16th Dec 2000

Dalai Lama Terms Conversions as "Foolish"

Tibetan Spiritual Leader Dalai Lama Saturday described conversion as "foolish" and called for religious tolerance as the variety of people necessitated the existence of 'variety of dharmas (religions) in the world.' The Dalai Lama said there was a need for variety of religions as people were of different likes and the essence and the messages of all the religions were the same." All religions held equal potential to take human beings to his goal, the happiness in life, and hence the only alternative is religious tolerance" he said adding that conversions were foolish. He was speaking after laying the foundation stone for the Sanjivani Holistic Global Village and the Institute of Tibetan Medicines at Alloor in Kanyakumari district Saturday.

The Dalai Lama explained that the conversions would also have its negative consequences rather than ensuring peace to man. Secularism meant respect towards all religions and India was famous for it secular credentials. The spiritual leader also strongly voiced against violence between the nations. "At present from nation to nation and continent to continent there is interdependence, economically and ecologically. There is no meaning for man-made boundaries between the nations. Ecologically too, there is no significance for race, color or power as world has become smaller.... No matter how powerful a nation is, it cannot exist on its own if the world did not recognize it. The whole world is interconnected and interdependent," the Dalai Lama said.

He said in the earlier times when small kingdoms had their independent economies, the war had a 'justification' as it destroyed the enemy and added to the wealth of the winner. "Today you get just emotional satisfaction in winning a war. You are destroying yourselves and your own economies no matter whether you win or lose a war," he said.

Noting that Ahimsa (Non-Violence) had more relevance now, the Nobel Prize winner for Peace in 1994 affirmed that 'there are no alternatives other than dialogues as we all will suffer from violent means.' Dialogue was not forced upon us but it would come as the people begin to respect the right of others and willing to share their interests with the others, he said.

Pointing out that modern science and Indian philosophy with its meditation were two means to know reality,which would bring happiness to man, he said there were still many things which should be explained by science. If the society was happy, the people were happy and when the society suffered, the people suffered, he said. What mattered most was the humanity as whole. Holding that global village was one of his dreams, he said it would create "sense of global responsibility and people will be concerned about the well-being of the others."

The Rs Two Billion project of global village, by the Sanjivani Trust, aims to set up cottages and study centres to impart treatment and education on holistic therapy at the 250-acre land. Presiding over the function, former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission Dr P K Iyengar said the nature had long ago demonstrated all those discoveries being made by science today. He called for integrated approach to life, as at present there was only a distorted picture of governance.

Dr P G Kurup who founded the Chetna therapy and is running at present 150-bed Sanjivani hospital,a pre-runner to the proposed global village, welcomed the guests.