BODH GAYA: Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama is against forced conversion saying “people should stick to the religion they were born to”.
“I do not say Buddhism is best nor that everyone should become a Buddhist. We have a variety of religious traditions suited to different people, much as we have different medicines appropriate for different ailments,” Dalai said addressing huge number of Buddhist devotees attending the Kalchakra puja on Saturday.
He added, “Tibetans have followed Buddhism for generations, but in the West and elsewhere we find Jews, Christians and Muslims. That’s why I generally recommend that people stick to the religion they were born to”.
Stating it was the Buddha who taught dependent arising, His Holiness said it’s more than 2500 years since he lived in India, yet his teaching continues to thrive.
“What’s more, what he taught is useful in day to day life. Although religion is generally thought of as something to do with faith and not subject to scrutiny, many people today, including scientists, are surprised to discover that the Buddha’s teachings comprise a science of the mind,” Dalai said.
Referring to the raging debate in the society that a yogi (saint) should avoid non-vegetarian food, the Dalai Lama cited an incident from his own life.
“In the 60s, I became a vegetarian for 20 months but fell severely ill, as a result of which my various physicians advised me to resume my former diet that sometimes included meat. However, I am pleased to explain that the common kitchens of the great monasteries and many schools in the Tibetan community are now vegetarian,” His Holiness said.
He concluded that whether you are a vegetarian or not is a personal choice.