His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the inauguration of the 80th Sivagiri Annual Pilgrimage in Varkala, Kerala, India, on November 24, 2012. (Photo/OHHDL/Tenzin Choejor)
DHARAMSHALA, November 25: Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Saturday addressed the inaugural ceremony of the 80th Sivagiri Annual Pilgrimage in the south Indian town of Varkala.
“It’s a great honour for me to participate in this 80th annual pilgrimage, recalling Sree Narayana Guru, who led such a meaningful life,” the Dalai Lama said. “Historically, in the 7th and 8th centuries, the great philosopher and logician Shantarakshita brought Buddhism to Tibet and we became chelas of India. As such I feel it a great honour to come here and participate in this meeting.”
Following the decades old tradition, pilgrims, for the next 10 days, will follow austerity or self-purification observing the Buddha’s principles of the five purities of body, food, mind, word and deed.
Eminent personalities present at the inauguration included Bhrama Shree Prakashananda Swamikal, G. Karthikeyan, Speaker of the Kerala Legislative Assembly, and His Grace Rev. Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostom, Marthoma Valiya Metropolitan.
Reminding the audience that violence and war had claimed 200 million lives in the previous century, the Tibetan spiritual leader in his speech made a fervent call to make the 21st century strife-free and peaceful.
“Peace will not fall from the skies or emanate from the earth. No resolution of the United Nations or science and technology by itself can bring peace,” the Nobel peace laureate said. “Peace must come from inner peace in the hearts of individuals. A healthy mind creates a healthy man.”
“Once we develop empathy, compassion and concern for others, openness, trust, transparency and respect for others arise spontaneously. Once we develop concern for others, mistrust and suspicion vanish on their own accord.”
The Dalai Lama released the logo of an exhibition to be held in connection with the annual pilgrimage and also paid his respects at the samadhi of Sree Narayana Guru, at Sarada Mutt and at Vaidik Mutt, where Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi had visited.
The Tibetan spiritual leader was also invited to plant a tree in the grounds to commemorate his visit.
“As a chela of India, I am very happy to see you uphold these great traditions of ahimsa and inter-religious harmony and respect. To come here and sit among these various religious leaders makes me very happy,” the Dalai Lama said. “But as your Guru has taught, it is not enough to recite Sanskrit verses; we must reach out to the poor who need help and bring them education and health.”