The self-exiled Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama says he once met Mahatma Gandhi - in dream.
"In this lifetime, I never met him. But at least on one occasion during a winter in Potala palace (in Lhasa), in my dream, I met Mahatma Gandhi," he said after inaugurating the Satyagraha Centenary International Conference here Tuesday.
"As Buddhists, we believe in the rebirth theory. So, I feel that in previous lifetime, I had some contact with Gandhiji," he added.
Illustrating the global legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, he told the audience of Gandhians and students that American civil rights leader Martin Luther King's widow had told him that her husband was so attracted by Gandhi's philosophy that he wanted to dress in his manner.
"Can you imagine, an American black in dhoti?" he said, with his characteristic infectious giggles.
He pointed out that non-violence was not "mere absence of violence".
"The absence of violence could also be due to fear. Genuine non-violence is related to sincere motivation (of the practitioner)," said Dalai Lama.
The Tibetan leader, who has been in exile in India since 1959, pointed out that non-violence, compassion and religious tolerance were India's ancient values that it has exported to the rest of the world.
"I tell my young Indian friends that they should realise their richness and keep them as living tradition," he said.
The week-long conference on the theme of "Globalisation of the Gandhian way: Sociology, Politics and Science of Satyagraha", held at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, is being attended by Gandhians from 17 countries.
The open-air inaugural event had a festive air, with a large part of the audience made up of Tibetans, who prostrated on the ground when the Dalai Lama came onto the raised dais.
Later answering a query posed by a student, the Nobel Peace Prize winner said violent methods have never changed anybody's mind, but rather have the tendency to go out of control.
"Therefore, it is always safer to avoid violence, under any circumstances," he said.