Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama. (Phayul file photo)
DHARAMSHALA, January 23: Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama is scheduled to speak on the first day of the prestigious DSC Jaipur Literature Festival beginning tomorrow.
The festival, which is the largest literary festival in Asia-Pacific, will be held at the heritage property, Diggi Palace in the Rajasthani capital of Jaipur from January 24-28.
The Dalai Lama will hold a session Thursday afternoon on the topic, 'Kinships of Faiths: Finding the Middle Way' with one of his biographers and renowned writer, Pico Iyer.
The session will be held at the Front Lawns from 2:15 pm to 3:15 pm.
A statement issued by the organising committee of the Festival quoted the Dalai Lama as saying: "Literature has played a major role in my life. Since childhood, reading has been of great importance to me and I am often reminded of the immense kindness of the scholars of the past who translated a vast array of Buddhist literature into Tibetan".
The festival this year has devoted a special segment to Buddhism for the first time aimed at exploring the origin of the faith 2,500 years ago to how it has evolved to reach out to the younger generations as a way of life and ethical code.
Festival co-director Namita Gokhale said: "The Buddha`s impact on humanity lies beyond religion and theology. The entire fabric of Asian society - from Central Asia and Afghanistan to China and Japan - has been deeply influenced by the philosophy of Buddhism. Today Buddhism is a way of life for many people around the world. The internal journey of awakening and personal evolution is mirrored in the literature, art and cultural practice of Buddhism. Our sessions on `The Buddha in Literature` are a tribute to the way of seeing and knowing taught by the Buddha."
A session, `If You Meet the Buddha on the Road` will include discussions between Victor Chan, Karma Ura, Siddiq Wahid, Ranjini Obeyesekere and Nayanjot Lahiri on their experiences with Buddhism and their explorations of the many paths of the Buddha`s dharma".
Another session, "Women on the Path" will have Ranjini Obeyesekere from Sri Lanka, Kunzang Choden from Bhutan, Ani Choying from Nepal, and writer Swati Chopra discussing the place of women within Buddhist theology and issues they face on the spiritual path.
Noted author and co-director, William Dalrymple noted that the Festival for the first time will have “the pleasure of wandering through the rich pastures of Buddhist literature.”
“The presence of the Dalai Lama is a particular honour for the festival and a delight for me personally," Dalrymple said.
The mornings at Diggi Palace will witness Buddhist devotional songs by Chukie Tethong and Tenzin Norbu, chants by the Drepung Loseling monks and, hymns by Ani Choying.
This year's festival will also feature author Zoe Heller and Booker Prize winner Howard Jacobson.
Entering its sixth year, DSC Jaipur Literature Festival is the most prestigious celebration of national and international literature to be held in India.