I am so fortunate to have the opportunity today to express to his Holiness the Dalai Lama the deep feelings of gratitude towards him that I have carried in my heart for the last few years. The Prophet Muhammad may God’s peace and blessings be upon him said ‘One who does not give thanks to people does not give thanks to God’. I am grateful to you your Holiness for being an example to all of us and to me in particular of the possibility of remaining dignified in the face of persecution, of witnessing to what remains beautiful
and not being overwhelmed by what is ugly, of performing acts of generosity towards all people.
HH Dalai Lama:
In the philosophical field, I think all major religious traditions, whether theistic or non-theistic, all accept certain ultimate truth that is something beyond expression, beyond words, inconceivable and beyond words. So think about that ultimate truth and ultimate reality and remain in silent meditation, for one minute or half a minute. Half a minute, I think.
Indeed I feel very, very happy. This is, I think, one result out of many years effort with sincere motivation. Basically, after I had more interaction with followers of different tradition I developed the firm conviction that despite different philosophy, all carry the same message, message of love and compassion. All have the same ability to bring happiness on humanity on this earth.
Then as far as Muslim is concerned, since my childhood, in Tibet, in Lhasa at least I think these last four centuries there has been a Muslim community there. In Lhasa those, I think, a few hundred or a few thousand Muslim community, no record of quarrel, very, very peaceful, very gentle. That is the Tibetan impression, my own impression since my childhood.
Then, actually one Muslim who also did repair work for watches. So I as a restless young boy offered my watch damaged, so I called him to repair, and at that time of course mainly pocket watch and so then he advised me that a person who keeps a watch should have the feeling that in my pocket is an egg, so be cautious, be careful. So that means he criticized me that there is too much restlessness, carelessness. I remember that. Very gentle, very, very gentle.
Then after I came to India some sad news about struggle, of quarrel between Shi’a and Sunni and between Catholic and Protestants and also in Sri Lanka sometimes between Buddhists and Hindus and then particularly after September 11 event some people create impression that Muslims, Islam as a whole is something more militant. That I feel is very, very unfair. Some mischievous people are in any religion. Among Buddhists also some mischievous people are there. Also among Christians, among Jews, among Muslims among Hindus everywhere. As far as Buddhism is concerned, even when Buddha himself was there some mischievous Buddhist were there. That’s obvious. Some of these sad sort of activities, so called terrorism, terror acts some of these people have Muslim background are from the Muslim community but that’s ok some mischievous people are always there. That cannot represent the whole teaching of the Muslim tradition.
So since then wherever I participated in inter-faith service I always come to [……] different Islam. Whether you like it or not it is one of the important religions for this planet [and there is] immense benefit for those who sincerely practice Islam. They found some purpose of life, meaning of life like in any other religion. So therefore I made every effort to reach out to Muslim brothers and sisters because sometimes because of certain atmosphere certain sort of impression they are a little bit isolated. This is not good. We must bring together all people particularly all religious people. So with that, one meeting a representative from whether he was a representative or individual person who come from all Muslim countries then on another occasion, I can’t remember I met some Muslims, some brothers and a very few sisters. I really should express now you Muslim community must do something there in Iraq. Innocent people killing in the name of Islam. Very sad, is it not so morally wrong just watching and say ‘oh so bad’. Do something.
And then while I was in India there is a large number of Muslim community there. So on some occasion they also invite me and I always wear a cap. One day, one time in Delhi in the oldest and biggest Mosque I went there with Muslim brothers and some sisters also there I think, and I wear that hat and then according to Muslim practice remain like that [gestures with hands] and then like that [gestures with hands]. Lot of photographers there so next day many national and local newspapers [published] my picture. I had a little anxiety.
Some hardline Hindus or even Buddhists may criticize but then research according to my friend, my participation and wearing that hat [created an] immense positive impression among the Hindus. The Muslim community is also part of Indian community so that picture should bring us closer. Many of my Hindu friends very much appreciate this.
I went as a pilgrim to Ajmer. Wonderful, wonderful experience. So then I think two or three times I visit Amman, Jordan. Since my first visit we developed a very close friendship with Prince Ghazi. Wonderful person. Wonderful person. And of course a young energetic Prince. Wonderful, wonderful. So I had the impression that same Muslim but due to different environment sometimes there are a little, some differences. I notice Muslims in India, Muslims in Malaysia, Muslims in Indonesia, Muslims in Arab, some differences. And I think I must say Muslims in Ladakh in Buddhist community, and Muslim in Japan because of the environment much open, much closer with other traditions. So therefore it is very clear we must reach out. We must make more effort to reach out.
So then from Muslim community side in order to become a little bit easier to reach out to other religion particularly Buddhism…. his thinking wonderful, I think he as far as oh.. some Ladakhi Muslim also you see wrote some small booklet closer to Buddhism. Otherwise I think this version is among the Arab world I think very rare. But really there is some initiative. It is very, very wonderful. It is highly necessary. It is our duty to support this effort, so I thank to you [RSK] who wrote this book. Then of course I always remember this wonderful person [Prince Ghazi] and I pray all his wish materialize within a short period so that at least some trouble due to too much distance from other tradition that certainly can reduce. So, I am very, very happy and great honour to be at the launching of the book so please read more, and buy more.