Kangra, HP, India — "The 1.3 billion Chinese people deserve to be given reliable information and if they were could make their own judgement about what is right and wrong," His Holiness said during the inauguration of the multimedia company "Himachal Abhi Abhi" in Kangra on Saturday, May 9.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama was was welcomed on arrival by Dr Rajesh Sharma, founder of the Balaji Hospital and Shree Balaji Media Innovations, and local MLA and Minister for Housing, Town and Country Planning in the Himachal Pradesh Government, Mr Sudhir Sharma. His Holiness was ushered into the new media building adjacent to the hospital, which will be home to Himachalabhiabhi.com a bilingual new news app.
Before launching the app, His Holiness was briefly interviewed for it by Anil Patwar who asked he what felt PM Narendra Modi might talk about when he goes to China next week. He replied:
"I'm sure as Prime Minister, he knows best, but he might mention India and Tibet's unique more than one thousand year old relationship. All our knowledge came from India, so we have a special relationship of Guru and disciple. Today, I am very concerned about the preservation of Tibetan culture, which is essentially ancient Indian culture. We follow the Buddhadharma and the Buddha taught in India, as the Prime Minister himself was observing the other day at Buddha Purnima celebrations in Delhi. And the traditions we preserved in Tibet belong to the Nalanda tradition that was introduced to us by Shantarakshita.
"He might also talk about the environment, the importance of the Brahmaputra and other rivers that rise in Tibet on which more than a billion people depend."
When asked what kind of birth he might choose next, His Holiness jokingly replied, "A woman?" and went on to explain how he had once told a French journalist that it could very well be possible for a Dalai Lama to be born as a woman. He cited the example of other high reincarnations in Tibet who were women.
"Personally, I don't know where I'll be born, but I always remember the prayer:
For as long as space endures
And for as long as living beings remain,
Until then may I too abide
To dispel the misery of the world.
"The first Dalai Lama, who was a great scholar and practitioner, when he reached about my age and commented that he was getting old, was told by his disciples that he would probably go to a Pure Land. He told them that wasn't what he wished for at all. He wanted to be where he could relieve others' suffering."
Asked why the Chinese authorities seem to have such misapprehensions about him despite his being a man of peace, he said they tend to see things only from a political point of view. He gave the example of the Cultural Revolution, which was praised while it was going on. When it was over it was described as having had some advantages and some drawbacks. Much later it was said to have been completely destructive. This suggests a difficulty in appraising things realistically.
His Holiness said that the 1.3 billion Chinese people deserve to be given reliable information and if they were could make their own judgement about what is right and wrong. By comparison he praised India as a wonderful country where freedom flourishes. He remarked that while he generally considers himself one of the 7 billion human beings alive today, he has lived the last 56 years in India.
"I am a messenger for India, a son of India, but if you ask which part of the country I've spent the most time in, it's Himachal Pradesh. And I'd like to extend my greetings to the Himachali people and the wish that they will go from success to success."
Flanked by Dr Rajesh Sharma and Mr Sudhir Sharma, His Holiness cut the ribbon to the portal hub and was invited to sit at one of the computer desks where Anil Patwar guided him in launching the new news app, Himachalabhiabhi.com
Addressing an invited audience of about 200 downstairs, His Holiness said that this was the first time he had launched a new app and that he was not well acquainted with the use of computers.
"But," he noted, "they are part of the 21st century, a time when I think people's attitudes are changing. People are becoming opposed to the use of violence to settle conflicts, they are more concerned about the natural environment and they are concerned to find ways to close the gap between rich and poor. And the more they recognise corruption, that seems to erupt everywhere, the more they are opposed to it. The reason for this is that people's awareness has grown. A special quality we human beings possess is our intelligence and in order to employ it we need access to more and better information.
"It's clear that in this the world's most populous democratic country, the media have a very important role. This includes a role in educating people. But educating the brain alone provides no guarantee of living a happy life. We need also to educate people about karuna, warm-heartedness, which will enable them to live as happy individuals, in happy families, in a happy society."