A humbling experience is how Associate Professor Mohamad Abdalla, Griffith University Islamic Studies Director described his meeting with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.
Dr Abdalla presented the response to the Dalai Lama’s address to a multi-denominational gathering aimed at world peace at St Stephen’s Catholic Cathedral in Brisbane on June 11.
The ceremony was attended by 900 people, including Bahai, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Islamic, Sikh and Christians, all of whom the Dalia Lama urged to pray for world peace.
“The Dalai Lama is extremely modest and gentle, and to be at a gathering with Archbishop Mark Coleridge and heads of various religious bodies was very humbling for me,’’ Dr Abdalla said.
“The Dalai Lama reminded us that world peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not just the absence of violence but also the manifestation of human compassion.”
“He said building inner-strength and trust was the key to building peace and compassion.”
In a break with protocol at the start of the ceremony Dr Abdalla and the Dalai Lama together led the procession into the cathedral.
“I was talking to him outside and he just grabbed my hand and led me inside the cathedral. Indeed it was a fortuitous moment,” Dr Abdalla said.
Before he spoke, Dr Abdalla turned to the Dalai Lama and gave him a big hug. He then thanked him for spreading his message of forgiveness and peace at a time when it was most needed.
“His statement that we are all of the same origin reminds me of the prophetic dictate; ‘Your lord is one, your father is one, and so there is no virtue of a black person over a white person…all are equal in the esteem of God’.
“Building a culture of peace and harmony does not apply only to distant, warring regions, but also to our own society.
“By seeking to better understand the social, political, cultural, economic, and civic structures whose deterioration can lead to violence and social upheaval, we can contribute to the identification of and support for measures to restore and enhance harmony.”