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Need To Incorporate 'Ahimsa', 'Karuna' In Indian Education System, Gandhi A Model Politician: Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama in an article emphasized that the entire planet would benefit if China and India were to work together on cultivating inner peace and if China, historically a Buddhist nation were to adopt the values of ‘ahimsa’ and ‘karuna’.

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The 14th Dalai Lama expressed that the entire planet would benefit if China, a historically Buddhist country, were to follow the ancient Indian wisdom enriched with the ideals of 'ahimsa' and 'karuna', and more than the two and a half billion people in both countries were to work on cultivating inner peace.

"In this regard, I genuinely feel that India can play a leading role, thanks to its great tradition of peaceful understanding rooted in the treasures of 'ahimsa' and 'karuna," said the Dalai Lama, the 87-year old spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists, in an exclusive article in Manorama Year Book 2023.

The Dalai Lama further noted, "India has made notable advantages in many fields over the years, especially in the context of science and technology. Yet even as external disarmament is necessary, inner disarmament is no less important.

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"Such wisdom is beyond a specific religion and has the potential to encourage a more integrated and ethically grounded way of being in contemporary society. Therefore, I encourage everyone to try to cultivate 'karuna' (compassion) and 'ahimsa' (doing no harm)."

THe Dalai Lama, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, said that achieving peace of mind is more important than pursuing material development and physical pleasure in order to achieve world peace.

"Compassion is a marvel of human nature, a precious inner resource and the foundation of both our individual well-being and harmony within society. From the moment we are born, our mother takes care of us. Therefore, from a very young age, we learn that compassion is the root of all happiness,” the Dalai Lama said.

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The Dalai Lama, however, added that the natural appreciation of compassion seemingly fades after one starts attending school. Therefore, it is necessary to incorporate 'ahimsa' and 'karuna' into the Indian educational system, the great benefits of which will be felt not only in India but also across the world.

Hailing Mahatma Gandhi as the personification of 'ahimsa' (non-violence), the Dalai Lama said he was greatly inspired by his ideal that was espoused by Dr Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela.

"To me, he (Gandhi) remains the model politician, a man who put his belief in altruism above all personal considerations and consistently maintained respect for all great spiritual traditions," said the Dalai Lama.

Describing himself as one of India's longest-staying guests, the Dalai Lama said that he has lived in India for more than six decades after Chinese forces invaded and occupied his homeland. He also attributed his ideals and thinking to the knowledge derived from the historic Nalanda University, the ruins of which can still be witnessed in present day Bihar.

He said, “Through preserving the Nalanda tradition, we Tibetans have been able to remain strong and usually positive even in difficult times. Now my hope is to give back to India what we Tibetans received from Nalanda. In the past, we Tibetans have often regarded Indians as our gurus and ourselves as the 'chelas', disciples. But over time, in certain ways, the roles seem to have been reversed and now perhaps the chela is in a position to return the treasures."

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The Dalai Lama also used the opportunity to express his gratitude towards India for welcoming Tibetan refugees and providing their children the opportunity to pursue education and for monks from the great centres of learning in Tibet the opportunity to resume their studies. He added that the Tibetans have always been greatly influenced by the Indian thought.

"As a mark of respect and gratitude, during our time in exile, we have undertaken to restore several ancient Indian texts that had been lost by having them translated from Tibetan back into Sanskrit and other Indian languages," he said.

The Dalai Lama reaffirmed that he is committed to promoting the oneness of humanity, and encouraging harmony among the world's religious traditions despite philosophical differences as a human being. Furthermore, as a Tibetan, and as the 'Dalai Lama', he is devoted to preserving Tibetan language and culture, and speaking up for the protection of Tibet's natural environment.

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"Clearly this has relevance to the Himalayan communities of India, from Arunachal Pradesh in the east to Ladakh in the west," he noted.

(With PTI inputs)

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