Dalai Lala attends Buddhist meet
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Last Updated: Wednesday, November 30, 2011, 20:59
New Delhi: Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Wednesday attended the four-day congregation of Buddhist monks and scholars that triggered a diplomatic row between India and China and led to the postponement of border talks.

Joining the conference organised by Asoka Mission on the last day, the Dalai Lama refused to comment on Chinese objections to his presence at the religious event.

He restricted his discourse to issues pertaining to Buddhism and peace in line with assertions from his office that the meet was a purely religious event with no political connotations.

"It is a political question. No comments," he told journalists on the sidelines of the event after a press conference scheduled to be held by him was called off at the last minute without any reasons being given.

He was responding to a question on Chinese accusations that India provided him the platform for participating in this conference of Buddhist monks.

Sources suggested that the Dalai Lama did not answer the "political question" since he feels political issues related to Tibet can now be answered only by the elected leader of the exiled community.

The Buddhist congregation, the first-of-its-kind to take place in the country, which began on Sunday was a source of latest friction between India and China as New Delhi's reluctance to call off the meet led Beijing to postpone the border talks which were to be held last Monday.

While China treats the Tibetan spiritual leader as persona non grata, New Delhi has maintained that he is respectable religious leader and in a democratic country there is no restriction on freedom of speech.

Addressing the valedictory session, the Dalai Lama ruled that the "quality" of Buddhist monks is deteriorating as they don't themselves don't follow what they preach to others.

"I must say that the quality is deteriorating among Buddhist monks. How will you teach others when you don't follow what the Buddha stood for. If you are right, Buddha will be with you, otherwise not," he said.

Beginning the day by leading an all-faith prayer meet at Gandhi Smriti, the Dalai Lama also planted "Bodhi tree" saplings from Sri Lanka, from Saraswati in Uttar Pradesh's Gonda district and Bodhgaya.

He met representatives of different Buddhist traditions gathered from several countries and advocated increased interactions and discussions among them to fill existing gaps.

"There are some gaps that exist between Pali and Sanskrit traditions of Buddhism. There is a big wall that is not too good. We must come together as we have a lot of things to learn from each other. More regular meetings and serious discussions are very very essential," he told monks from as many as 46 countries, including US, Australia and the UK.

Calling 20th century an era of "bloodshed and violence", he said efforts should be made by every country to make 21st century a "peaceful" one and that all should contribute in building a "better world" where all sections and races can co-exist.

Contending that peace can never be achieved by "declaration and resolution", the Dalai Lama said peace should be achieved in one's self first which is the right way.

"Just praying to god is not enough. We should follow the principles taught by the god. No lip service can be accepted. People don't bother about other's rights. Indian people are very religious, they pray to god all the time," he said.

The Dalai Lama said there is a lot of corruption inside "people's mind" which should be removed.


First Published: Wednesday, November 30, 2011, 20:59

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