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Issues & Peace Education

HH the Dalai Lama delivering the inaugural address at the seminar on Towards Peace and Harmony

CONTEMPORAY ISSUES AND PEACE EDUCATION

In 1987, Tibet House and the Inter-Religious Forum for Communal Harmony gathered distinguished religious leaders and scholars from various communities in India to explore the foundations for harmony and tolerance among the different religious traditions.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama delivered the inaugural address for the two-day event, held at Teen Murti House in New Delhi, stressing the long tradition of mutual respect and compassion among the religions of India. Speakers included Dr. Muhammed Yunus Saleem, Muni Mahendra Kumarji, Swami Chidananda, Archbishop Angelo Fernandes, General S.S. Uban, Ezra Kolet, Dastur Minochar Hokji, Dr. Karan Singh and Metropolitan Dr. Paulos Mar Gregorios. The seminar concluded with an inter-religious prayer for peace and harmony and visits to places of worship belonging to different faiths in Delhi.

TOWARDS A CULTURE OF PEACE

To conclude the Tibetan Cultural Festival in Bangalore, Tibet House organized a two-day seminar ‘Towards a Culture of Peace’ in collaboration with the World Buddhist Culture Trust. On March 8 and 9, 2002 scholars, practitioners and activists from diverse traditions

converged at the National Science Seminar Complex of the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore to deliberate on the timely and complex issue of building a culture of peace. Shri Ravindra Varma, Chairperson, Gandhi Peace Foundation, unravelled the complexities inherent in the seminar topic, ranging from philosophical/spiritual to economic/ political aspects. Ven. Olande Ananda and Ms. Sudhamahi Regunathan focussed on the inner quest. Subsequent sessions revolved around the role of social institutions in fostering peace with Dr. Shantilal K.Somaiya, noted industrialist and philanthropist, elaborating on how a sense of responsibility towards the less privileged can help create social harmony. Dr. Homi Dhalla, President of the World Zoroastrian Foundation, highlighted creative efforts across the globe in the direction of fostering inter-religious dialogue and peace.

MEETING OF CULTURES: SPIRITUAL WAYS OF SUSTAINABLE AND NON-AGGRESSIVE LIVING

As part of the Festival of Sacred Chanting and Singing arranged to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the installation and consecration of the Buddha Statue, Tibet House hosted a panel discussion entitled Meeting of Cultures: Spiritual Ways of Sustainable and Non-Aggressive Living on October 6, 2003 at the India International Centre. It was moderated by the Ven. Olande Ananda, the format provided nine speakers, each of whom represented a different religion. On behalf of Hinduism, Swami Jitatmananda spoke of how science is confirming the wisdom of religion, and how all religions are multi-faceted manifestations of the same wisdom. Dr. A.K. Merchant of the Baha’i faith spoke of the need to resist the culture of consumerism. Sister Karin Lelyveld spoke of practical plans to practice what they preach by hosting young people at their Benedictine centre for a year at a time. Representing Judaism, Dr. Mordehai Wosk spoke of the Golden Rule. And Dr. Mohinder Singh, spoke of the responsibility of lay people to reject religious leaders who promote their own faith at the expense of other faiths. Other speakers from the Jain, Muslim, Buddhist, and Zoroastrian religions also made valuable contributions to the discussion. His Holiness the Dalai Lama concluded by stressing the need for people of good will to put aside their doctrinal differences in such matters as Heaven and Hell and various notions of salvation, and to explore together the basic secular values of kindness, peace and compassion.

COMPASSIONATE ECONOMY

Prof. Stanislav Menshikov (right) and other panellists

On September 27th 2002, Lama Doboom Tulku welcomed distinguished panellists and guests at a seminar on ‘Compassionate Economy’, organized together with India International Centre. The seminar featured presentations by Shri Jairam Ramesh, Dr. Larissa Klimenko- Menshikova, Shri Ravindra Varma, Professor Krishna Nath, Dr. B.B. Bhattacharya, Professor Naushad Ali Azad, Dr. N. Chandra Mohan, Professor Stanislav Menshikov and Louwrien Wijers. The speakers explored many facets of the problem, Mahatma Gandhi’s name was invoked for his pioneering work. There was an effort among participants to bridge the gap between the advocates of globalisation and the advocates of compassion. The question of public expenditure, in both the capitalist and the socialist models, was analysed in depth. It was noted that economics cannot be separated from politics nor from the paradigm of interdependence, and more than one speaker expressed doubts about how the ruthless machine of a market economy could be married with such values as compassion and non-violence. While the need to be practical and efficient was acknowledged, consensus emerged that human values must take ultimate precedence over economics to serve the common good.