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'Religion should not indulge in conversions'

Bangalore: Nov 27, 2012 DH News Service 0:18 IST

Dalai Lama asks leaders to focus on saving society

spreading peace: Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama interacts with students at a college in Bangalore on Monday. dh photo/kishore kumar bolar

A religion should restrict itself to service-oriented interventions such as imparting education and providing healthcare systems, and not indulge in conversions, said Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, on Monday.

The Dalai Lama, who delivered the endowment lecture on Science and Religion at Christ University in Bangalore, said that religious institutions and leaders should focus on directly saving the society.

Citing examples of the work done by the Christian missionaries in the fields of education and health, the Dalai Lama said that the religious community was, however, imparting these services with a rider – “conversions.”

“Christians have made the greatest contribution to education. But they also indulge in conversions, sometimes causing problems. It is much better if we kept our own religious faith. Else, it will lead to confusions,” he said.

Service to society

The Hindu and Tibetan communities, however, weren’t service oriented. “The Tibetan leaders have contributed much in the field of education. There are instances of certain institutions like the Ramakrishna Mission which have directly contributed to society.

Excepting for this, most religious leaders of these communities keep themselves isolated – they are either seen meditating or even half asleep,” he jested.

He also said that the onus of changing the world for the better lay in the hands of the present generation – those below the age of 30 years.

He said that the 20th Century made a lot of advancements in science and technology, but it was marked by a lot of bloodshed. Around 200 million people were killed through violence and civil war during the century.

Youth power

The 21st Century has also faced violence in pockets, especially through terrorism. “However, people belonging to the ages 30 years and below, who truly belong to the 21st Century, can change the future world - make it a better and peaceful place to live in. The younger generation must think more at a deeper level.

Think towards bridging the gap between the rich and poor, end corruption and crime,” he said.

The Dalai Lama also spoke of modern science bettering humanity. “Science has now confirmed that a compassionate heart is the key to the good health of an individual as well as society. This is why I believe that religious faith and reason must go together,” he added.

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