The Dalai Lama speaking on the first day of the Jaipur Literature Festival on the topic, "Kinships of Faiths: Finding the Middle Way" on January 24, 2013. (Photo/AP)
DHARAMSHALA, January 25: The Front Lawns at the Diggi Palace in Jaipur was packed to the rafters as Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama made his way on to the stage to address the opening day of the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival Thursday afternoon.
Blending with the mood of the Festival, the Dalai Lama began his conversation speaking on the influence that literature had on his life.
“As a young boy, I was not much interested in philosophy,” he said. But “stories, like the Jataka stories, some of them are very moving.”
He enjoyed reading stories that showed the capacity of a human being or an animal to help another person, he said, but joked that he did not like stories about miracles because he did not believe in them.
“Whenever I have time, I’m always reading the root texts of Buddhism I learned when I was 6 or 7 years old,” he said while stressing on the importance of debate and investigation as a tool of learning.
The Dalai Lama spoke about India's immense contribution to learning since ancient days beginning with the Nalanda University, in his talk, which kicked off a series of sessions that would speak on Buddhism and its influence on literature during the five-day event.
"India is our guru we are the chelas and the source of all the knowledge we have has come from Nalanda," the Nobel Peace laureate said.
In his conversation with noted writer Pico Iyer, on the topic, "Kinships of Faiths: Finding the Middle Way," the Tibetan spiritual leader called India a "living example of how different religions and communities can live in coexistence."
"India's greatness lies in the idea of Ahimsa. This country is a living example for the world to see how so many religions can exist together for centuries," he said.
People listen to the Dalai Lama, on the opening day of the Jaipur Literature Festival on January 24, 2013. (Photo/AP)
The Dalai Lama stressed on the importance of secular ethics as the basis of moral teachings and noted that morality based on religious teaching cannot be universal.
“India’s constitution is based on secularism; secularism does not mean to disrespect religion but rather to respect all religions and also respect nonbelievers,” the 77-year-old exiled leader said.
Praising Indian democratic ideals, His Holiness said China has much to learn from India and called for "genuine friendship" between the two Asian giants.
"China is world's most populous country and India is one of the world's most populous democratic country. China could learn much from India," he said. "Genuine friendship between India and China is essential. On the basis of mutual trust the Hindi-Chini bhai bhai relation is essential."
Supporting more security for women in the wake of increasing cases of violence against women, he said, "These days I have been noticing that big cities are reporting so many incidents of violence like rapes, murders. We must provide more security for women."
Later, speaking to the press, the Dalai Lama noted that the mistakes of the twentieth century should not be repeated, calling the last century “an era of violence and bloodshed.”
“If this had led to positive change it might have been justified, but instead it produced pain, fear and widespread destruction. Now in the twenty-first century if we are not to repeat these mistakes, we need to make it instead a century in which dialogue is the way we solve our problems,” the Dalai Lama said.
Entering its sixth year, DSC Jaipur Literature Festival is the most prestigious celebration of national and international literature to be held in India.