The Forgiveness Project’s founder, Marina Cantacuzino, has been awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the Dalai Lama Centre for Compassion. The Centre is a new initiative working closely with several institutions at Oxford University. Inspired by the Dalai Lama’s vision of compassion the aim is to provide a forum for universal ethical discussion which can apply to everyone, no matter what their beliefs.
On Monday 14th September trustees, fellows, honorary fellows and guests had a private meeting with the Dalai Lama in Rhodes House, Oxford, during the Tibetan spiritual leader’s nine-day trip to the UK.
The Dalai Lama called for religious harmony across the globe, saying that faith was often depicted as the cause of conflict. “People feel religion is a troublemaker [but in fact] religion teaches compassion, tolerance, forgiveness and contentment. However, he also conceded that, “Religion, frankly speaking, has failed to bring a peaceful world…There is too much concern about differences. When we are born, die or are ill there are no differences.”
Echoing a fundamental principle of The Forgiveness Project’s work he focused on the importance of placing the message of compassion in a secular framework and revealed to his audience, “I consider my mother’s immense affection as my first experience of compassion.” Promoting a secular agenda for the work of the Centre, he said: “Religious people can sometimes be a little bit biased. I’m a Buddhist and I’m a little bit biased. I try to become non-biased; it’s very, very important in order to know the reality. If what we do is biased then nonbelievers won’t pay much attention. We must respect all religions and respect non-believers.”
He also embraced the concept of uncertainty, claiming that scepticism leads to doubt, doubt leads to investigation and investigation leads to a clearer picture of the reality. “So scepticism is very, very important” he declared.