India best country to uphold religious harmony, tolerance: Dalai Lama

Bomdila: Emphasising the need for religious harmony, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Thursday said India is still the best country to uphold religious harmony and tolerance.

“Religious harmony is very essential at a time when the sense of responsibility is lacking. But despite niggles, it is possible in India — the most-populated democratic country. This country has shown the way for thousands of years,” he said while addressing people at the Buddha Park here.

He said all the world’s major religions flourished in India.

“We are social animals and without a sense of compassion for each other, we won’t be happy. Whether we are religious or not, there is a need for love and compassion in the world,” the Dalai Lama said.

Asserting he was disturbed by terrorism committed in the name of religion, the Dalai Lama said: “We hear a lot about Muslim terrorists, and of late of Buddhist terrorists (Myanmar). But as soon as anyone indulges in terrorism, he is no longer a Muslim or a Buddhist. Come to think of it, Chinese officials describe me as a terrorist too.”

The Tibetan leader also said it was right to consume the meat of dead animals but not of those slaughtered.

“Buddhists are taught not to harm other creatures and are vegetarian; but Sri Lankan monk told me many years ago that they (monks) depend on begging for their survival… Buddhist monks are neither vegetarian nor non-vegetarian,” he said.

“Pope (Francis) said it is better to be a good human being than a stupid Christian. Similarly, it is better to be good human being than a stupid Buddhist,” he said.