The Dalai Lama is in Bloomington, Indiana to foster dialogue between Buddhists and Muslims, and to launch a new book on the subject, Common Ground Between Islam and Buddhism.
A blessing from the Dalai Lama
By Eboo Patel in the Washington Post/Newsweek's "On Faith"
Muslims have lived in Tibet for four centuries, His Holiness recounted, in full peace and solidarity with their Buddhist neighbors. The Dalai Lama told a story of one of the earliest memories he had with a Muslim, the local watch-repairer. "I was a restless child," the Dalai Lama said, that priceless smile playing upon his lips, "so I would always break my watch." The Muslim watch-repairer would come and fix the watch, and lovingly admonish the young Dalai Lama to play more gently. At this point the Dalai Lama broke out in full laughter -- a Muslim telling a Buddhist to be more gentle, that is a story the world should hear more often!
And then the Dalai Lama got serious. He spoke of his sadness that the image of Islam is all violence. This was not his experience with Muslims or his understanding of their faith and he was especially concerned about the isolation this image was causing.
Several times His Holiness spoke of the importance of "coming together", emphasizing that when people interact positively with each other they learn how similar they are, and when they are separated the gap is often filled by hostility.