ATLANTA - At a special event Sunday afternoon, the Dalai Lama, accompanied by spiritual leaders representing the other major religions of the world, called for greater understanding and love between all peoples.
The remarks of the 14th Dalai Lama, before a gathered crowd of 3,000, came at the end of a weekend of events centered on his visit to Emory University where he accepted a distinguished professorship from the college.
Sunday's lecture entitled "The First Emory Summit on Religion, Conflict, and Peacebuilding" featured not only the Dalai Lama but Mahatma Gandhi's grandson Rajmohan Gandhi, who represented the Hindu viewpoint on the panel. Representing a Jewish viewpoint was Rabbi David Rosen, president of the International Jewish Committee which represents world Jewry in its relations with other world religions.
Representing a Christian viewpoint was Sister Joan Chittister, the author of 30 books, the column "From Where I Stand," for the National Catholic Reporter and the co-chair of the Women's Global Peace Initiative.
Representing a Muslim viewpoint was Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im, an internationally recognized scholar of Islam and a political refugee from Sudan.
The resounding call of the panelists was that there needs to be greater dialogue and understanding between the major religions of the world and that all individuals, particularly in the West need to speak up when they feel their religion is being misrepresented to the public by the views and actions of an extremist minority.
"Evil succeeds because the good do nothing. If we do not shape the future, we will be compelled to endure it," Chittister said.
The Dalai Lama said he believed the practice of nonviolent civil disobedience in the face of political oppression was growing in popularity around the world.
"Nowadays people really admire its inner strength," said the Dalai Lama.
The Dalai Lama also said he believed it was important to show love and affection to all human beings whoever they are.
"Affection is a very valuable thing," said the Dalai Lama. "Various religious traditions have the same potential to provide these good things. We really need a closer understanding of each other. It's really essential."
Commenting on the presence of the Dali Lama, Gandhi said, "This man without a home is honored in millions of homes. This man who has no country is honored in county after country."
The spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhists, the Dalai Lama has been exiled in India since 1959 after the occupation of Tibet by China. A Nobel Laureate winner, the Dalai Lama was honored last week in Washington, D.C., with the Congressional Gold Medal for his efforts in promoting world peace.