“Dear brothers and sisters,” His Holiness began, “you Indians were historically our gurus, so I’m very happy to meet with a group of you here. Among the ancient civilizations of China, Egypt and the Indus Valley, Indian civilization seems to have produced the greatest number of creative thinkers.
“I have great admiration for the spirit of ahimsa, non-violence, and secular pluralism that typify India. Because of these traditions, compared to her neighbours, India is remarkably stable and harmonious. It’s the only country I can think of where all our major religious traditions live amicably side by side. Advani told me that India’s secular respect extends even to those who have no faith, pointing out that although the Charvakas took a nihilist view, their teachers were still referred to as rishis or sages. Such a broad view is relevant when, of the 7 billion human beings alive today, 1 billion profess no faith.
“With regard to non-violence, it is worth remembering that the demarcation is not necessarily in the kind of the action so much as the motivation. Harsh words out of concern for another’s well-being are non-violent, but a smile and soft words with an intention to cheat and deceive can be seen as violent.”
“After 58 years, I am the Government of India’s longest standing guest. My mind is filled with Indian knowledge and my body has been nourished by Indian rice, dal and chapatis. This is why I sometimes call myself a Son of India. I consider it my duty to repay the kindness I have received by sharing the knowledge of the Nalanda tradition we Tibetans have kept alive.”
Finally, thanking His Holiness for his international contributions, members of the audience dedicated three recitations of the Gayatri mantra to his well-being.