During the inter-faith conference at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was conferred with the Syedna Qutbuddin Harmony Prize on Thursday. The meeting was an initiative of the Qutbi Jubilee Scholarship Program and the Centre of Arabic and African Studies of JNU as part of their Taqreeb Conference Series that began in Kolkata.
The Tibetan spiritual leader was attending the inaugural session of the inter-religious conference where after the short welcome note from the Vice Chancellor of JNU, Prof Jagadesh Kumar, Prof Tahera Qutbuddin, in her introduction as Co-Director of the Qutbi Jubilee Scholarship Program, explained that Taqreeb meant to bring closer and welcome every participant as a family member.
Jain leader, Acharya Lokesh Muni, spoke about peace and harmony in Hindi while he was followed by Shri Gaurgopal Das who stated that all our different religious traditions share a message of peace and harmony. Rabbi Ezekiel Isaac Malekar declared that he was an Indian first and a Jew second because India is the only country in which Jews have not been discriminated against. Dr Ali K Merchant, Archbishop Anil Joseph Thomas Couto and Justice Ahmadi, former Chief Justice of India also spoke at the event.
Then the Syedna Qutbuddin Harmony Prize, in memory of the 53rd Da’i al-Mutlaq, Leader of the Dawoodi Bohra people, to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Then His Holiness began to speak at the conference by greeting everyone as brothers and sisters.
“Our various religious traditions provide us with ways to tackle the destructive emotion that underpin our misuse of our intelligence. One way to reduce destructive emotions is to actively develop positive emotions like love, contentment, tolerance and forgiveness—all our religions talk about them. The question is whether we take our faith seriously or not. If I dress as a Buddhist monk, but there is no change in my mind, I have not much to show for my practice.” His Holiness explained.
“All religious traditions have the potential to produce warm-hearted people, but unless we are sincere, it’s all too easy for religion to be further grounds for thinking in terms of ‘us’ and ‘them’.” His Holiness added.