The time has come to understand that we are the same human beings on this planet. Whether we want to or not, we must coexist. – His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.
When the red clad monk speaks, people listen. We smile and instantly understand his simple yet potent message, that kindness is the way. The Dalai Lama, exiled from his much loved Tibetan homeland nearly 60 years ago, never to be allowed to return, is the world’s most beloved sage. With his beaming smile, and wise words, he manages to touch the hearts of all he meets.
Responding to the challenges of the world today, his latest book: An Appeal to the World: The Way to Peace in a Time of Division gives us a clear pathway to follow if we want to solve global issues today, and is something sorely needed at this time.
The book is an extended interview with His Holiness, now 82 years old, who was voted in a global survey as being the nicest person on the planet. His Holiness has been working for peace his entire lifetime.
I am mainly preoccupied by the desire to contribute to the good of humanity.
Love, benevolence and affection are the most important qualities, says His Holiness. And this recipe for acquiring these is simple, as with all his teachings: mindfulness, more listening, contemplation, and meditation.
Happiness is not just a matter of good luck it’s an ability that all people hold within themselves.
The Dalai Lama has come to believe, as is stressed repeatedly throughout this small book, “ethics are more important than religion. We are not members of a particular religion at birth. But ethics are innate.”
My wish is that one day, formal education will pay attention to the education of the heart, teaching love, compassion, justice, forgiveness, mindfulness, tolerance, and peace. This education is necessary from kindergarten to higher-level schools and universities. I mean social, emotional, and ethical learning. We need a worldwide initiative for educating heart and mind, in this modern age.
At present our educational systems are mainly oriented towards material values and training one’s understanding. But reality teaches us that we do not come to reason through understanding alone. We should place greater emphasis on inner values.
The Dalai Lama is extraordinary for his spiritual mastery, but not only that, in his role as the temporal leader of his people, he has experienced conflict first-hand; witnessing the destruction of Tibet and experiencing, daily, the suffering of his fellow Tibetan people. On top of that, the grief at having to flee his homeland leaves him well placed to give advice on how we can solve global conflict and create a peaceful future for us all. The nobel laureate for peace has many answers for those who are willing to listen and transform.
Intolerance leads to hatred and division. Even our children should grow up with the idea that dialogue, and not violence, is the best and most practical way to solve conflicts. The young generations have a great responsibility to ensure that the world becomes a more peaceful place for all. But this can only become reality if our educational systems educate not only the brain but also the heart. The educational systems of the future should place greater emphasis on strengthening human abilities, such as warm-heartedness, the sense of oneness of humanity and love.
I see with ever greater clarity that our spiritual well-being depends not on religion, but on our innate human nature, our natural affinity for goodness, compassion, and caring for others. Regardless of whether or not we belong to a religion, we all have a fundamental and profoundly human wellspring of ethics within ourselves. We need to nurture that shared ethical basis. Ethics, as opposed to religion, are grounded in human nature. And that is how we can work on preserving creation. That is religion and ethics put into practice. Empathy is the basis of human coexistence. It is my belief that human development relies on cooperation and not competition. That is scientifically proven.
It’s time we stopped and paid attention to this message from His Holiness. This book is a heartfelt plea for sanity in a world gone crazy. It’s a call for loving kindness, compassion and a new way of being that cuts straight to the heart of what it is to be human. We each have the capacity to be the bridge to peace, and to be an instrument of calm.
We must learn now that humanity is all one big family. We are all brothers and sisters: physically, mentally, and emotionally. But we are still focusing far too much on our differences instead of our commonalities. After all, every one of us is born the same way and dies the same way. It doesn’t make much sense to take pride in our nations and religions–all the way to the graveyard!
An Appeal to the World: The Way to Peace in a Time of Division – by Dalai Lama (Author), Franz Alt (Editor) is published by Harper Collins.