I can’t say Buddhism is the best religion: Dalai Lama

By Sharique N Siddiquie | Last Updated: Jan 16, 2010, 00:15 AM IST

Sharique N Siddiquie

Vadodara: His Holiness the Dalai Lama is known for his wisdom and witty remarks so no one was surprised when he declared on Friday that he cannot say that Buddhism is the best religion.

Speaking at International Convention on Buddhism in Vadodara, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet said, “We cannot say that one religion is best. I am a Buddhist but I can’t say Buddhism is the best religion. It depends on a person’s perception that what is best for him.”

He further added that, “We should respect all religions. India is a secular country where all the religions are equally respected.”

In a very witty remark, Dalai Lama said, “Mr Modi (Mahabodhi Society of India Patron Dr. Bhupendra Kumar Modi) told me that Indians consider me a fellow Indian. I must tell you, I am India’s son. My knowledge and my wisdom come from India and I am really proud of it.”

Adding another tongue in cheek remark, Dalai Lama said, “Though I have Tibetan parents so my flesh and blood is Tibetan. But, as a matter of fact, spiritually I am an Indian and physically I am a Tibetan.”

Praising India’s unique culture and communal harmony, Dalai Lama said, “India is unique because it follows a culture of non-violence accepted across religions coexisting in the country. There is not much difference in the cultures of Buddhists and Muslims in India as they both follow the tradition of truth and non-violence.”

He went on to add that, “Indians are ‘Guru’ and we (Tibetans) are ‘Chelas’ because Buddhism originated from India. So, when I travel to different parts of the world, I introduce myself as an Indian messenger. I propagate ‘Ahimsa’ so now my guru India, should start promoting non-violence again.

Continuing his refreshingly witty speech, Dalai Lama further added, “Chinese are the senior students of Buddhism while Tibetans are the junior students. So, whenever I give teachings to Chinese Buddhists, I jokingly tell them that the knowledge of ‘junior students’ is not bad.”

Launching a veiled attack on the Chinese atrocities in Tibet, Dalai Lama said, “The condition of Tibet is in turmoil. I want the heritage of Tibet to be given back to India as it is the only place where they will be in safe hands.”

Dalai Lama was at his spiritual best at the function. Speaking about the importance of satisfaction in life, he said, “I had a friend who was very rich but he was not happy. This shows that money and power don’t necessarily guarantee happiness. One should seek inner peace. This inner peace and spirituality can be achieved through love, compassion and affection.

He also advocated the idea of ‘Vasudhaev Kutumbkam’, saying, “The recently concluded Coopenhagen Summit was like a ray of hope for the world affected badly by global warming. The reason for the failure of the summit was that all the world leaders considered their national interest more important than the global interest. This is a wrong approach.”