This will be a century of dialogue: Dalai Lama

Jaipur, J Jan 24 (IANS) The 21st century will be a century of dialogue, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama said here Thursday while stressing the importance of good relations between India and China.

Only dialogue could help the world from reaching the point of violence, the Dalai Lama told reporters at the Jaipur Literature Festival.

"Destruction of neighbour is like your destruction," said the spiritual leader, a special invitee at the literary carnival.

"I also tell people in China, look at India. North, south (regions) equal, democratic," he said.

The Dalai Lama also touched on incidents of murder and rapes in Indian cities, particularly the Dec 16 gang-rape in the Indian capital.

The Buddhist leader said he would not like the death sentence for the Delhi gang-rape accused. "But it is up to the country, their rules, their law (whether to give death sentence to the rapists)."

He blamed murders and rapes in Indian cities on the "increasing gap between the rich and poor".

"Sometimes, the poor person we consider (a) thief, but very big people, with millions and millions (of rupees), we do not consider thieves."

"One person killing is murder; one person killing thousands... we call (a) hero," he added after addressing a session on Buddhism.

The 77-year-old, living in exile in India since 1959, said he would soon head to the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad.

Earlier, during his session on 'Kinships of Faith: Finding the Middle Way' at the Diggi Palace lawns, which drew hundreds of visitors, including many Tibetans, the Dalai Lama, in a conversation with writer Pico Iyer, called himself a student of the Nalanda tradition of Buddhism and emphasised on investigating Buddhist teachings before following them.

He talked the about his new interest in modern science, especially cosmology, neurobiology, quantum physics and psychology, but added: "You have to investigate reality using the brain and not logic of modern science as a laboratory."

The Buddhist teacher also spoke about concepts of "momentary change" and "impermanence", citing Nagarjuna, a master of the Nalanda tradition.

"The young generation of Bharat pays too much attention to materialistic development. They should learn from the ancient Indian philosophical views like ahimsa and religious harmony," he said, calling himself a "faithful 'chela' (disciple)" of Indian Buddhist masters.

The Dalai Lama then urged the gathering to adopt secular moral ethics, saying: "to develop moral ethics, religious belief is not necessary".

He said that for the well-being of seven billion people of the planet, inner peace and inner strength were important. "Think about the well-being of the other and your mind will open up."

He also recalled his pain at seeing the suffering of slum boys in Mumbai and a paralysed young boy lying along a road in Bihar.

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