Humans created terrorism and should solve the problem themselves by fostering humanistic values and working for peace, instead of turning to God for help, says the Dalai Lama in reference to the Paris attacks. "We cannot solve this problem only through prayers," he said in an interview.
Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, and leader of the Buddhists told DW, "Let us work for peace within our families and society, and not expect help from God, Buddha or the governments." Focussing on non-violence and harmony can help reverse the spillover of bloodshed from the last century, he said.
The Dalai Lama's statements have been exaggerated in some media pronouncements saying the leader has called a halt to prayers for Paris. It has also sparked protests from the devout who see his message as portraying prayer as ineffective.
Prayer is not passivity, insists Rev Luigi Gioia, a Benedictine monk, citing ways in which prayer helps. When we feel powerless, it is a way we come closer to each other and God. "Through prayer we gather our strength, we become a people," he wrote.
This is also the message Dalai Lama sent out when he said "we are one people". As a Buddhist he said he believed in praying, but found it illogical to ask God to help when humans had created the problem.
The terrorists are short-sighted, and this was one of the causes of rampant suicide bombings, he said. The Dalai Lama believes that only a small percentage of people subscribe to violence and that the problems arise from superficial differences over religious faiths and nationalities. Asserting that most people are peaceful by nature, he said there was no basis or justification for killing.
Within hours of the Paris attack, millions took to social media to condemn the attack and express solidarity with the victims. Prayers posted on Twitter were many with Pope Francis joining in the prayers for Paris.