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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

His Holiness Visit Ise Shrine, and Presided Ise Forum on Religious Harmony

November 20, 2007

By the Tibet House, Japan
18th November 2007

This morning His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited Grand Ise Jingu 
(Shrine), one of the main and oldest shrines of Japanese Shinto 
religion. The Shrine is said to be dedicated to Goddess Amaterasu, 
the Sun Goddess. His Holiness led by the main Priest entered the 
inner sanctum of the Shrine paid respect there. People thronged the 
Shrine complex to greet and to have a glimpse of His Holiness the 
Dalai Lama.

Later His Holiness gave audiences to the selected groups of religious 
bodies and press. In the afternoon, His Holiness presided over the 
Ise International Religious Forum`s dialog on `Religious Harmony`, 
where some 800 scholars from different religious traditions and 
general public attended the forum. Six panelists from Buddhist, 
Shinto and Shugendo religion gave brief presentation and sought His 
Holiness` opinion on the matter. Prof Sakurai of Kogakkan University 
acted as a moderator.

His Holiness greeted the audience and expressed his happiness over 
the opportunity to interact with the Japanese monks, priest and 
scholars. He reiterated that one of his life missions is to promote 
harmony among all the religions. He said all religions despite there 
being differences in philosophy and presentation, all are committed 
to love, compassion, forgiveness and tolerance. 'So the basic 
teaching and its motive is same in all religions. Therefore, through 
proper interaction and understanding, we could develop greater 
harmony among all the religions for the betterment of world peace and 
universal responsibility.` He said.

To the question about His being the manifestation of Avaloketesvara, 
His Holiness said I am just a simple Buddhist monk. He further added 
that even in his dream he neither see himself as Avaloketesvara nor 
as Dalai Lama, he see himself only as a simple monk, and that the 
Dalai Lama title will also cease if people stop calling him in the 
name of Dalai Lama. As of Boddhisatva, he said he can be called as a 
candidate, which made the audience burst into laughter

He concluded the forum by saying that Japan has a rich cultural 
history on the basis of Shinto belief. This may be deeply involved 
with the people`s daily life that it has become kind of Japanese 
identity. So people should respect and preserve it. But just as 
Tibetan Kings in the early 6th and 7th century, through their open 
mindedness took the best of Indian religion, Japan should also be 
open. Shinto and Buddhism cooexisted for long, Japan should take the 
best of these two religions. On being asked about the similarity of 
Bon and Shinto and their relation with Buddhism, he said he is not 
well versed in Bon and Shinto, so he will leave this to the scholars 
to do good research in this feild.

His Holiness will leave for Yokohama tomorrow, to attend the All 
Japan Buddhist Federation`s function at Yokohama National Convention 
Hall.
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