New Delhi — His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama began his last day in New Delhi, December 11th, before traveling to South India at the Ashoka Hotel where Tushita Meditation Center was holding their 21st Dharma Celebration. Greeted on arrival by Zopa Rinpoche and Tushita Director Renuka Singh, His Holiness was welcomed into the hall filled with hundreds of eager audience members.
The event also served as a double book release; one about Guru Padmasambhava by Aruna Vasudev and another about Nagarjuna by Mohini Noon. Vasudev explained that these were the inaugural volumes of a series of six about Indian Buddhist masters intended for Indian readers. His Holiness greatly praised Nagarjuna's teachings, saying, “I’ve been thinking about what he taught for more than 60 years and I can say it’s had a reducing effect on my destructive emotions.”
Beginning his teaching His Holiness started, “However differently we may sit or dress, we are all the same. We all have destructive and positive emotions. Sometimes we’re happy, sometimes we’re sad. Mentally, physically and emotionally we are the same. You may be aware of my discussions with scientists over the last 30 years. Recently some of them came up with evidence that basic human nature is compassionate. We are also social animals, so considering others as ‘us’ and ‘them’ is wrong. It prompts division and conflict.
“Many of the problems we face, like this, are of our own making. We have to solve them ourselves. After the suffering that marked the 20th century, we should make efforts not to repeat it. Money and military power won’t help. What we need to do is to show each other affection on the basis that we are all the same as human beings. This is something I try to make people all over the world aware of.”
Explaining that although he retired from political responsibility in 2011, as a Tibetan, His Holiness remains committed to the protection of the natural environment of Tibet and the preservation of Tibetan language and culture. This culture is rooted in the Nalanda tradition of Buddhism that entails rigorous study and practice. In this connection he remarked that tomorrow he will leave for South India. While he is there he will award the first group of nuns to have completed their Buddhist studies with Geshe-ma degrees—a significant achievement.
Answering questions from the audience, His Holiness recalled a friend who told him that while he seemed to have a scientific bent, he was surprised that he apparently believed in the function of oracles. His Holiness’s response was that there are indications of the existence of many other kinds of beings than those we can see and touch.
Asked what can make children more compassionate, he replied, “Education”.
Finally, someone wanted to know if His Holiness had ever wanted to live an ordinary life. He recounted that when quite young he was undertaking a retreat in the Potala in the presence of the Regent. At the end of the day, the Regent would fall asleep and His Holiness would hear boys and girls singing aloud below the Potala as they brought their animals home from grazing. He said he fleetingly wished he could be like them. However, he added, he later realized that the position he occupies had great potential to be of benefit to the Dharma and beings.
As His Holiness’s talk concluded, Zopa Rinpoche read an elaborate, heartfelt vote of thanks, after which His Holiness rejoined the Laureates and Leaders gathering to witness the Honorable President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, kick off the 100 Million for 100 Million campaign.
5000 schoolchildren from across India and beyond were assembled on the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan. In the main courtyard within the building Kailash Satyarthi gave an introduction to the campaign about to be launched. He declared that while 100 million children in the world still suffer and are deprived of education, change lies with children. He explained that he envisaged a movement in which 100 million better off children would commit themselves to supporting and helping the 100 million children left out.
“We want a world in which we all share wealth and power,” he said.
In the presence of His Holiness and Nobel laureates Tawakkol Karman and Leymah Gbowee, as well as former Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, First Lady of Panama, Lorena Castillo, and other leaders, the President of India spoke in support. He drew attention to the significance of the campaign being launched from Rashtrapati Bhavan, the place that symbolizes the Republic of India’s commitment to democracy, pluralism and secularism. He said:
“Despite developments we have made, 100 million children are not in school. Humanity must see that there is no progress unless our children are safe and secure, unless they have the opportunity to become agents for change for the good of humanity. May every child be free from want, fear and exploitation. Jai Hind.”
Coming down into the forecourt, Kailash Satyarthi was cheered by the assembled children, His Holiness too was applauded when he joined him. Many hands joined his in flagging off the campaign and balloons bearing the messages - ‘100 Million of 100 Million’ - and - ‘Do Your Bit for Children’ were released and rose into the sky.
His Holiness left Delhi for South India the following morning, December 12th, with Mysore as his first stop.