Dharamshala: Tibetan Leader Dalai Lama in his address to more than 300 delegates participating in the first Tibetan Women’s Empowerment Conference at his residence said, “ We are all part of the 7 billion human beings alive today, but some of us are very well off, while elsewhere others are starving. I believe we can address this disparity if we work hard and develop self-confidence. That in turn depends on cultivating inner strength and the root of inner strength is developing compassion for others.”
He began by asking if they were happy with the discussions they’d been having and suggested that rather than simply talk about gender equality it was better to work on putting it into effect.
Noting that Tibetans have been in exile for almost 58 years, His Holiness recalled meeting Indian leaders like Rajendra Prasad and Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, who, in addition to being President and Vice President of the country respectively, impressed him with their scholarship. Listening to Radhakrishnan elegantly declaim verses from Nagarjuna and Chandrakirti in Sanskrit brought tears to his eyes, he said. However, he added that he also secretly suspected that he both understood and could explain better what the verses meant.
Dalai Lama said “Many of the world’s problems can be attributed to anger, “His Holiness explained. “The ever growing arms trade is based on a mixture of anger and fear and yet weapons bring no benefit. They don’t provide food. Their only function is to maim and kill other human beings.”
Dalai lama mentioned how he had encouraged monasteries that traditionally focussed on rituals to introduce study and education. Similarly he had encouraged nunneries to do the same. One result, he proudly declared, was the recent award of the first Geshe-ma degrees to twenty fully qualified nuns.
Tibetan Leader also touched on recent proposals for the Dalai Lama Institute for Higher Education in conjunction with the University of Mysore to offer PhD programs for lay-people to study Buddhism and the inner science of the mind.
Alluding to the position of women in Buddhism, His Holiness affirmed that the Buddha had described men and women as having equal potential and had provided full ordination for both. Furthermore, in Tibet there was an established tradition for recognizing female reincarnations such as Samding Dorje Phagmo.
Referring to the role of women in the world, Dalai Lama reported scientific findings that women are more sensitive to the sufferings of others in addition to the great affection they provide as mothers..
His Holiness concluded by congratulating the Tibetan government in Exile on taking the responsibility to promote women and encouraged the women to take full advantage of the opportunity. The meeting ended with his posing for photographs with different groups who are attending the conference.
Arvind Sharma is an award winning bi-lingual journalist with more than 20 years of experience.
He has worked with Divya Himachal, Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhasker, Vir Partap, Ajit and PTI.
In 2010, he was conferred the Himachal Kesri journalism award. He reports on the Tibetan Government in Exile, politics, sports, tourism and other topics. He lives in Dharamshala.