Addressing the international conference on 'Secular Ethics' here, Dalai said religious differences are borne by "retarded thoughts" and also stressed the need to develop a "holistic, six-dimensional" approach to understand reality.

The gathering was organised by 'Indo-Tibet Mangal Maitry Sangh'.

"It is very important to develop an investigative bend of mind. Do not follow any religious leader blindly. Buddha said question and investigate a thought thoroughly, study qualifications of a guru or a leader, meet them, observe, till you develop a conviction that what the leader says can be followed. This is the Nalanda tradition and time has come that we follow it," he said.

He said many problems in society arise due to short-sightedness or by looking at a view through only one angle.

"Acceptance of humanity should lie in the head and the mind. The reality however is much complex. It is necessary that we look through 6 dimensions or else we may fail to see the reality," he added.

Dalai observed that enlightenment to Tibet comes from India and her inhabitants are "gurus" of Tibetans.

"Tibet remains dark till light from India reaches it. Historically, Indians are our gurus and we are chellas (disciples)," he said while taking questions from the audience on various issues.

When asked about fundamentalism, Dalai said it would be ridiculous to assume that a particular religion teaches only conflict.

"No religion is negative. Any religion that teaches people to live happily cannot be bad. There could be mischievous people in any of the religions but saying that their behaviour reflects the whole of religion will not be correct," he said while observing that faith is important though religions can differ.

Citing the example of Communist China, he said, "Chinese people I met were non-believers but were dedicated to work for the poor people...What is important is to become a good human being with deep human values."

He said secularism did not mean "disrespect" to other religions.

"No religion teaches violence. It will be very unfair to generalize ill tendencies and say that a particular religion does not teach good," the spiritual leader said, adding that a "holistic" approach is needed to live happy life which is the basis of human rights.

He also observed compassion and affection are hallmarks of human life.

Dalai also praised dalit icon late BR Ambedkar, saying the latter, who wrote Constitution of India, was a great scholar.

On science and Buddhism, Dalai said many scientists have come to accept that there is a role of science in transforming thinking. Even Albert Einstein believed that religion and science can go side by side, he added.

Speaking on the occasion, representatives of various faiths emphasised that true religion is secularism, brotherhood and peace.

"One god, one world and one family, binds all together.  Secularism is the call of the day and secular ethics, the light of hope," they observed.

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