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12_November_2012_004Dharamshala: Below is an extract of Kalon Pema Choejor's speech on Sunday 11 November 2012. The speech, which focused on Pilgrimage and Religious Harmony, was delivered at the World Pilgrimage Festival in South Korea.

Source: Central Tibetan Administration "I would like to say that the pilgrimage is one of the important facets of our culture. It is done with motivation to seek Buddhahood for the benefit of others and this practice is followed from ancient times in Tibet. I am sure this is same in Korea also. I believe you all have earned many merits during this time. We share common faith.

The promotion of religious harmony is one of the most important commitments of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. He is leading us with example to respect other religion and coexist with people following different faiths.

He travels wide across the world meeting religious leaders of different faiths, visiting churches, temples, gurudwaras, and mosques. And, also attends interfaith dialogue, prayer sessions, and preach in several occasions. He initiated and instituted dialogue between Science and Buddhism which is becoming very popular in Western Countries.

He always tells us: "follow your own faith with respect to others" and "all faiths are equal when it comes to showing us the path of a happy and compassionate life". The motivation of all religions and practices is similar, which is to spread message of love, compassion, forgiveness, sincerity, and honesty.

The basic goal is the benefit of humankind with each type of system seeking in its own ways to improve the life of human beings. As you know even the faith that we follow is categorized as Theravada, Hinayana, and Mahayana. These have occurred because Lord Buddha has adopted different approaches in his teachings. He has taught on the basis of mental disposition of human beings. So, different faiths have evolved only because of differences in the mental disposition of human beings.

Thus, I would like to stress on importance of "religious harmony". We shouldn't let our emotion and greed overpower our sense to forget about the common features of all faiths. We are all same human being. We all need happiness and avoid sufferings. Happiness is also achieved by respecting religious freedom of others and abiding to one's faith sincerely and honestly.

May the teachings of Lord Buddha spread far and wide and sentient beings gain freedom from sufferings!"

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