The Dalai Lama has said that he is encouraged by the increasing interest in religion in China. He was addressing several hundred Taiwanese and ethnic Chinese devotees in Dharamsala on July 28 and 31, 2004 at the conclusion of a ten-day Buddhist teaching to them.

The Dalai Lama said even though in atheist countries like China religious practice was facing challenge, there is an increased interest in different religions, even among Communist Party cadres. He said one of the reasons for the Communist opposition to religion was that it was persecuting the ordinary people. The Dalai Lama said that this was not totally without any basis as there were individuals who were using religion to serve their personal ends. The Dalai Lama said these are people who do not understand the real meaning of religion and even today merely use it to make personal profits.

The Dalai Lama told the gathering that generally the people of the world can be divided into three categories in terms of their spiritual inclination. There is one category of people who see religion as negative and harming the society and do not want to do anything with it. There is another category of people who see religion as good irrespective of whether or not they know the reasons behind it. There is the third category of people who are more interested in their own day-to-day existence and do not have a definite position on religion.

However, one thing common with people in all the three categories was that they desire happiness and shun suffering. The only difference is the way they adopt to achieve their objective, the Dalai Lama said.

The Dalai Lama gave this series of teachings, from July 22 to 31, 2004, at the specific requests of Buddhist organizations in Taiwan and Malaysia. He taught on Shantideva’s Guide to a Boddhisattva’s Way of Life and Kamalashila’s Middle Stage of Meditation.

Over the years there has been an increase in the number of ethnic Chinese devotees requesting the Dalai Lama’s teachings in India and abroad. Over 650 Taiwanese and ethnic Chinese, 1000 other foreigners and around 2000 Tibetans attended the teachings in Dharamsala.