In February of 1993, the French film writer Jean-Claude Carriere traveled to Dharamsala, India, in order to speak frankly with His Holiness the Dalai Lama about problems confronting the modern world. As Carriere now recalls, “We wished to discuss Buddhism in relation to our everyday life, to politics, to other religions or traditions, laying special emphasis on violence, the environment, and education… Neither of us wanted to publish a new catechism. On the contrary, we wanted to try to set up a real dialogue, constantly open and unexpected, drawing us into rarely traveled territory.” The resulting conversations will be published by Doubleday this January in a book entitled Violence and Compassion. ln the text that follows, italics indicate words spoken by Jean-Claude Carriere. Photographs by Marcia Keegan, from the book Ocean of Wisdom, courtesy of Clear Light Publishers.
In the West religions have lost their dominance; the political ideologies have at the very least deteriorated. But happiness is still far off; and we are, when all is said and done, quite sadly the same.
I would add that in the face of this disarray racist anathemas and fundamentalism of every stripe are finding fertile soil.
Whoever excludes others will find himself excluded in turn. Those who affirm that their god is the only god are doing something dangerous and pernicious, because they are on the way to imposing their beliefs on others, by any means possible.
And to proclaiming themselves the chosen people.
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