Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India, 4 January 2012 (by Tendar Tsering, phayul.com) – His Holiness the Dalai Lama formally received the Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Reconciliation and Peace earlier today during his Kalachakra teachings at Bodh Gaya.
Representing the Gandhi Development Trust in Durban, South Africa, Ela Gandhi, grand daughter of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the Indian nation, personally presented the award to the Tibetan spiritual leader.
“We are privileged in honouring His Holiness the Dalai Lama in recognition of his work and contribution for world peace,” Ela Gandhi announced.
The Dalai Lama was supposed to have received the award last October as part of a much anticipated visit to South Africa. The visit had to be called off at the eleventh hour following a five-week wait for a visa to be issued.
Referring to the South African government’s tacit delay in issuing the visa, Gandhi said “it was very painful for the people in Africa for not being able to present the award to His Holiness in person.”
“There is no justification for failing to issue the visa timely,” Gandhi added.
However, the grand daughter of Mahatma Gandhi acknowledged that it was a “blessing” to be honoring the Dalai Lama on the “special spiritual occasion” of Kalachakra.
“Words of Mahatma Gandhi and His Holiness challenge us all to lead a more humanitarian, a more humble and simple life,” Gandhi said.
After receiving the Gandhi statue, the 76-year old Tibetan leader said that these days “more and more people” in the world are appreciating the virtues of non-violence.
“As we all know, Mahatma Gandhi is no more with us, but his philosophy of non-violence is very much alive,” the Dalai Lama said.
Exonerating Mahatma Gandhi for reviving the ancient Indian tradition of Ahimsa through modern education, the Dalai Lama assured the organisers of his lifelong commitment to non-violence.
His Holiness also urged his disciples for their moral support in his efforts to promote non-violence, love, and compassion throughout the world.
“Genuine non-violence will come only after the inner disarmament of our mind,” the Dalai Lama said. “Only with inner disarmament, we can bring outer disarmament”.
“Lots of problems in this world are created out of ignorance and greed. With our minds full of fear and hatred, it is impossible to achieve non-violence,” the Tibetan Nobel Peace Laureate said while encouraging everyone to use human intelligence in challenging and overcoming negative emotions with positive emotions.
Former recipients of the Mahatma Gandhi International Award include Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, South African leader Nelson Mandela and Tanzania’s Julius Nyerere.