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Dalai Lama in discutie cu budistii thailandezi

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Dalai Lama a acordat, recent, o audienta unei delegatii formate din calugari budisti si laici la New Delhi (India) in cursul careia a vorbit despre budism si celelalte religii, dar si de provocarile secolului 21.

“Nu am incercat niciodata sa propovaduiesc budismul. Sunt budist, dar nu trebuie sa ma atasez de budism pentru ca nu as putea aprecia valorile crestinismului, islamismului si iudaismului”, a spus Dalai Lama in timpul  discutiei, aratand ca schimbarea unei religii poate sa produca o confuzie si mai mare pentru persoana in cauza daca aceasta nu este pregatita cu adevarat:  “Adesea sfatuiesc oamenii sa-si pastreze traditiile iudaice-crestine. Schimbarea poate sa duca la o confuzie mai mare.”

Citeste mai jos, in varianta originala, raspunsurile pe care le-a oferit Dalai Lama laicilor si calugarilor budisti thailandezi, compilate de Kowit Phadungruangkij. Articolul a fost publicat in National Geographic Thailanda.

Dalai Lama despre budism si provocarile secolului 21

Q: What is the most effective approach to spread the Buddha Dharma?

I have never tried to propagate Buddhism. I am Buddhist but I should not develop attachment to Buddhism. Otherwise I would not be able to appreciate the values of Christianity, Islam or Judaism. One thing that I have been stressing all along is that each believer should keep his or her own religion instead of converting to another religion. I have been traveling and teaching in the West especially the U.S. and Europe. I often tell people there to keep their Jeudo-Christian tradition. Sometimes conversion could lead to more confusion. Unless the individual thoroughly studies the new religion and out of his or her own rational choice, chooses to convert, that’s fine. Without that understanding, problem could arise. For example, Buddhism is a non-theistic religion without the central belief of God or self. Everything is governed by the law of karma or action. That’s entirely different from such theistic religions like Christianity, Judaism and Islam. You have to understand this key difference. We could always learn from each other. There is no need for any conversion.

What kind of challenge religion is facing in the 21st Century?

First of all, I think it’s now time that we have to think about the humanity irrespective of your faith or non-faith. We, human brothers and sisters have to live in this world together. If the world is happier and more peaceful, every one of us will benefit including animals. I think this is our shared goal and responsibility. Therefore, I have been trying to address this common task. I have relied on the Indian concept or philosophy of secular ethics. By secular, I mean not based on any particular religion but based on commonsense and common experience. Central to this secular ethics is the cultivation of compassion and loving-kindness in our hearts. Why is this so important? It is important because compassion in the heart will lead to inner strength and confidence. A compassionate mind is free from fear and has no room for mistrust and animosity towards others. Too much self-centeredness only leads to more fear and anxiety.

What do you learn from your good relationship with modern scientists?

Over the past 30 years, I have always enjoyed the constructive and fruitful relationship with scientists. There is so much we could learn from each other. Take cosmology, for example Buddhism talks about these metaphysical things a lot in the book of Abidharma. Then you have the sciences of neurobiology and quantum physics, which have much in common with the ancient Buddhist texts especially in the Tibetan Tantric Buddhism. I could also talk about modern psychology which finds a lot of useful materials and approach in the Buddhist meditation practices. Through this dialogue with modern scientists, I think Buddhism could become much more relevant in today’s world. As Buddhist, I have to admit that the empirical knowledge and new discoveries of modern sciences sometimes seriously challenge some of our long held mythical beliefs such as the existence of Mount Meru, the axis of the universe.

How can Buddhism help solve many of the world’s problems today?

The last century was filled with so much violence and war. It is believed that over 200 million people were killed in conflicts around the world. Then you have so many killing machines like nuclear weapons. My question is all these conflicts really helped reshaping the world order as some people believed. Does it really worth it? I don’t think so. The conflicts only lead to more violence and hatred. Now it’s time to rethink the new reality. We have to stop thinking that well, the world has always been like this and there’s nothing we could do about it.  We have to find ways to address this issue. Apart from violence we also have other problems like global warming, growing world population, widening gap between the rich and the poor, and last but not least the disease of corruption. The latter, I think is very worrying. Many years ago I gave a talk to a gathering of university students in Jodpur, India. Then after the talk, a student came to talk to me. He said something like corruption is a normal practice in this country. Unless I involve in some forms of corruption, my life will never be successful. Then only a few days later, another businessman I met in Mumbai said the same thing. He said his business would never prosper, if he did not get involved in corruption. Then I was really shocked. I think we have to make clear that this behavior is totally unacceptable. I would like to call it the new worldwide disease of cancer. How are we going to address this? I think the key factor is the cultivation of self-discipline. We have to admit that in the past our religions and other social institutions have failed to check this problem. What we need today is what I call secular ethics that has far-reaching implications. For example, if you are truthful, you yourself will be happier. Your health will get better and then the community and society will benefit too. How can we teach this ethics without relying too much on religion? I think we have to do this through our common experience backed by scientific discoveries and shared experience. This is how we promote moral ethics through the secular education.

How can we sow the seed of peace within ourselves? How can that lead to world peace?

World peace must come from inner peace. Without inner peace, there can be no peace in the human society and the world at large. Therefore, we have to educate people about the cultivation of inner peace. We have to teach our children that the ultimate source of happiness and successful life is the peace within, not money, not power. We can teach this through education. Education is universal. Religion on the other hand can never be universal. So if this is the global concern, there should be some kind of worldwide effort and cooperation to solve the problem. This is what I think. Some of our friends have already started by promoting moral ethics in the existing modern education system. I would like to ask all of you, now it’s time that we have to join hands to do this together as we are all part of the entire humanity. This is our common responsibility which is based on the realization that the humanity is like one big family. Our differences like faiths, races, cultures and languages are all minor. The most important thing is that we are all humans. When the Buddha taught  dharma after his enlightenment, he never specifically chose certain groups of people or communities but the entire human community. We Buddhists when we pray, we never say we pray for human only but extend to the entire sentient beings.



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