Indian Jesuit college honors Dalai Lama
Invitation was to show solidarity with the Tibetan struggle, says principal
February 1, 2011
“We invited him to show our solidarity with him and the Tibetan struggle,” Father Ambrose Pinto, principal of St. Joseph’s College, Bangalore, told ucanews.com yesterday.
The Tibetan spiritual leader was the guest speaker at the Josephite Summit, a meeting of past and present students, their parents and the college’s well wishers.
Some 3,000 people attended this year’s summit on Jan. 30.
Father Pinto described Dalai Lama as the mahatma (great soul) of the world. “By inviting him we wanted to affirm the diversity of the world we live in, and send a message that Buddhism was a great religion and we have great respect for it,” Father Pinto added.
The Dalai Lama praised Christian contributions to India’s education sector. The 76-year old Buddhist monk said the Tibetan struggle is not for separation from China but to preserve “our way of life and culture.”
According to the Dalai Lama, conversion through monetary and other inducements is harmful and against religious principles.
Conversion without the full awareness and knowledge of a religion by a person is unfair, he added. He said some Buddhists in Mongolia have joined Christianity lured by money.
The Nobel Peace laureate also disapproved of Hindu extremists attacking churches on the pretext of checking alleged conversions. Such incidents are against the tolerant nature of Hinduism, which he said is the most inclusive religion in the world.
The Tibetan spiritual leader termed India as a model of ahimsa (non-violence) and religious harmony. He said everyone knows the sporadic incidents of communal disharmony in India are caused by “mischievous elements.”
Some 100 Tibetan students study in the college, which was founded 128 years ago. It imparts graduate, post-graduation and research education to more than 5,000 students.
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