[TLI Exclusive] “Don’t Add ‘-ism’ To Religion And Make It An Institution”: Dalai Lama
January 17th, 2017
His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, visited Delhi on 10 December 2016. In a close meeting with Padma Bhushan Analjit Singh, his son Mr Veer Singh, The Logical Indian and limited media, His Holiness Dalai Lama launched the philanthropic initiative Vidyaloke – an idea to connect youth to ancient Indian wisdom, by Mr Veer Singh.
He will be there in Delhi again for the inaugural Private Teachings on 3rd and 4th of February 2017. If interested, you can write at [email protected]. To know more it, please visit http://vidyaloke.in/home/teachings.php
Here are the excerpts of the Interview with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and the founder of Vidyaloke Initiative Mr Veer Singh.
What is the purpose of religion or spirituality?
The purpose of it is just love and compassion. Attaining ultimate happiness is simple. Don’t add ‘-ism’ to religion and make it an institution. Buddha did not start Buddhism, and he was not Buddhist. He taught the science of emotions and soul- to be happy from within. Practice this theory, test it. If you are not satisfied or find anything wrong, leave it. Don’t believe anything blindly. Question and analyse everything you hear and practice scientifically and logically. Experience the results of your analysis and then you share with others.
How do you think India can help itself and the world?
Only India among all 200 countries can change the world and push it towards peace using an amalgamation of science and spirituality. It is one of the oldest civilisations with a deep understanding of the science of body, emotion, and soul. That knowledge needs to be shared with the world.
How did India influence Buddhism?
It is purely 100% Indian. The first master, Siddhartha (Gautama Buddha) was Indian and found enlightenment in this land. He taught the science of emotions first to India. It was only after this that it spread to other countries.
Will you please say a few words of advice for our community members and the world in such difficult times?
If in life, you are looking purely for physical or sensual pleasure, then that it a problem. We are influenced by what we see, hear, feel. When you see, listen, or touch a good thing, you feel good. But, if you see a bad thing, then you feel bad, especially because there is so much negativity in today’s world. And to stop these negative feelings from reaching your soul, to numb the pain, you seek refuge in drugs. If you are not affected by what is happening, you will be at peace and find joy.
The happiness we get from knowledge and the mind is far better than physical pleasures. And all this is inside you. And all the negative, bad, and sad experiences are there to teach you something and to open your mind. When in pain, you try to understand why it is happening and look for answers. You seek a higher form of joy to fulfil yourself.
Here is an excerpt of our talk with Mr Veer Singh, the founder of the Vidyaloke.
What drives you in your life?
Many things are a driving force in my life. I don’t believe in any ready-made formula to success. I believe in constant learning and self-discovery, and that we have to “be of benefit to every being”.
How did you come up with the idea of Vidyaloke?
We met His Holiness where he shared his concerns about India, Indian wisdom and how young people are losing out on it. I was also concerned about the same thing.
At Vana (the organisation I founded), every aspect is taken from the ancient Indian wisdom in the direction of preserving and flourishing the real values of India. People say IT/software is India’s strength, but I believe it is India’s ancient wisdom- Yoga, Ayurveda, Meditation, etc. And I had a ‘Bhavana’ (Feeling) to do something about it.
You don’t need big buildings or institutions for doing something; you just need to connect people. And that is when we thought of Vidyaloke. We requested his holiness to harness his knowledge, and he wholeheartedly agreed to it.
Could you share more details about the initiative?
This February, Vidyaloke will begin with a landmark Teaching and Public Talks. Our aspiration is to make Vidyaloke a selfless, transparent and honest facilitator between the greatest living teachers of our time, priceless Indian wisdom and committed Shishyas (disciples). There will be Private Teachings which are invite only, and Public talks which will be open to all.
The inaugural Private Teaching, by His Holiness Dalai Lama, will be held on the 3rd and 4th of February, 2017 in New Delhi and the inaugural Public Talk on the 5th of February, 2017 at Talkatora Stadium, New Delhi.
What’s your vision for Vidyaloke?
In a few key cities, we want to have talks and teachings from the spiritual masters, few times a year and make the process sustainable and self-funded.
And our aim is to keep this program from becoming institutionalised. We don’t want to become an organisation or someone that promotes any individual or any specific religion. We only want to be the facilitator. His Holiness said that if our talks become about exposing people to one particular religion, even if Buddhism, he will not be a part of it. He wants it to be about reviving ancient Indian knowledge.
There are excellent spiritual teachers, but some of them have become too business minded. So we will select our teachers carefully.
How can one be a part of Vidyaloke?
For Private teachings – we have made a list of 500 people. They can also nominate other people. We are trying to be exclusive and inform only particular groups of individuals so that they can apply and express their interest and then they get an invitation from us.
For public talks, anyone can register and join.
How does your legacy of being the son of Padma Bhushan Analjit Singh affect you? Does it help or restrict you?
Earlier people used to judge me based on the expectations they had of me. But now, that has reduced a lot as they have seen my work. My father receives a lot of affection and respect from people, so that came as a legacy to me. I have not been influenced or overshadowed by his achievements. This is also because my parents have been very supportive and that has been an immensely positive aspect in my life.
What is your idea of giving back to society? Is the affluent segment practising enough?
I feel the idea of ‘giving back to the society’ is wrong. We are privileged not only because of our hard work but also because the society has supported us to be in the position we are in. So I feel serving the society is a duty, not an option. It should become our moral, ethical, and spiritual obligation.
As far as the rich and affluent are concerned, I do feel that not all of them give back to their full potential. Some are myopic, and some are self-indulgent. We should engage more in philanthropy as a country.
What is your message to The Logical Indian Community?
The legacy of our country is unique, youthful and young. To the young community, I would say that improve your English skills, groom yourselves well, try different foods and experience global cultures, know about everything. But while doing all this, also please remember to take pride in our culture, traditions, wisdom and rich heritage.