His Holiness the Dalai Lama Promotes Inter-Religious Harmony during Mosque Visit in Leh, Ladakh

The Buddhist Channel, 14 Aug 2023

Leh, Ladakh (India) -- His Holiness the Dalai Lama embarked on a symbolic journey of unity and understanding as he visited the Imam Bargah, a prominent mosque in Chuchot Yokma, located just across the Indus River. This morning, representatives from both Shia and Sunni communities warmly welcomed His Holiness, underscoring his commitment to fostering inter-religious harmony.

Upon his arrival at the Imam Bargah, His Holiness was greeted by leaders from the Shia and Sunni traditions. Sheikh Nazir Ahmed Sharifi, Vice President of the Anjuman-e-Imamia, began the event with a heartfelt prayer, officially inaugurating the proceedings. Ashraf Ali Barch, President of Anjuman Imamia, expressed deep admiration for His Holiness as an advocate of peace and unity. He praised His Holiness for his consistent message that humanity shares a common essence, irrespective of religious affiliations.

Dr. Abdul Quayoum, President of the Anjuman Moin-ul-Islam (AMI), extended his gratitude in English for His Holiness's presence during the holy month of Muharram. Dr. Quayoum highlighted the upcoming translation of the Holy Quran into Tibetan and shared a passage from His Holiness's foreword, in which he emphasized the universal messages of love and compassion found in all major religions.

In his address to the congregation, His Holiness spoke in Tibetan, emphasizing the common thread that binds humanity together. He stressed the importance of transcending religious, racial, and national divisions to work collaboratively for a more peaceful world. His Holiness, now 88 years old, used a light-hearted moment, biting into a ripe apricot, to emphasize his vitality and his intention to continue advocating for global harmony.

Reflecting on the power of unity, His Holiness pointed out that fostering a sense of human interconnectedness would enable humanity to address challenges through compassion rather than force. He urged for a shift away from conflict and towards mutual understanding and cooperation.

“Our gathering here at this mosque is a symbol of brotherhood and sisterhood. I’m a Buddhist monk, but I respect all religious traditions because at their core is a common message about the value of love and compassion. It’s not helpful to talk critically about ‘my religion’ or ‘their religion’," His Holiness emphasized.

During his visit, His Holiness acknowledged the rich tapestry of traditions in Ladakh and expressed hope that the region would continue to uphold its tradition of harmony and ethics.

The visit culminated in a communal lunch shared by His Holiness and the guests. As His Holiness prepared to depart, members of the congregation sought his blessings, reflecting the widespread reverence he commands. Along his short journey through the towns of Chochut Yokma and Choglamsar, well-wishers lined the streets, holding silk scarves and fresh flowers, eager to catch a glimpse of the spiritual leader.

The event underscored the importance of dialogue and understanding among diverse religious communities, promoting the message that unity and compassion transcend cultural boundaries.
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