Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama today claimed that Chinese President Xi Jinping has publicly admitted that Buddhism has a role to play in the preservation of Chinese culture.
He added this was for the first time in years that any leader of the Communist Party of China, which rules the country, has openly acknowledged the role of religion in Chinese society.
“Preservation of Tibetan Buddhist knowledge, culture and language is of immense value to the Chinese people. President Xi Jinping has publicly said that Buddhism has a role to play in the preservation of Chinese culture.
“I think till 30 years ago… or even 15-20 years ago, no other Communist party leader (was seen) showing some respect to or appreciation of Buddha dharma. Preservation of Tibetan culture, Buddhism, Buddhist leadership… should be paid some attention,” Dalai Lama said.
The Tibetan spiritual leader was delivering a lecture here on, ‘One World, One Vision, One Future’.
Talking about the demand for Tibetan independence, the Dalai Lama said that while pressing for freedom from China it was crucial to remember that spirituality was an important element of Tibetan culture.
“Some (Tibetans) say independence… there is too much of emotion. Tibet is spiritually very rich. But some Tibetans stay as illegal immigrants in Canada, US and some European countries. They are not talking spirituality. They are seeking dollars and euros.
“They should remain in China as far as economy and material development (is concerned)… everyone seeks money from China,” he said.
“They (China) must give us genuine freedom for preservation of our culture. In long run this will be of immense help to Chinese Buddhists,” the Dalai Lama added.
Talking about violence perpetrated in the name of religion, the Dalai Lama said that the kidnapping and killings in Iraq and Syria were harmful to the image of Islam. He added that attacks on Muslims in Sri Lanka and Burma by Buddhists were similarly smearing their religion.
“If they really love their religion, then this kind of behaviour is really harmful for the image of Islam. Similarly, some Buddhists in Burma and to some extent in Sri Lanka are harming Muslims.
“When I first heard about this I was in Washington… I said those Buddhists must first think. Practice of Buddhism is practise of ‘karuna’. We really need some genuine harmony and mutual respect,” the Dalai Lama said.
He added that tolerance and respect for different views, faiths and philosophies was essential in order to achieve global peace and amity.
“To solve the problems of climate and ecology, 7 billion people must work together as one,” the Dalai Lama said.