The AIA would like to thank its member organisation, the Institute of Jainology (IoJ) for organising a wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear His Holiness the Dalai Lama talk on Ahimsa – India’s Contribution to the World.
On 20th September 2015, His Holiness addressed a packed audience at the London Coliseum. This was part of a UK tour in which he addressed audiences at the O2 in London and at venues in Oxford and Cambridge.
His Holiness talked about the three main commitments in his life. First on the level of a human being, second on the level of a religious practitioner and third as a Tibetan who carries the name of the Dalai Lama.
First, on the level of a human being, he promotes human values such as compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment and self-discipline. All human beings are the same in wanting happiness and not wanting suffering. Even people who do not believe in religion recognise the importance of these human values in making their lives happier. His Holiness refered to these human values as secular ethics. He remains committed to talking about the importance of these human values and sharing them with everyone he meets.
His Holiness’ second commitment, on the level of a religious practitioner, is the promotion of religious harmony and understanding among the world’s major religious traditions. Despite philosophical differences, all major world religious traditions have the same potential to create good human beings. It is therefore important for all religious traditions to respect one another and recognise the value of each other’s respective traditions. As far as ‘one truth, one religion’ is concerned, this is relevant on an individual level; however, for the community at large ‘several truths, several religions’ are necessary.
Thirdly, His Holiness is a Tibetan and carries the name of ‘Dalai Lama’. Therefore, his third commitment is to work to preserve Tibet’s Buddhist culture, a culture of peace and non-violence.
His Holiness praised the Indian community, who had given refuge to the people of Tibet following the invasion by the Chinese in 1959. He praised them also for their tolerance of the many religions living within India. He praised Mahavira, the 24th Jain Tirthankar, who had taught about ahimsa and compassion to all sentient beings including animals, only a few decades before Buddha had taught about these things, and he praised Mahavira and the Jains for their vegetarianism.