Dharamshala: - Reaffirming the importance of education everywhere in the world, His Holiness the Dalai Lama on 16 July 2014, in Leh, Ladakh, J&K, India said that secular ethics is most relevant for creating a happier and more peaceful world. In the 21st century secular ethics is what is most appropriate and relevant for creating a happier and more peaceful world.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited the Central Institute of Buddhist Studies, Choglamsar, where he first consecrated a new set of statues representing the Buddha and his first five disciples.
He entered the auditorium where faculty members and students awaited him as Jamyang Khyentse's Prayer for His Holiness's Long Life was recited. The Director welcomed His Holiness and recalling his gratitude for his own education avowed his dedication to the training of students today.
His Holiness expressed his admiration for the progress the Institute is making and reaffirmed the importance of education everywhere in the world. He said:
"Of course we need to make material progress, but we need inner development too. We need the inspiration to develop within ourselves. We need secular ethics, that is a sense of ethics that has universal appeal while respectful of the followers of all religious traditions and even those who have none. In the 21st century secular ethics is what is most appropriate and relevant for creating a happier and more peaceful world."
He reiterated his advice to be less attached to one Tibetan Buddhist tradition or the other and to pay more attention to the general teachings of the Buddha. He also commended the recent launch of two volumes dealing with Buddhist science extracted from wider Buddhist literature. He looks forward to these books being studied on a more academic basis, making the knowledge within them available to interested people whatever their personal faith.
Gentle rain fell as His Holiness drove to Saboo Thang in the undeveloped area above Choglamsar, where the Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA) have launched a new project. He unveiled first the foundation stones for the LBA Lotus Eco Village and a Passive Solar Hostel Block, followed by a large graphic representation of the master plan. The Director explained that the intention is to benefit the poor and needy. Dr Tondup Tsewang explained that the impetus for the project had arisen as a result of the flash flood of 2010. His Holiness responded:
"Dharma friends and guests, I'm only able to make a brief visit now, but I'm honoured by your invitation. I've been coming to Ladakh for the last forty years or so and have seen rapid progress in many places, especially in the field of education. Among Ladakhis are Muslims and Christians as well as Buddhists by faith, but all of them are influenced by Ladakhi culture, which is Buddhist by and large; a culture of peace, non-violence and compassion. Therefore this project fostering those values will surely contribute to Ladakh's development."
Turning to the students sat before him, he asked them to study hard, telling them how he now regrets that when he was their age he preferred to play. He announced that he would like to make a donation of ten lakh rupees from the Dalai Lama Trust to the project, also recommending that any surplus from the Kalachakra Empowerment funds could be put towards it too.
"I'll see you again," he said with a smile, "but remember that the real development we seek is not in the buildings but in our hearts and minds."