Buddha is the crown jewel of the Indian nation which accepts all ways of worship of all religions. This quality of Hinduism in India was a product of many great spiritual masters chief among them was Buddha. And this is what sustains the secular character of India.
Hindu philosophy was one of the greatest beneficiaries of the advent and the teachings of the Lord Buddha. I revere Buddha as a reformer of not only Hinduism but also the world, who has given all of us a new world view and vision which is critical for the survival of all of us and the entire world.
Bodh Gaya is a land of enlightenment. Years ago, what Bodh Gaya got was Siddhartha but what Bodh Gaya gave to the world was Lord Buddha, the epitome of knowledge, peace and compassion.
They say that this century is going to be an Asian Century. I am very clear that without embracing the path and ideals shown by Gautam Buddha this century cannot be an Asian century!
The life of Gautama Buddha illustrates the power of service, compassion and, most importantly, renunciation. He was convinced that material wealth is not the sole goal.
We, the present generation, have the responsibility to act as a trustee of the rich natural wealth for the future generations. The issue is not merely about climate change; it is about climate justice.
It is my firm belief that the solution to all problems lies in dialogue. Earlier, it was believed that force indicates power. Now, power must come through the strength of ideas and the effective dialogue.
All of us have to ensure that our future generations lead a life of peace, dignity and mutual respect. We need to sow the seeds of a conflict-free world, and in this endeavour, Buddhism and Hinduism have a great contribution.
I see Lord Buddha doing to our collective spiritual well-being what global trade did to our collective economic well-being and the digital internet did to our collective intellectual well-being.
I see Lord Buddha in the 21st Century across national borders, across faith systems, across political ideologies, playing the role of a bridge to promote understanding to counsel patience and to enlighten us with tolerance and empathy.