Upon the request of All Ladakh Student Union Dehradun (ALSUD), His Holiness gave a talk on the topic of "Collaboration and diversity" at the Songtsen Library, Dehradun on 2nd Dec 2016.
His Holiness said, “Collaboration and diversity is a very broad topic. I want to focus on how collaboration and diversity should be reflected in religion and culture.”
‘Although different religions embrace difference perspectives and worldviews, they share the common intention to benefit all beings because every religion has thousands and thousands of disciples. ‘Our goal is not to unify the perspectives of different religions.
Actually, this is not a feasible goal because different religions originated and developed in different historical, social, cultural, and political contexts. Therefore, unifying the perspectives of different religions is not only unnecessary but also unrealistic.
Using Tibetan Buddhism as an example, the style of commentaries written by the the Drepung Monastery is very different from that by Sera Choje. Efforts to unify these two styles is in vein. Similarly, the Dharma protectors of the Western retreat center of the Drikung Thil Monastery would not protect retreatants from the Eastern retreat center. Since we have a diverse world population, we need a variety of religions to meet a variety of needs. This is just like we need different kinds of medicines to treat different types of diseases. From a holistic point of view, if you see flowers of various colors and kinds blossom at the same time in the same garden, you will say “wow, this is so beautiful.”
‘We have already entered the 21st century. Technology and economic advancement have shortened the physical distance between people around the globe. As a result, the style of our clothes, our diet, languages, religions, and etc. are constantly influenced by that of other cultures and regions. For this reason, we should not engage in sectarianism like the early years because sectarianism is not about religion, rather, it is the exploitation of religion for political and economic purposes, which reflects only the selfishness of one’s mind. I often talk about our responsibilities in benefiting all sentient beings as many as boundlesss pace. What we need now is action. We need to liberate ourselves from the narrowed mindset of sectarianism and a bandonour attachment to a specific religion or denomination. Instead, we need to unite the forces of different religions around the world to fight for peace and environment preservation for all. The 21st century needs a united action like this.
‘Next March, all environmental organizations in Ladakh will collaborate together to improve the Go Organic Go Green project in the Himalayan region. The only way to eliminate the threats facing our current environment is to unite forces of different resources in a cooperative effort. Environment preservation is a large-scale cause that needs collaboration and action. ‘The most valuable heritage of an ethic/racial group is its culture. With the help of modern technology, many precious cultural heritages are preserved and promoted on the internet. What also needs to happen in the 21st century is more cross-cultural communication and learning. People from different cultures need to better understand each other and learn from each other’s strengths. In this way, our world will be more united and harmonious.
‘For this purpose, we will host a three-day World Indigenous Culture Festival in March of 2018 in New Delhi, India.’
His Holiness also mentioned that he is offering help to the preparation of the construction of the Himalayan Institute of Alternatives ( HIA ) that will be built at the foot of the Phyang Monastery. His Holiness shared his belief that the establishment of HIA will offer a brighter future for young people who aren’t able to study in the university of Ladakh. The audience applauded when they heard about this great news. In addition, His Holiness talked about the Shravasti Cultural Assembly and the inauguration of the Shravasti Shrine in next November. His Holiness shared that his vision is to turn Shravasti into a holy pilgrimage site for Buddhists from all over the world.
In the half-hour question and answer session, His Holiness explained the differences between love, kindness, and compassion. He also shared future plans of Go Green Go Organic as well as Nature Restoration Action. The student council of University of Dreradrong performed traditional dances after the Q & A session. The event concluded with all staffs talking a group picture with His Holiness.