Dalai Lama, "contradictory" on Christianity and conversions, says Christian leader
by Nirmala Carvalho
During a conference in Bangalore, the leader of Tibetan Buddhism said that religion must focus on "education and providing healthcare". The Dalai Lama criticised proselytising through monetary inducements. For the president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, his words might appear "close" to Hindu nationalist ideology.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - The Dalai Lama's statement on Christianity and conversions are "contradictory" and might appear close to the ideas of Hindutva ideology (Hindu nationalism) and lead to misunderstandings. The criticism comes from Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), who spoke about an address the leader of Tibetan Buddhism delivered yesterday at a conference on science and religion at Christ University in Bangalore.

"A religion should restrict itself to service-oriented interventions such as imparting education and providing healthcare systems, and not indulge in conversions," the Tibetan spiritual leader said. Whilst "Christians have made the greatest contribution to education," he added, religious groups should focus on helping society.

Speaking about conversions, the Buddhist leader slammed proselytising done using monetary inducements. In his view, they are harmful as well as the very antithesis of Christian precepts.

Nonetheless, conversion per se, he explained, was not reprehensible if a person took it with full awareness and knowledge.

At the same time, responding to conversions through hatred and violence, burning down churches and destroying of property, as Hindus do, is unworthy of the tolerant nature and the embracing tradition of the world's most ancient religion.

For Sajan George, the Dalai Lama contradicts the history of Buddhism.

"It is proven that after his enlightenment, Buddha shared his experience and taught others to follow his middle path," George explained.

"He travelled across north-eastern India for decades, explaining his philosophy to anyone interested, without any distinction based on gender or caste."

By contrast, the Dalai Lama's views on conversion appear similar to those of Hindutva ideology.