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Foundation for Universal Responsibility

of His Holiness the Dalai Lama

INTERFAITH DIALOGUE PROGRAMME

Participants’ Reports 2011

Foundation for Universal Responsibility of His Holiness the Dalai Lama Core 4A, UGF, India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road, New Delhi – 110003 Tel: (91) (11) 24648450 ∫ Fax: Tel: (91) (11) 24648451 Email: furhhdl@furhhdl.org ∫ Website: www.furhhdl.org 1


"To meet the challenges of our times, I believe that humanity must develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. Each of us must learn to work not just for our own individual self, family or nation, but for the benefit of all mankind.

Today we are so interdependent, so closely interconnected with each other, that without a sense of universal responsibility, a feeling of universal brotherhood and sisterhood, and an understanding and belief that we really are a part of one big human family, we cannot hope to overcome the dangers to our very existence – let alone bring about peace and happiness."

- His Holiness the Dalai Lama

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About the Foundation THE VISION ƒ ƒ ƒ ƒ ƒ ƒ ƒ ƒ ƒ ƒ

Foster the celebration of diversity, the spirit of universal responsibility and the understanding of interdependence across faiths, creeds and religions. Support personal transformation in ways that facilitate larger processes of social change. Develop and sustain peace building and coexistence initiatives in regions of violent conflict and social unrest. Encourage and cultivate Ahimsa (nonviolence) as a guiding principle for interaction among human beings and with their environments. Offer inclusive and holistic paradigms of education that prioritize experiential learning, cross-cultural dialogue, and a global ethic of peace and justice. Build capacity for conflict transformation, human rights and democratic freedom through partnerships with civil society groups across the globe. Explore new frontiers on understanding of the mind by building bridges between science and spirituality. Support the professional development of future leaders and decision-makers through scholarships and fellowships. Create media products and educational materials that promote the objectives of the Foundation. Nurture an understanding of the relevance and value of Tibetan civilisational heritage to contemporary issues and predicaments.

THE MISSION ƒ

To promote universal responsibility in a manner that respects difference and encourages a diversity of beliefs, practices and approaches.

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To build a global ethic of nonviolence, coexistence, gender equity and peace by facilitating secular processes that cultivate personal and social ethical values.

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To enrich educational paradigms that tap the transformative potential of the human mind.

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Interfaith Dialogue Programme

The Interfaith Dialogue programme seeks to provide space for participants to embrace religious diversity, build cross-cultural understanding and encourage spiritual growth through first hand exploration of different faith traditions. The fourteen-day involves visits to religious centres across South India. It will start from Bengaluru, moving onto Mysuru, Shravanbelagola and Bylakuppe. Two days will be spent at each center. First day will be dedicated to lectures/discussions on each faith and the second day will be spent in attending the prayers. The sessions will be conducted and coordinated by the Centers as per a predetermined schedule after consultation with the Foundation. The Centers may conduct guided tours of the place and visits to their respective places of worship. Participants are requested to bring modest clothing and prepare themselves with basic understanding of each faith before coming. As per the norms of the tour, participants are requested to read the Application Form very carefully and stick to the fundamental instructions. However, there are no rigid directives, participants are requested to be understanding and open hearted. Modest accommodation will be provided at each center with vegetarian meals unless otherwise arranged at nearby commercial areas. The group will be traveling together & using local transport as the Center are within a relatively small geographic areas. During the programme Transportation, Accommodation and Meals will be arranged by the Foundation and group will be escorted by a staff member. During the pilgrimage, some places require extensive walking to reach the destination, we prefer applicants to be physically fit to participate. Should the participants require further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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Eight Interfaith Dialogue Programme By Dalai Lama Foundation Date - 2nd to 16th of May – 2011 Venue - Bengaluru, Shravanbelagola and Bylakuppe (Karnataka state) Total Participants – 20 Faiths – Sikhism, Islamism, Christianity, Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism

My experiences Before I start I want to make clear that here I am not going to give information about religion but I will focus on practical things which I observed in this spiritual journey. I have reached to Bangalore at 4 am in the morning. It was long journey but I was excited to participate interfaith journey with Dalai Lama Foundation. We had first meeting with all participants I was glad to see monks and nuns just seating next to me. I never have live conversation with them before that’s why it becomes more interesting journey which I ever had in my life. Every morning our session starts with meditation early in the morning. I never used to wake early but it was good experience to start life with health

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thoughts. Now I started to wake early in the morning and do some exercise. It’s all credit goes to Interfaith Journey which made me aware on my health. Sikhism - Fist we have visited Gurudwara at Bangalore. I ate food in the ‘Langar’ (free food, served in a Guurdwara). This is the place where all can seat in one row and have a food without any discrimination. I love this place and the concept behind Langar. Islam -

Islam session begin with lots of question came from participants, there

are lots of misunderstanding about faith and through these question we were able to found out the correct answer and how some people using religion as a tool to satisfied their need. At the end of Islamic session all participant could understand the politics behind religion and how to keep away ourselves from bad politics. We went to visit mosque and had a discussion on that later. It was nice interaction with facilitators came after one another. However, I learnt that how to particular things in a different angel through Islamic session. Christian – I have some friends from Christian faiths but I never been get change to visit church on Sunday. It was good experience for me to visit Church. I felt peace in church some time we sang songs with chorus and in between father gave us some speech from Bible. After finishing prey they offer us chicken in the breakfast, I was happy because I thought only I love chicken in breakfast but thanks to God I not alone. Hinduism – For Hinduism session we went to Ramkrishna Temple in Bangalore. It was oldest and big temple. I love the session held with swami. He gave us good understanding about Hinduism. Jainism – It was pleasure for me to met “Shri Charukirthi Bhattaraka Mahaswamiji” at Shravanabelagola. We talk to him and asked some questions related to Jainism. He gave us good idea about faith of Jain. After wonderful meeting with him we met some “Naga Sanyasi” (Nude Monk). They are living their life without any selfishness and they are not depended to anyone. However, I liked the way they are living their life. Earlier I thought that how these people get naked and moving around the people but when I met them personally, I felt that they scarified their life for truth or Faith. But we never understand them without practice and believing them because its matter of faith. After met with 6


Nude Monk I felt something missing in myself because we always bother about our future life like food, clothes, marriage, child, house, car and etc. But without these things life is still possible, So I learnt that try to minimize need as much as possible. Buddhism - Its religion of peace, what I understood in three days of my visit at Bylakuppe, Mysore. As a Muslim I felt Buddhism’s teaching is very much close to Islam teaching. However, one cannot agree with my point but I will explain my experience on Buddhism. Out of 20 participants 10 were Buddhist followers. I felt that they are always ready to help others even they become happy when you ask them for help. They never eat snacks or water without sharing they always concern about other need. They offer others fist then they eat at the last. It’s gave me a hint that what my religion is taking and what I am practicing. Most of the times we are just talking more but doing nothing. I learnt from my Buddhist friends talk less do more. I have started to practice these things in my day to day life but I still to learn more. I thank to them for being part of my life and gave me some wonderful teaching which I will never forget. Conclusion I appreciate the work doing by Dalai Lama Foundation. These types of activity give us more clarity about other as well as once faith. It was my pleaser to joined Interfaith Journey with Dalai Lama Foundation. I love to do interfaith dialogue in my area too so that can help others to reduce misconception about other faiths. Interfaith journey gave me lots of memory and inspiration to work more in this field. SAFIK ANSARI

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A Chance Of Only Once In Lifetime Today is the third day from the expiry of the Inter-Faith Dialogue program, organized by The Foundation For Universal Responsibility Of His Holiness The Dalai Lama. A sense of nostalgia has been floating on the wall of my mind since that particular morning of our final day. As I peel the layers of my memory back to the journey that we covered, there is a tremens sense of gratitude and complacency for the blissful moments. Personally, a fortnight of spiritual journey has injected me the ethical and value-based education, far better than a couple of years of teacher/text centric methodology of imparting education in the college.

The angle of

happiness and motivation kissed on my forehead to see about the program in the mid of my annual university examination for I obtained a precious opportunity to utilize my leisure hours of holiday in a meaningful way. Generally, a duration of two days for each particular religious session is obviously too short to touch and imbibe an unheard and voluminous tradition. Notwithstanding, I felt over elated for it happened at least once in lifetime and what we have afterwards is the footprints that we left in each step. Here, the discussion oriented teaching and the interactive sessions for educating the insight values of each tradition have been main tool for us. Each session has been the most blissful milestones of our life. After all, whether it is a tradition of Guru(Sikhism) , Allah(Islam), God( Christianity),Krishna(Hinduism) or Self fashioning( Jainism and Buddhism),what we have the real gem of essence in store is the core value of all religion is the upliftment of ethical quest and basic human values of love and human fellowship. Religion is a way of living and it is the founding institution of spiritual values. Religion is the engine where spirituality is the fuel. Apart from the different 8


approaches of the concept of creation, all religions lay emphasis for the purification of human soul for eternal happiness and harmony. Personally, I learned to respect other beliefs of understanding their goodness and virtues in the essence of their principles. I was mesmerized by the universal impartial love and charity of the Silkhism, universal brotherhood of Islam, sacrificial redemption and glorification of Mother (The kingdom of paradise lies on the feet of mother.), the simplicity and benevolent livelihood of Jainism and down to earth implementation of the Rama Krishna Movement. The dialogue based sessions cleansed the patches of doubts and erstwhile misconceptions such as the stereotypical concept of Islamic Terrorism. My blurring percept of politicians as the biggest terrorist has logically and informatively proved by the sessions. Significant values of different symbols of each tradition made to respect their worthwhile values. However, while journeying the milestones of the different and diverse traditions, what I was dissatisfied is the boundary between the kingdom of human and animals. The devaluation of animal life in the fake concept of balancing the food chain in the nature diverged my appreciation for their supreme values. After all, this sacred spiritual journey medicated my infected and afflicted attitude of temporary physical comfort and self centric approach in the sail of life. It added a chapter in my life which reminds me that there is a better, holier and long lasting path towards perpetual happiness over material livelihood in the long and perennial journey of life. Religious essences and intrinsic appeals are a sort of campus, directing the ship of human epistemological to a righteous way. Apart from beneficiary in my personal life, it enriched me with the strength to share what I was gifted with my friends and other people in my circle and encourage them to participate in the program in the future. Above all, I owe my deepest thankfulness for the foundation for initiating this esteemed program for the youngsters and may His Holiness life will prolong for thousands of kalpas for illuminating the path of enlightenment for the whole sentient being. -Sonam Dolkar, LSR College, University Of Delhi

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WRITE TO US! Sr. Manager Programmes & Administration Foundation for Universal Responsibility of His Holiness the Dalai Lama Core 4A, UGH India Habitat Centre Lodhi Road, New Delhi - 110003 Tel: (91) (11) 24648450 Fax: (91) (11) 24648451 thuptentsewang@furhhdl.org www.furhhdl.org

Should you have any query with regard to Interfaith Dialogue Programme or any queries in general. We would be glad to hear from you.

REGISTERED OFFICE The Foundation for Universal Responsibility of HH The Dalai Lama Private Office of His Holiness The Dalai Lama Thekchen Choeling, McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala - 176 219 District Kangra Himachal Pradesh India Tax ID No in India: AAATF 0174 E Trust Registration No.7989/ FCRA182450033 Tel: (91 (1892) 21879 Fax: (91) (1892) 21813 www.dalailama.com

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Interfaith Participents Reports 2011