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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Religious harmony

February 1, 2011

TNN, Jan 29, 2011, 12.04am IST

The inability of human beings to control their agitated minds is the
root cause of man-made problems. Thanks to the tremendous stride in
technological advancement and human intelligence in recent times, the
quality of research on both the inner and physical world has reached
higher levels. However, the world is also facing a lot of new problems,
most of which are man-made.

More than a thousand years have passed since the great religions of the
world flourished, including Buddhism. During those years, the world had
witnessed a lot of conflicts. I acknowledge the fact that different
religions of the world have provided many solutions about how to control
an agitated mind. However, I still feel we have not been able to realise
our full potential.

According to Buddhist philosophy, happiness is the result of an
enlightened mind, whereas suffering is caused by a distorted mind. A
distorted mind, in contrast to an enlightened mind, is one that is not
in tune with reality.

Any issue, including political, economic and religious activities human
beings pursue in this world, should be fully understood before we pass
our judgement. I want to emphasise the importance for practitioners to
sincerely believe in their respective religions. It is very important to
distinguish between "belief in one religion" and "belief in many

The former directly contradicts the latter. In the past it was not a
major problem because nations remained aloof from each other with their
own distinct religion. However, in today's close and inter-connected
world there are so many differences. For example, there have been a lot
of religions in India. Despite this, the fact is that these religions
have been able to coexist with each other, and the principle of Ahimsa
has really flourished in this country. Even today, this principle has a
strong bearing on every religion. This is very precious and Indiashould
really take pride in it.

In such a society it is very important to have harmony and respect
amongst the different religions so we must distinguish between belief
and respect. Belief refers to total faith, which you must have in your
own religion. At the same time you should have respect for all other

If a harmonious relationship is established amongst societies and
religious beliefs in today's multi-ethnic, multi-religious and
multi-cultural world, then it will surely set a very good example for
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