His Holiness the Dalai Lama


Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.

- His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the head of state and spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. This Nobel Prize-winning peace activist is known for his unswerving commitment to love, compassion and non-violence, and has moved the world with his spiritual teachings on "the universal religion of kindness." Since 1967, His Holiness has traveled and met with adherents, leaders, and scholars in over forty-five countries and has authored or co-authored more than sixty books.

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, describes himself as a simple Buddhist monk. He is the spiritual leader of Tibet. He was born on 6 July 1935, to a farming family, in a small hamlet located in Taktser, Amdo, northeastern Tibet. At the age of two, the child, then named Lhamo Dhondup, was recognized as the reincarnation of the previous 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso.

The archival transcription of Parliament keynotes is digitized with support from the Membership program.

Firstly, I would like to express my greetings to the members of the Parliament of the World’s Religions. Now religion, even today in the 21st century, when we experience great material development, really brings benefit.

Religion seems to be something old fashioned. We pray, pray, pray. Now, not only in the past, but even today, there are problems of violence. We produce weapons that are supposed to build peace. But actually the opposite is what happens. When there are more weapons, more guns, there is more violence. 

So now, when we think logically about peace, first of all we need inner peace. Without inner peace, if we’re full of anger, hatred and jealousy, it’s very difficult to make peace. Therefore, all religions have something to teach us.

According to theistic religions, we all created by one god. For non-theistic religions we all live life after life and when we’re born, it’s simply our basic human nature to be compassionate. So the essence of all religious teachings is compassion. 

Compassion is the seed of peace. When we have compassion we find mental peace. When we have mental peace, our verbal actions and physical actions all become more peaceful. Therefore, today, our various different religious traditions have a very important role to play in bringing about inner peace.

However, today, as well as in the past, we sometimes, unfortunately, due to different religious traditions there are some problems. This occurs when people use religion for political reasons or for power. 

The real religious teaching is warm-hearted and forgiveness. Therefore, whether it be a theistic religion or a non-theistic religion, all religions really have the potential to bring about inner peace. And because of that there’s automatically mutual respect. 

India is an example of this. All the world’s major religious traditions live together here in mutual learning and respect. 

Therefore, the Parliament of the World’s Religions is something very, very useful, and very important. As I mentioned earlier, we members of the Parliament, should be more active. Not only having ideas, but being practical. Wherever we see a problem, particularly in the name of religion, we should be active to bring about peace and harmony.

I’m a follower, a practitioner, of one of the world’s important religions, Buddhism. We talk about the welfare of all mother sentient beings, we consider all sentient beings as kind as our own mother. This really shows that we have to have a sense of respect for all sentient beings.

So as a practitioner of Buddhadharma I make every effort to bring about peace, to bring about religious harmony, not just through some kind of ceremony, but from the heart. 

So, on the occasion of the 8th Parliament of World’s Religions I want to share that you really carry a very, very important responsibility that is relevant to today’s reality. Please be active. Thank you.