Tenzin Priyadarshi Rinpoche was 10 when he decided to become a monk. “A 10-year-old perhaps cannot think much. Something happened and I ran away from home and found myself in a Buddhist monastery. At that moment, I felt at home,” he recalls. “Since then, I have not wanted to do anything else. Much before that, I wonder if there was anything else that I would have thought of becoming.” Tracing back his journey since that day, the founder and director of the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), shares with us his views on the issue of Tibet, the desperation of Tibetan students and offers his take on the increasing suicidal tendencies among our own students.
A moral question
Calling Tibet’s plight ‘a sad commentary on the world at large’, Rinpoche points out that over a 100 cases of self-immolation, which were reported, had occurred because Tibetian youngsters are in a desperate state. “We are so desensitized and are living in a very complex economic scenario. In the 1960s’ Vietnam War, there was just one Buddhist monk who died. But now, the situation has gone worse. Countries need to discover their humanitarian and moral ground. Now, a lot of countries are keeping away because China is involved and also the fact that it is an emerging super power adds to it,” he observes. What does the future hold for Tibet? He says it is too early to predict. “We will have to wait and see how things pan out. Tibet needs religious, political and economic autonomy.”
People fight, not religions
On the irony of communal clashes in Myanmar, the founding director and president of the Prajnopaya Institute and Foundation and a founding member of the Vishwa Shanti Stupa, cautions against the dangers of adding religious tags to violent incidents. “It is easy to label any conflict or riot as religious. But, what needs to be done is, find out the right cause and resolve what needs to be resolved. In Myanmar, it is not Buddhism and Islam that are fighting, it is just people. We need to analyse the issue, find the socio-religious aspects and then help solve,” he opines.
Why the young die?
The monk, who has experience in dealing with youngsters all over the world, hits the nail on the head when he blames the burden of expectations for the increasing suicides of youngsters. “Youngsters these days have it tough on their side. With expectations increasing on them at rocket speed, matching up to it might not be easy for all. We need to focus on their intellectual and overall well-being and help them realise that they are special in their own way. They need to learn self-approval and communicate more for self-improvement,” he suggests.
Tryst with Hyderabad
Tenzin Priyadarshi Rinpoche will deliver a talk on 'The Art of Happiness' today and will conduct a day-long retreat on exploring ways to cultivate and sustain a meaningful happy life. On his second visit to the city, he says he is in love with Hyderabad. “I love the people and the culture here. Nagarjuna, one of the greatest scholars ever, is from here (AP). I also did travel to Amaravati and Nagarjuna Sagar,” he shares.
Those interested in participating in the retreat can register by sending an SMS to 9248082862 with details like name, age and email ID.