The Nobel peace laureate said that ‘secular means respect all religions, including non-believers’.
watching that the past century was full of arrogance and violence, the Dalai Lama said on Tuesday that it was not allowed to eliminate dissenting voices.
Delivering his lecture on ‘Human Approach to World Peace’ at the IIT Madras here, as part of its Extra Mural Lecture series, the Tibetan spiritual leader said the past century was filled with “too much violence” and it was still continuing.
He described violence as “nonsense” and said, “You cannot eliminate all people who disagree [with] you.”
The Nobel laureate said secular meant respect all religions, including non-believers. “Of the 7 billion people in the world, over 1 billion were non-believers. One should respect the non-believers as well,” he said adding that “the religious belief of a person was a private business.”
Addressing the audience in the packed auditorium at IIT Madras, the leader preferred to keep his speech informal throughout. “Complete informal, much better,” he said, biting an apple, before he commenced his speech.
As India was where all religions where living in harmony, the 14th Dalai Lama said the nation was an example to the rest of the world. “Wherever, the Chinese go, there start a China town. Likewise, wherever Indians go, they should start a Indian town, where they should teach the world about religious harmony.”
Recalling his long relationship with India, the Tibetan spiritual leader said he came to India from Tibet on an exile when he was 24 years old and now he was 80. “I’m the longest guest of the Indian government.”
Flexing his muscles, he chuckled, “Every part of me is Indian. I had eaten Indian dal and Indian chappatis.”
During his speech, which was more of an extempore, the 80-year old leader easily struck a chord with the students, as he made casual remarks on a lighter vein.
A simple person, who seemed to enjoy humour in simple things in life, said it was difficult for him to deal with a person without a smile. “Without a smile, if he sits like a statue, your time doesn’t pass. But, if he smiles and talks with compassion, the time flies.”
He never kept to himself, as he would be filled with loneliness. “And that’s why I think am just a human being and not the Dalai Lama. That is my own selfishness,” he said.
Insisting on the significance of the preservation of Tibetan ecology, he said, “Once you damage it, it takes ages to recover.”
His role model was his mother, he replied to a student’s query. She was uneducated but very kind, he said, “We never saw her angry face. All mothers are kind but there could be few exceptions,” he said and laughed. “In modern days, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King were my role models.”
Consistent with his opinions, he had expressed on earlier occasions, on the possibility of a woman being the next Dalai Lama, he said, it was very much possible and observed that she should be beautiful.
“I have said that in many times earlier. She should be beautiful. The face also makes a difference, isn’t it?,” he laughed, while replying to a query on the possibility of a woman Dalai Lama.
Holding that female presidents and prime ministers were more sensitive towards others, he said, “if there were more women head of states in the 200 odd countries in the world, it would be more peaceful.”