By Shyamal Sinha
BODH GAYA: On the auspicious occasion the 34th Kalachakra Initiation for world peace, The Tibetan spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, today inaugurated an interfaith prayer, along with representatives of major world religious traditions at the Kalachakra teaching ground, Bodh Gaya.
Inaugurating the ceremony, leaders of major religious traditions including Hindu, Islam, Jain and Sikh joined together in prayers for world peace, promotion of religious harmony and promotion of common message of love and compassion.
Attended by Gurbachan Singh, Jathedar of Akal Takht (supreme temporal seat of Sikhs), Maulana Asinur Rahman, Acharya Lokesh Muni, and Swami Chidananda Saraswati, who were all in Patna to participate in the 350th death anniversary celebrations of Guru Gobind Singh at Patna Sahib in Patna.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama exchanged an emotional greeting with the representatives and expressed his delight at being able to gather the major religious leaders and share their messages of love and brotherhood at the holiest Buddhist pilgrimage in the world.
Reiterating one of his lifelong commitments for promotion of religious harmony, His Holiness said it’s important to establish harmonious relationship among religious beliefs on the understanding that different philosophical views suit and benefit different people. “For 7 billion human beings, there are different mental dispositions and mindsets. It is impossible to have all the 7 billion people follow one religion and be able to benefit from it as effectively.”
He further emphasised that even within one tradition as Buddhism, there are different vehicles and philosophical tenets to benefit different followers. “Similarly, we are all following the same message but practising different religions inorder to reap effective benefits.”
Offering India as a model of religious harmony and brotherhood, His Holiness said, “I think religious harmony in India is truly wonderful. Although there are occasional problems created by mischievous people, India is one among the 200 countries in the world where all different religions coexist harmoniously since thousands of years.”
Inorder to mark the auspicious event, His Holiness and the religious leaders participated in symbolic ceremonies such as tree-planting and pouring water over a model of globe which symbolises cleansing and rejuvenating the earth.
His Holiness applauded the spirit and contribution of the representatives in their respective communities and encouraged them to continue the efforts.
A Jain representative, in his remarks, expressed deep reverence and admiration for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his leadership in promoting religious harmony. “His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama is supreme leader among the global interfaith congregation. He has taught the world the teaching of all religions are to bind people together; not break them. Due to the blessings of His Holiness, this kind of conference are going on all over the world,” he said.
Describing His Holiness as an world icon for love and compassion, a Sikh representative said, “His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the only leader who can drive the world citizens towards the path of compassion and peace. In this world, if everyone should look up to someone for guidance in compassion, it can only be achieved through the teachings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.”
The representatives had, yesterday, attended the ceremony of 350th birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Sikh guru, at Patna. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and Bihar Chief Minister Shri Nitish Kumar had graced the celebration.
His Holiness resumed his teachings on Shantideva’s A Guide to the Bodhisatva’s Way of Life (Tib: Chodjug) and Kamalashila’s The Middling Stages of Meditation (Tib: Gomrim Barpa).