What particular the Tibetan Buddhism has got, might we betray our faith, the way how to see the true Buddhist and the impostor, Buddhist spiritual leader Dalai-Lama XIV, Tenzin Gyatso told that in the interview to the Interfax-Religion website.
- Your Holiness, due to you the people of Europe, American and Russian imagine all Buddhism as just the Tibetan Buddhism. What is your vision of the Tibetan Buddhism's future, whether does it get more influence on the society in general?
- I Think so. I think so because now Buddhism is such a religion... I mean some category of people look Buddhism as a religion for their practice... Pali tradition, Sanskrit tradition that means Buddhism in Sri-Lanka, Thailand, Birma or China, Tibet are all the same for them. There are Zen-centers, Sri-Lanka Buddhism centers. Another category of people shows interest about Buddhism at more academy level including scientists. Thatís I think only Tibetan case. Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean Buddhism is of the same group of Sanskrit tradition. However through centuries for the Tibetan case we put a lot of efforts for study it apart from the others. Poor Dalai-Lama, from young age he has to study a lot of it. That knowledge is a value. So therefore the information about emotions, how to tackle emotion, in this aspect Tibetan Buddhism or at least the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, I think, is the most... useful, valuable sources of the information. So therefore the contact with Tibetan Buddhism is very promising for modern scientists. So from that point of view the Tibetan Buddhism influence in future is greater.
- What is your estimation of the inter-religious dialogue?
- Right, from my position, my sort of belief... religious traditions have ultimately the same potential - the potential that causes the human being to search a peace of mind and also same potential is to create peaceful world. In other words, the same potential provides values that materialism cannot fulfill alone. Thatís a pity, now in China we can see a materialistic development.
So all religious traditions, all major religions, that means a religion which has a concept of philosophy, and does not mean those religion just as a worship of the sun or the moon without any sort of the philosophy or the concept.
Those major religions mean Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. So all religious traditions have to provide the same value potential. Now thousand years have already passed but they exist, and. their traditions will remain, have to remain. I usually oppose any religious conversion. There are Tibetan Buddhist centers in the West. I always beg them: you should not make attempts to convert other people. Whenever I give some lectures on Buddhism in the West, at the beginning I always make clear: western people, basically your tradition is Judo-Christian tradition or to some extend - Islamic tradition. Itís much, much better to keep your own faith rather than change faith. That way we can promote genuine harmony among the different major traditions on the basis of mutual respect. Buddhism respects Christianity or other religions and vice versa. Thatís a foundation of the promotion of this harmony.
I think that Russia has a real opportunity to demonstrate in the eyes of the world that it is multi-religious nation... I wish to the Russian government to concern about its Christian background.
Practically all religious traditions are the same. Itís the same message, the same practice. Some Christian friends of mine consider me as a good Christian (smiling).
- The interest in Buddhism in Russia is of the same extent as outside of it, but unfortunately along with the traditional schools of Buddhism there have appeared rather larger number of sects that call themselves Buddhists. Could you advise the Christians how to see the true Buddhists and impostors?
- Iím telling: often in the West - some people show their interest in Buddhism, also not only in Buddhism, but in some kind of spirituality. Some people take an opportunity of exploitation using the name of Buddhism and just exploit it. You can not distinguish somebody to be genuine, authentic Buddhist or not. Now in the West Buddhists monasteries are coming in many Christian countries, these should be learning centers. People who have interest about Buddhism should come in these institutions. The people in these institutions are usually more genuine Buddhist practitioners. Now there are some Buddhist centers in Russia - in Saint-Petersburg and in Moscow. We should have authentic information about Buddhism. It should be so. The more authentic knowledge about Buddhism is available in one center, the more people can distinguish.
- Today we in Russia have a fiery discussion about whether fundamentals of religion - Orthodox and also Muslim, Buddhist and Jews should be obligatory taught in high schools. Do you think the school students should be given some knowledge of this subject?
- Thatís good. I have no doubt about it.
- What would you like to say to the Russia Buddhist?
- Basic Buddhist approach, particularly of Sanskrit tradition is to get your human intelligence in a maximum way. Through that way one needs transform of emotion, try to become a compassionate person. Since using intelligence is important, the knowledge becomes very essential. Buddhist brothers and sisters in Russia, please pay more attention about study of Buddhism. Of course construction of temples, Buddha statues is wonderful but Buddha statues can not speak. Buddha himself made clear at the time of his death: in the future my representative reveal in those texts I spoke while teaching. Now we have to keep this advice. Now we have to take Buddhaís teaching as... a source of knowledge. Scriptures consist of three hundred volumes... this is not only faith... Thatís a mistake. We must study these three hundred volumes of the Buddhist literature. This is extremely important to remember.