalanda tradition. Even Lord Buddha himself has called for investigation of his teachings based on reason. This approach is not only scientific but also very relevant in today’s world,” His Holiness said.
Before concluding, His Holiness the Dalai Lama thanked Smile organisation for helping the poor and deprived, and said that dedicating yourself to the service of others is the true practice of kindness and compassion.
The Smile foundation thanked His Holiness the Dalai Lama for the donation and described His Holiness the Dalai Lama as a living epitome of peace, compassion and forgiveness.
“Just spending a few moments with you, we feel happier and more humble. We thank you for your kindness and advice,” Shantanu Mishra, founder of Smile foundation said. Mishra also urged everyone to implement His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s teachings.