India’s Diverse Spiritual Traditions with HH the Dala Lamaji

From the 20-21st of September, HH the Dalai Lamaji invited hundreds of spiritual and religious leaders for a two-day ‘Meeting of Diverse Spiritual Traditions in India.’ The interfaith dialogue discussed the promotion of human values with a secular, inclusive and innovative approach as well as suggestions to foster inter-religious harmony.

On the occasion HH the Dalai Lama personally welcomed and addressed the participants. HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, President of Parmarth Niketan (Rishikesh), Founder of Ganga Action Parivar and the Co-founder of Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, was warmly welcomed as a representative of not only the Hindu faith but for being a torch-bearer for interfaith dialogue and discussions. Some of the other eminent interfaith speakers included Rabbi Ezekiel Isaac Malekar of the Jewish faith, Dadi E Mistry of the Zoroastrian, Nazneen Rowhani of the Bahai faith, Dr. Mufti M. Mukarram Ahmed of the Islam faith, Swami Avimuktesharanand Saraswati of the Hindu faith, His Eminence Oswald Cardinal Gracias of the Christian faith, Prof Manjit Singh Sahib of Sikkihism, His Eminence Gaden Tripa Rizong Sras-Trul Thupten Nyima of Buddhism as well Hon’ble Lt Gov Shri Najeeb Jung of Delhi and so many others.

Addressing the august gathering HH the Dalai Lamaji said, ‘I believe that my principle responsibility is as a human being. I am just one of 7 billion others and therefore I strongly believe that in order to combat the growing violence and climate change in the world, which are issues that affect all of humanity, we must work differently. We must start now, moving beyond our individual identities, to share a message of compassion, love and understanding that resonates with all human beings, even those who don’t identify with any particular faith. I believe that India is the only country that not only can lead this dialogue but be a true model of interfaith harmony, as it has been home to all various spiritual traditions living together in harmony for so many years.’

On the occasion Pujya Swamiji said that ‘Today everyone is speaking about the vital importance of combating climate change. However, I believe that we need to strengthen the inner climate to change the outer climate, the balance needs to strike within to resound without.’ He also addressed the participating leaders and said, ‘Time has come that we must worship your own but respect all. Time has come that we but our prayer into practice and come together to collectively address the challenges that we face, especially on vital issues pollution as well as on issues of water, sanitation and hygiene.’

There were a host of beautiful speeches and profound points made by the various spiritual leaders, a majority of which emphasized and praised the diversity and heritage of India as well as the need for India to come forward as a leader of peace and harmony. Eminent leaders agreed that the conference being held in Delhi, the capital of India and also the cradle of all of India’s main religions, was a most suitable location for HH the Dalai Lama to initiate these vital discussions.

The two day long meeting was organized with inspiring speeches of revered saints and leaders as well as break out sessions and group discussions. Key points and suggestions from the discussions were shared at the end of the conference as concrete ways in which the continual efforts for peace and harmony can be expanded and brought into our day to day life and thereby shared with our communities.

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