Our religious responsibility

His holiness the 14th Dalai Lama insists that we love our enemies. He teaches that people of faith, no matter what their religion, have a regional and a global responsibility towards each other.

He says “Living in society, we should share the sufferings of our fellow citizens and practice compassion and tolerance not only towards our loved ones but also towards our enemies. This is the test of our moral strength.”

We often acquire a religion by following the ways of our parents or our guardians. I grew up amongst assorted religions but I was taught that only the religion of my family was the right one.

Dalai Lama urges otherwise. “We must set an example by our own practice,” he states “for we cannot hope to convince others of the value of religion by mere words. We must live up to the same high standards of integrity and sacrifice that we ask of others.”
As a teenager I discovered “good” people were good no matter what religion they followed; and the same held true for the “bad”. All religions teach tolerance, yet few in the flock seem to practice it.

“The ultimate purpose of all religions is to serve and benefit humanity,” says Dalai Lama. “This is why it is so important that religion always be used to affect the happiness and peace of all beings and not merely to convert others.”

Yet the energy whipped up around converting people and insisting they leave their birth religion prevails. In the end, a lot of these conversions are motivated by the need for more donors to support a fellowship rather than to lead followers to peace, happiness, and security.

His Holiness asserts, “Still, in religion there are no national boundaries. A religion can and should be used by any people or person who finds it beneficial. What is important for each seeker is to choose a religion that is most suitable to himself or herself.  But, the embracing of a particular religion does not mean the rejection of another religion or one’s own community. In fact, it is important that those who embrace a religion should not cut themselves off from their own society; they should continue to live within their own community and in harmony with its members. By escaping from your own community, you cannot benefit others, whereas benefiting others is actually the basic aim of religion.”
Am I benefiting others? Do I need to do it within the framework of a specific religion? These are important questions to be answered by a spiritual aspirant.

The simple monk Tenzin Gyatso, now a Living Master indicates, “In this regard there are two things important to keep in mind: self-examination and self-correction.  We should constantly check our attitude towards others, examining ourselves carefully, and we should correct ourselves immediately when we find we are in the wrong.”

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