DHARAMSHALA: In a one-ofits-kind initiative, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama interacted with tourists at the main Buddhist temple in McLeodganj on Monday.
In a dialogue with tourists at the Tsuglagkhang courtyard in McLeodganj, he expressed admiration at the secular nature of India’s thousands of years tradition which respects all religious traditions, saying, “India is home to all of the world’s major religious traditions and also respects non believers. This is really wonderful and something to be proud of.”

He also condemned the discriminating caste system in India, saying it should be discontinued.

The Dalai Lama said the inner peace was the basis of self-confidence and that children should be taught about inner values and moral principles through a secular approach in schools instead of self-centred attitude. He said modern education focuses too much on the minor differences such as nationality, faith and economic conditions.

“Killing in name of religion is ridiculous. Shia-Sunni fight, Christian-Muslim feud and conflicts between Catholics and Protestants are disturbing,” he said.

The Nobel Peace Laureate also emphasised on the importance of Tibetan language, saying it was the only one that has preserved India’s ancient knowledge. “The rich ancient knowledge of Nalanda is lost to the world now. However, due to the painstaking effort of the Tibetan translators, this knowledge is now available only in Tibetan language. Therefore, the preservation and study of Tibetan language is crucial.”

He also spoke about various issues related to China, India and Tibet. “It is not preferable in my age to go Potala Palace in Tibet. But it was very necessary to protect the Tibetan language. About 300 volumes of ancient Indian knowledge were translated into Tibetan. Sanskrit is almost dying. There is not much hope from modern Hindi and English,” he added.

The Dalai Lama escaped from Tibet to India in March 1959. The Tibetan administration in exile is based in the north Indian hill town of Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh.