On 4 February, Bro. Tan attended the national-level “Mahakaruna Diwas” at the Nehru Memorial Library in Delhi as the keynote speaker. The event was organised by Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre of Ladakh under the able leadership of Venerable Sanghasena Mahathera. It was launched by His Excellency Ram Nath Kovind, the Governor of Bihar.
Altogether, eight such large-scale “Mahakaruna Diwas” were organised in different Indian states in January and February 2017 to spread the message of ‘compassion-in-action’, and to introduce the sublime teachings of the Buddha to the masses. The gatherings also bring about leaders of many faiths in India – Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs – to foster greater inter-religious understanding and harmony.
In his speech, Bro. Tan said that “karuna” – compassion – is very different from pity, sympathy, and sorrow. It is the “quivering of one’s heart at the sight or thought of suffering… of wanting to alleviate the suffering of beings.” To be effective, “karuna” has to be accompanied by “pañña” (wisdom), without which one may not realise and resolve the true causes of suffering.
Bro. Tan touched on essential themes of Buddha’s teachings – morality, fewness of desires, kindness and compassion, wisdom, and mental purification. The speech was very well-received by the multi-religious audience. Hence, he received more invitations to speak at universities and inter-faith programmes in various parts of India in the coming months.