Washington DC— The United States State Department convened the first-ever Ministerial to advance religious freedom. The two-day Ministerial held from 24-25 July took place in the State Department building in Washington DC was attended by more than four hundred heads of religious organisations and civil societies. Ambassador-at-large, Governor Brownback gave the opening remarks.

A video message from His Holiness the Dalai Lama was screened at the gathering. Below is the transcript of the message.

“Spiritual brothers and sisters, firstly I want to express my greetings for your meeting. I consider such a meeting relevant and important. Firstly, still, we need religious faith and then in order to use religious faith more effectively to the harmonious society.

So this conference is useful, I am totally committed to making a contribution from my tradition. I never try to propagate Buddhism. I always think how much from our tradition can make some contribution for people including non-believer in order to develop inner peace.

I think and hope other tradition to think more about humanity than entire humanity will not become a follower of one religion. Over a thousand year different religious tradition exist. In the future also different religious tradition will prevail for other several centuries. It will be beneficial to the people, therefore harmonious existence is important.

I am quite sure that your gathering can certainly make some contribution regarding religious harmony and how to use a certain concept of different religious tradition more effectively. I usually call secular way. Here I must make clear that in according to Indian understanding secular means respect all religion and also a nonbeliever. I think that is realistic. As I mentioned earlier, over 1 billion non-believers are human brothers and sisters. They want and need to have peace of mind. Therefore the secular way to serve people is a more realistic way.

Thank you.”