Now a Tibetan Buddhist monk, the Venerable Tenzin Priyadarshi heads the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the U.S. His recently released memoir, Running Toward Mystery, is an account of his journey as a spiritual seeker.
Interviewed by The Hindu, he offered some fascinating insights such as "Mainstream at times is overrated. During his own lifetime Buddha challenged the mainstream and its assertions on caste divisions, wealth disparity and violence. Human nature is a difficult pattern to work with and so are the institutions it creates. Buddhism emphasizes a journey of inquiry, reflection and transformation for each individual. It is not one size fits all."
Asked about the "blind faith" required by other religions, Priyadarshi said the Buddha did not endorse this: "Faith can be of several types. Most often we think of it in terms of blind faith. However, Buddha encouraged students not to take his teachings at face value or believe in them simply out of reverence. He suggested that we critically analyze the teachings as a goldsmith analyses the purity of gold. I believe this was the spirit with which Buddhism was studied and practiced in our ancient institutions."