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Dalai Lama promoting Gandhian values in several countries

July 7, 2009 - July 6, 2009

Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, on his 74th birthday celebration
on Monday said he is promoting secular values and different philosophy of
humanities as preached by Mahatma Gandhi when travelling to different
countries rather than propagating Buddhism.

Dalai Lama also echoed the secular thoughts of Gandhi, saying secularism
doesn't mean rejection of religion but it means respect for religion and
even respect for non-believers.

"When I visited different countries in these years, I have not promoted or
propagated Buddhism as said by many, but harmony, humanity and
spirituality," he said on the occasion, which also marks the 50 years of his
Holiness in India.

"I am promoting secular values, message of love, compassion, dignity, spirit
of common values and harmony as has been promoted by great thinkers," he

Dalai Lama also said that Buddhism is not only about reciting from
scriptures and practicing it, but getting into the principals of the
religion and the value it promotes.

"We have to make Buddhism relevant in our life ...and why it is not much
relevant (is) due to lack of knowledge," he said.

Commenting on the socio-religious changes Tibet is undergoing, the spiritual
leader said "the region is passing through difficult times and Buddhism is
not being promoted in the way it used to be before."

"There is a steady depletion of the religion and our aim is to preserve and
promote the religion. We need to work in the direction to strengthen
Buddhism in Tibet and all over the Himalayan nations," he said.

Looking back at his 50 years in India, the spiritual guru said "my life has
not been a "waste" and I got chances to learn from religious leaders,
scientists, politicians, businessman, ordinary people whom I had met in all
these years."

"From meeting these people, I have developed certain vision for life," he

Striking an emotional chord with the audience, most of whom comprised
Tibetans from Himachal Pradesh and other parts of the country, the spiritual
leader said he is sure he will celebrate his 100th birthday.

"Through all your wishes, I will live longer. I do not know whether I can
live for thousands years, but I am sure I will stay alive till I am 100
years old," he said.

Dalai Lama also thanked India for whatever it has given to him in all these
50 years of exile.

The function was also attended by former President A P J Abdul Kalam, who
spelt out his vision of 2030 -- when the country would be free of economic
poverty and water crisis.

The function was organised by Himalayan Buddhist Cultural Association, Delhi
in collaboration with All Buddhist Organisation of Himalayan Region.
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