Co-founder of IAS meets with the Dalai Lama in San Francisco

Co-founder of IAS meets with the Dalai Lama in San FranciscoIn a recent private meeting, His Holiness Dalai Lama expressed his sorrow about the conflict between Sunnis and Shi’as. “Why,” asked the Dalai Lama, “are two groups from the same religion fighting against one another?” In his reply, Dr. Kianfar expressed his shared sorrow at this schism. Throughout time and within all religions there have been a very few radical groups who extend their inner anger under the title of their sect or religion. In this particular case, the conflict is being perpetuated by a small group of so-called Sunnis and Shiites. Although most people are against this conflict, the reality is that we all suffer the deleterious effects of the conflict they perpetuate. There is always someone who, desirous of power and craving bloodshed, actively manipulates others by fanning the flames of misdirected religious fervor. The only solution when this kind of virus attacks the body of the whole, is to rely on the immune system to return health to the body, which in this case is wisdom.

We must ask ourselves: what condition nourishes the anger, hatred, greed, and other harmful qualities of those who like conflict? The answer, quite simply, is ignorance. They remain on the superficial level, allied to names, impressed by titles, and bound to inherited systems of belief, and can easily become trapped in a tower of preconceived ideas that’s mortared by their own imagination. This tower becomes a strong fortress, which they feel a primal urge to defend. They think that what they believe is right and what others believe is wrong and they look for evidence to prove their “rightness.” Yet anyone who is trapped in this tower is wrong, for the fortress is an illusion. Witness how both Sunnis and Shiites feel they are the true inheritors of the Prophet Mohammed’s (PBUH) teachings. Yet, according to the book of Islam and the tradition of the Prophet, both are wrong and they each must suffer the penalty of their ignorance. This penalty, of course, is conflict, whether it lingers in a mistrusting heart or is openly expressed as hostility toward the “other.”

Do we want to live in peace? If so, we each must search beyond titles and inherited systems of belief – all those things which divide us – and begin instead to truly practice Islam: submission of the false ego to the One, the source of mercy, peace and love. In such a state of unity, a state which must be actualized within, internal and external fractures heal, labels lose their meaning and power, and divisive ideology melts away. When we practice Islam and learn the way of peace and love, we remain in a state of peace and love and that reflects on our individual path and consequently on our attitudes and behaviors. This is true for all religions.

Two of the many articles reporting on this meeting are from the San Francisco Chronicle and the Dalai Lama website:

Dalai Lama embraces religious tolerance: Buddhist leader urges understanding of Islam, other faiths

Moderate Muslims Seek Help From the Dalai Lama


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