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Encounters and experiences with buddhism

india Updated: Jan 25, 2013 21:37 IST
Praneta Jha
Praneta Jha
Hindustan Times
Victor Chan

If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him, goes the old Zen saying. In a session presented by Hindustan Times, on the subject, author Victor Chan, activist Siddiq Wahid and Sri Lankan scholar Ranjini Obeyesekere talked about their encounters and experiences with Buddhism.

Hong Kong-born Chan - he has known the Dalai Lama for more than 30 years - confessed that the first meeting left him "a little irritated". "Every time he looked my way, he started to giggle," said Chan.

Ladakh-born Wahid was 12 or 13 when the Dalai Lama came there. "A few other boys and I bowed down before him," he recalled. "He asked my name, and instantly knew my religion. He said: 'You should not bow down, your religion forbids you to do it before human beings, and I am a human being.'"A testimony to the openness and freedom of Buddhism, Wahid continues to be a practising Muslim while believing in the Buddhist philosophy.

Rather than the ritualistic and meditative aspects, Obeyesekere believes in the ways of questioning and dialogues that Buddhism encourages. It allows one to question everything, according to her. "Dharma is a raft to take you across the river. Once you've arrived, throw away the raft," she said.