His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited Chokhang Vihara, Jama Masjid and Imam Bargha on July 27. He was welcomed by several religious and political leaders. After reciting prayers in Chokhang, he said that all temples should be used as centres of learning. Likewise, he urged the Ladakhis to ensure that Chokhang should also become a centre of learning.
He advised that seminars and discussions should be organised among Buddhists and practitioners of different faiths, and even non-believers.
While visiting Jama Masjid and Imam Bargha, he said that today people are fighting in the name of religion which is not good. And, as believers in some faith or other, it is morally wrong to remain indifferent to the sufferings of the poor and the downtrodden, and everyone should work for promoting more understanding among different religious traditions which could then lead to a more peaceful world.
He said people must make efforts to build a peaceful world and that prayers alone would not achieve this goal. He stressed that today all the seven billion human beings in the world wanted happiness. In this regard, all major world religions emphasised the practice of love, compassion, forgiveness and tolerance. “Religion should not be a source of division and conflict, "he said.
Talking about Islam, he said that the real practice of Islam is the practice of love. A genuine Muslim practitioner must extend his love to all creatures of Allah.
Likewise, a genuine Buddhist must extend his love to all sentient beings. Despite different philosophical views, both had the same aim, the same goal.
"It is very sad to see conflicts between Shias and Sunnis, especially since religion is the source of this conflict. It is important to remember that Shias and Sunnis are followers of the same Prophet Muhammad. Both study the Quran and pray five times a day. They should put aside their small differences and remember that they are practitioners of the same faith”.
He stated that we must be careful and not use the term Muslim terrorist or Buddhist terrorist. Once a believer commits an act of terror, he or she is no longer a true practitioner of any faith.
On his part, he said that he had been making efforts for long now to defend Islam and explain that Islam was an important religion in the world as its essence was the practice of love.
He said the people of Ladakh should further enhance communal harmony in the region. "Wherever I go, I give the example of Ladakh where communal harmony still exists. And all should work for it so that it can be passed on to the generations to come".