Politicians need to use common sense: Dalai Lama

His Holiness The Dalai Lama urges political leaders to ensure that India and China live in harmony, as they are too powerful to defeat each other; says religious conversion is a personal matter and can’t be enforced on anyone

Politicians need to use common sense.” This was His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama's answer when questioned about Indo-China ties. He stressed that two heavily populated and powerful countries such as India and China can never defeat each other, so it’s best to be friends and live happily without any animosity.

The Dalai Lama was conferred the 7th Santokbaa Award at a function on January 2
The Dalai Lama was conferred the 7th Santokbaa Award at a function on January 2

At a function in Surat, where he was felicitated on Friday for spreading peace across the globe, the Dalai Lama also commented on the recent issue of religious conversion, saying there’s nothing wrong in people converting from one religion to another as long as it is not enforced. “I never propagate Buddhism but there are many Buddhists who have converted their religion. There shouldn’t be any compulsion on people,” he said. He added that almost 400 million in China currently are Buddhists yet many continue to flee to India and other countries. “I have been India’s longest guest and have learnt a lot. I tell people that Indians are our gurus while we are their chelas (pupils),” he added.

The Dalai Lama was also asked about his opinion on self-proclaimed godmen in India who were arrested for their alleged involvement in various scams. He said people tend to have blind faith on con artistes who pose as saints. “Educated people are smart enough to avoid con artistes but the uneducated fall prey to them. It should be people’s collective effort to uplift all sections of the society by educating everyone,” said the Dalai Lama.

Many questions were also raised about the Dalai Lama institution’s move to find a successor to the current Dalai Lama. He hinted that there might not be another successor soon. “The decision lies with the people. I have retired from all my powers and if the people decide they don’t want another Dalai Lama then we will adhere to the same. However, in the last meeting, authorities of our institution concluded that the decision of a successor will be taken in some years,” he said adding, “Maybe when I turn 90.”

For a cause
On Friday, the Governor of Gujarat OP Kohli presented SRK Foundation’s prestigious 7th Santokbaa Award to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama for unending work towards peace at a function in Surat. The foundation also presented the Dalai Lama Foundation with a cheque of R25 lakh, which he donated back to the foundation. "I would be happy if the foundation uses this money in educating those who can't afford education in this country. It'll be great if the money goes for other humanitarian causes,” he said.

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