Bengalaru — The spiritual leader of Tibet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said that there is a need for such an approach to fostering moral principles, he ventured, based on common sense, common experience and scientific findings.
After his arrival in Mysore the morning of December 13th, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was received by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Mysore, KS Rangappa, at the doors of the University, where His Holiness graced the 97th Convocation.
Vice-Chancellor Rangappa explained to the audience in Crawford Hall that in its centenary year this was the University of Mysore's 97th Convocation. Accolades of excellence have been showered on the university, from where this year 24,000 are graduating; among them women predominate. Honorary Doctorates of Literature were bestowed on His Holiness and Smt Pramoda Devi Wodeyar, who as widow of the last heir of the erstwhile royal family of Mysore, represents a link to the Maharaja regarded as the University's founder.
Giving the Convocation Address, His Holiness paid due respect to his fellow dignitaries and other guests, and added:
"Usually I prefer to begin by greeting my brothers and sisters, which is what I believe we are. All 7 billion human beings on this planet today are physically, mentally and emotionally the same. We need to recognize this whatever our nationality, color, background or status may be. Too many problems we face today derive from focusing on just such differences between us. The only way to overcome them is to see that we are the same. We all want to be happy and that is our right.
"I am happy and honored to participate in this convocation ceremony at one of the country's oldest universities. I have a special link and a fondness for Karnataka which goes back to Nijalingappa's friendship and generosity to Tibetans.
"I also want to express my gratitude to you for granting me this honorary degree, which I have received having done very little to earn it, whereas the majority of today's graduates will have worked very hard for their degrees. Thank you, too for this gift of a watch, which reminds me of the pocket watch I received as a small boy from President Roosevelt."
His Holiness went on to say that we are today facing something of a crisis of moral principles. While all religious traditions have the potential to encourage moral principles, of the 7 billion human beings alive today, 1 billion have no interest in religion and of the other 6 billion, many don't really take it seriously. Consequently, he said, we need to find a more universal and inclusive approach to inculcating moral principles. He asked if it could be done through prayer, but expressed skepticism, concluding that it can only be achieved through education.
He pointed out that India has traditionally cultivated a secular approach that accords all religious traditions respect, even evincing regard for the views of non-believers. There is a need for such an approach to fostering moral principles, he ventured, based on common sense, common experience and scientific findings.
"What's most important," His Holiness clarified, "is warm-heartedness and concern for others. We are social animals, we depend on others to survive, so it makes sense for us to be concerned about them. Nowadays, interested people in the USA, Europe and her in India are taking practical steps towards developing a secular approach to encouraging a sense of universal values.
"I also often tell my Indian friends that this country has the potential to combine modern scientific and technological knowledge and development with the wisdom to be found in ancient Indian knowledge. The philosophy and science of mind that we received from India, we Tibetans have kept alive—but it belongs to you.
"For many of you who have graduated today, real life now begins. You have already proved that your brains are smart, but you will also need a warm heart and a concern for others' well-being if you are to succeed. These qualities will bring honesty and transparency to whatever you do, which is what will also earn others' trust and friendship, enabling you to put your education to meaningful use. Thank you."
Closing the convocation, His Holiness was invited to lunch at the Vice-Chancellor's residence before his return to Bengalaru on the 14th.