Keynote speaker in Delhi Diwas

The launching of the national-level “Mahakaruna Diwas” in Delhi.

The launching of the “Mahakaruna Diwas” at the Nehru Memorial Library in Delhi.

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.

Leaders of multi-faiths lighting a ceremonial lamp to inaugurate the gathering.

Leaders of multi-faiths lighting a ceremonial lamp to inaugurate the gathering.

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.

8Listening to other speakers with Ven. Lama Lobzang and Ven. Sanghasena Mahathera.

Listening to other speakers with (left) Ven. Lama Lobzang, Secretary General of the International Buddhist Confederation and doyen of inter-faith dialogues in India, and Ven. Sanghasena Mahathera.

Bro.Tan chatting with Ven. P. Seewalee Thera, General Secretary of the Maha Bodhi Society of India.

Bro.Tan chatting with Ven. P. Seewalee Thera, General Secretary of the Maha Bodhi Society of India.

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 delivering the keynote speech.

Bro. Tan delivering the keynote speech which touched on important teachings of the Buddha.

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.

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With His Excellency Apirat Sugondhabhirom, the Acting-Ambassador of Thailand to India (left), and Dr. Ravindra Panth, former Director of Nava Nalanda University in Bihar.

Anumodana : Photographs by Willie Cheah and Neville Lee.