Letter from the Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Re Transcript & Hebrew Translation
From: Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama
To: Janna Weiss
Date: Wed, Jul 27, 2011 at 1:09 PM
Subject: Thank You
I have been directed to thank you for your letter along with your offering of the complete transcript of His Holiness' World Peace Talk in Washington DC on June 9, 2011, which would be very useful to us. We very much appreciate your thoughtful gesture.
We are particularly happy to learn that you wish to translate His World Peace Talk into Hebrew for posting on your blog.
We also very much appreciate the very warm sentiments that you express for His Holiness and all the precious teachers of Tibet.
With best wishes,
Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama
P.O. McLeod Gang
Himachal Pradesh (H.P.) 176219 India
A World Peace Talk / His Holiness the Dalai Lama
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama:
So, good morning everybody.
Audience: Good morning
His Holiness the Dalai Lama:
Brothers and sisters.
Indeed, I am very very happy having this opportunity for meeting with the public.
Because I always talk about how to create inner peace, irrespective whether believer or non-believer. Everybody wants a happy life, a successful life, so these goals ultimately entirely depend on our inner peace.
On the mental level there are too many frustrations and sometimes fear, suspicion,
distrust, anger - then your life will never be a successful happy one.
So, in spite of how this sounds, we have the opportunity, we have the ability to create inner peace. So that also is what I usually call 'through secular way,' not necessarily based on religious belief. So, meeting with the public and sharing these points, I always feel very happy and actually my commitment, my number one commitment, is on the level of 'I am a human being.'
We are the same, mentally, emotionally, physically, also; we are the same. So everybody has the desire to have a happy life, a successful life. There, also, we are completely the same and then, everybody has the right to have a happy life. From our birth, everybody has the same right. But the problem is that we sometimes neglect these inner values and we are trying to seek joyfulness, a happy life, from outside. That's a mistake.
So, that's my number one commitment.
The second commitment is promotion of religious harmony. Then, I am talking on the level of: "I am a Buddhist monk." So, according to my own little experience, I fully realize that all major religious traditions have the same potential to bring inner peace. So, closer understanding, harmony among the different religious traditions, is something very essential. If we, all religious traditions, have a closer understanding on that level, and make a more common effort, or effort for a common interest, it can be more effective. So that's [my] number two commitment. So, all these government levels, even the United Nations, I think cannot do much.
So, the public - because these things ultimately depend on the individual. We are on the individual level. Try to create a calm mind, then...
That then creates [calmness] within our own family, within our own community. That's the way to change our society. After all, society, community, means individuals combined. So, sometimes, I also feel: I am just one single person, [and there are] huge problems. My effort may not affect very much, anyway, it's true. But there's no other choice. Unless, at the individual level, we make some effort, it will never come, the happy society, or change, at the society level. So, the initiative must come from the individual level. So that's why I really feel something purposeful, meeting with people. So I'm very happy.
Then, also, behind you, there is the American Capitol Hill, a magnificent building, and this indicates that America is a democratic country. Right from the beginning, your forefathers, these ancestors, they really committed to the promotion of liberty, equality, democracy, rule of law, these things. So, since my childhood, we, many Tibetans, felt, when we heard the name America, we don't know much detail, but simply, we felt: Oh, America! A big nation, a great nation, a nation fully committed to these human values, democracy, liberty, freedom, these things.
So, once more, I have the opportunity to talk in public, here, in the Capitol. So, those people who organized this event, I really appreciate. Thank you, for those concerned people. And then also, I must thank the audience here, a quite large big number. I think, today, on the weekend, you must have another sort of program, go on a picnic or the sun is also good, so you may have a certain program, but instead of being there you came here, in spite of it being quite hot here, so I really appreciate.
Now... As usual, whenever I have a talk, I never prepare. So, when I meet people, then certain ideas, certain thoughts automatically come. So here, also. So, the important [thing is] self confidence, and an optimistic mental attitude is very very essential. So, I am talking something about that. So, I think that those people quite far away, I think, now, you already saw my face, okay? Now I'm going to sit here and talk, okay.
Usually, my way or style of talking or meeting is always completely informal. I don't like formality. After all, the most important events in our life, at the time of birth, at the time of death, for these two most important events there is no formality (laughs), it just comes that way. Then, between there, [is] too much formality. I feel, according to my own experience, too much formality becomes an additional barrier to communicate, person to person. After all, we are the same human beings, so it is better to talk heart to heart. That I always do. So, in case some people may feel, oh, my talk, has too much informality, then, sorry.
Now... In our life, some kind of problems are always there. It is almost impossible, an individual human life without any problems. It is almost impossible. However, with a lot problems we can maintain peace of mind. When peace of mind is there, enthusiasm, optimism comes. So, that, we can do.
Now here, [when] we actually sit down among the problems and pains, there are two levels. One is the sensorial level, mainly the physical level. That, of course, for example, some physical illness, you have to take care. Then, another level of problem, pain, of painful experience, of suffering, that's mainly the mental level. So, of these two things, the mental level experience is actually more superior than the sensory level experience. Obviously, for example, some of these sports, in order to become top, they really, at the physical level, they really work hard, but then mentally they already see some sort of target, some sort of purpose, so the physical difficulties they can even embrace, like that.
I think, another sort of example: two patients, same physical illness, same hospital - we can see differences. One is only concerned about the physical pain and mentally also, concerned too much about that physical pain. That person, I think, has much more unhappiness or painful experience. Another same patient, physically with the same illness, same pain, but, mentally, with a different sort of attitude towards the pain, then, that person, the physical level is the same condition, but because of the mental level, different attitude, that person is much more happier. I think other animals have no ability to do that. We human beings, I think even animals, like a mother sometimes sacrifices willingly, [endures] her own difficulties, or even risks her own life, in order to save her youngster's life. So, that also, that tremendous affection, willing to take on some physical difficulties, even at the animal level, I think.
So, certainly, we human beings have this marvelous human intelligence. So, using this human intelligence, in spite of some difficulties surrounding you, you can maintain peace of mind - that much I can share with you, according to my own experience. I lost my own freedom at the age of sixteen, then at age twenty-four I lost my own country. [I encountered] a lot of difficulties and a lot of responsibilities, however, I think, that comparatively, I can sustain peace of mind. Knowing good is good, bad is bad, and accordingly, you have to handle, but at the same time, you can maintain the mental level more calm, peace. So, it is clearly, it is quite clear, in spite of some difficulties , that we have the ability to keep peace of mind. Now, here, in order to create peace of mind, self confidence, inner strength, is very very important. This is one factor.
Another factor: use human intelligence properly, and through that way, once we realize the reality fully, then, that is also one important factor to keep peace of mind. So, now, first, the warm heartedness. A more compassionate sort of mind, usually, I call warm heartedness. Once you develop warm heartedness or a sense of concern for other's well being, an affectionate attitude, then, actually, it opens our inner door. As a result, communication with other people becomes very easy. That even helps you carry your life honestly, truthfully, transparently- that brings trust. Trust brings friendship. On the other hand, too much of a self-centered attitude, then deep down, with too much of a self-centered attitude there, automatically: fear, distrust. And with that, you find it very difficult to communicate with other people, because you yourself, deep inside, have a sense of insecurity. So, then, with those circumstances, eventually, you develop feelings of loneliness, helplessness. So, therefore, at the emotional level, warm heartedness is a very very important factor to bring self-confidence. After all, we are social animals. The individual's successful life, or happy life, very much depends on others. So, therefore, just a lonely feeling, some kind of isolated self-centered attitude, is actually against basic human nature.
And then... According to scientists now, they are finding, with a more compassionate mind, your health also improves. Some scientists actually carried out some sort of research work, as experiments, they already found some clear sign that even a few weeks of training about compassion and these things. After a few weeks, they already found that blood pressure reduces, the amount of stress is reduced, social relations also improved. So they already know that peace of mind is really helpful for our good health. About, I think, more than two years ago, I went through surgery, for the gall bladder, because there were a lot of stones. I think the last, almost 50 years, I just hoped that with Tibetan medicine, or some other medicine, could melt these things, but finally that hope showed [itself] to be an empty hope, so finally, I went through surgery. So the surgery was quite serious. Usually that surgery, the normal way, in 15-20 minutes it can finish, but in my case, because of the complication of the gall bladder, which was enlarged almost, I think, two or three times the size, and also pus, so therefore, it became more complicated. So, my surgery, it took over two hours, so I had a good rest without consciousness! (laughs) So, then, after, I think, 4-5 days, I was fully recovered, so my doctor, the surgeon, later he told me, "Your physical condition is very good." So even, one time, one surgeon told me, expressed to me, "This young patient," then I told him, "I'm not young, I'm already seventy-three or seventy-four." So, then he responded, "Yes, he knows your age but your physical condition looks like 60," so he called me "young patient." (applause)
So, of course, there's nothing special. I think my mental state is comparatively quite peaceful, in spite of some problems. When some tragic news happened, it comes to my mind, little disturbances, but then goes. Like that. So, oh... Now, I want... I must tell you, the same person, same simple Buddhist monk, but there is one difference between my previous visits and today, one difference is that one important human organ is missing now (laughs). So, this simple Buddhist monk's body is not complete now. (laughs) So, through my own experience, peace of mind really is an immense help, to maintain health and to recover, very very helpful.
So, sometimes scientists say that too much anger, constant fear, are actually eating our immune system. An more open mind, a more pleasant mind, is really an immense help to sustain our immune system. Then, on another occasion, many years ago, I think near New York, at one university, we had some sort of meeting with scientists. There, one scientist mentioned that according to his experiment, he found, in his research he found that those people who, often come from his or her mouth: I, I, me, my, like that, so such people have greater risk of heart attack, although he didn't explain the reasons. Then, I felt, oh, it may be true, because the person for whom always comes the word: I, I, I, that's a reflection of his or her thinking, so there is an extreme self-centered attitude, so with too much of a self-centered attitude, as I mentioned earlier, your whole outlook becomes narrow. So even small problems appearing to that narrow sort of mind, look unbearable. When one has a sense of well-being of other people, then your mind becomes wider.
With that kind of widened mind even serious problems appear not that much unbearable or significant. So, it really makes a difference. So, therefore, compassion, compassionate heart, warm heartedness, not thinking just of yourself, but thinking more of others, that kind of mental attitude, has immense benefit to yourself.
So the problem quite often - people have the impression that the practice of compassion, the practice of forgiveness, these are part of religious practice, so those people who have not much interest in religion, then they are also negligent about these things. That's totally mistaken. Whether a religion or not - that's up to the individual. Without religion you can be a happy person. But without this inner peace, or compassionate mind, you cannot be a happy person. So, you see, there is no point to neglect, those people who have not much interest in religion, they should not neglect, these inner values.
Then, secondly, also you see, people have the impression that the practice of love and compassion is good for others, not necessarily towards oneself. That also is totally mistaken. So the benefit, out of the practice of compassion, first goes to yourself, including your own health.
Then also, sometimes I jokingly tell people, particularly those young girls, or young women, I don't know how many... Usually, you see, people spend a lot of money for cosmetics. That is only for external beauty. Real beauty is inner beauty. (applause)
Say, many years ago, I think in the 60s, one Tibetan government official, one monk official, a very good one, he eventually disrobed. Then one day, I teased him, oh, your wife is not that attractive. I teased him. Then his response was quite strong. He mentioned, "Oh yes, external beauty, not that much, but [her] internal beauty is excellent," he told me that. (laughs; applause) So, of course, you see, making your face beautiful, more beautiful, good, but in the meantime you must pay more attention to your inner beauty. With inner beauty, you will find a good companion, then, the marriage will be a long lasting happy marriage. Without paying much attention to inner beauty, only external beauty, you may find some companion, some partner, but it may not last long. Clear?
So, anyway, we human beings, I think we have one unique thing - our smile. Smiles, there are a variety of smiles. Sometimes, a sarcastic smile, sometimes a diplomatic smile; sometimes these don't bring peace, happiness or friendship, but sometimes fear, sometimes distrust. But a genuine human smile, is the expression of love, compassion, friendship, so a genuine human smile can only come through warm heartedness. I think those powerful people or powerful rich people may receive a lot of smiles from others, but they smile in front of you but behind they may say something different, some different things. So those people who really show a loving smile, a genuine smile with love and respect, that is always there. So therefore, human beings need friends. Friendship is entirely based on trust. Trust comes from transparency and love, compassion. So, naturally, in order to create a happy family, a happy community, these things are ultimately the most important matter. Money, of course, is important, material facility, of course is important, but not the top, the most important. So, that's one thing.
Then, the second, the wider perspective, realistic seeing, is very important - many of our problems are created by unrealistic methods. Obviously, nearly 7 billion human beings, nobody wants problems, yet, a lot of problems are essentially our own creation. Why? You do not want problems, but you create problems. Why? Firstly, lack of knowing the reality. So, your approach, you try to seek some positive thing, happiness, joyfulness, or even peace, but your method becomes unrealistic, so through any unrealistic method, you never get a satsifactory result. It's clear. Therefore, in order to carry out a realistic method, we must have full knowledge about the reality. In order to see the reality, in order to know the reality fully, we must look objectively. When our mind is with anger, with frustration, we cannot see the thing objectively, or when there's too much attachment. With that kind of mental state you, cannot see the reality.
One time, I met one American psychologist, Aaron Beck, Dr. Beck. Many years ago I met him in Stockholm. At that time, I think his age was already 84 or so; we had some discussion. He mentioned, according to his observation, when our anger develops, the object which we feel angry towards, that appears very negative, but actually 90% of that negative-ness is mental projection. He mentioned that. He has no religious mind, but he's a scientist, so, according to his own research, he found that way. So, therefore, all those negative emotions, destructive emotions, afflictive emotions, have a strong influence in our mind, so through that way, we can't see the reality objectively. So, in order to see things objectively, our mind must be calm.
Then, we must investigate the thing from various angles. One event, if you look from one angle, it looks a little bit negative, but the same event looked at from another angle looks positive. So, obviously, when we develop anger, hatred, the very nature of anger [is that] you need some kind of independent absolute target. So, the negative thing is something absolute; then anger and hatred come. Once you look at the same object through different angles, you might see some positive thing. Once you see that, the intensity of anger automatically reduces, so, then, gradually your attitude becomes more peaceful. So, therefore, when we develop these negative emotions, we should investigate the reality carefully, objectively. For that reason, also, a calm mind is very essential. So the practice of compassion, I think, brings all these benefits. A more compassionate mind increases self confidence, inner strength. The compassionate mind creates a more calm mind.
So, that way, we can see the object realistically.
And with a calm mind our investigation becomes much more realistic. With a fuller knowledge about reality, then our method becomes a realistic method. So, here, one practice is, when we face some problem, investigate whether there is a possibility to overcome that problem or not. Then, through further investigation, when you realize, now, that problem, there's no way, no solution, no way to overcome that, then too much worry is not very helpful. It's better to accept.
Through investigation, if there is a possibility to overcome that, then, instead of sadness or being demoralized, make effort. So, one sort of advice, one sort of text written by one Buddhist scholar in the 8th century, he mentioned, when we face some problem, then investigate the problem. If there's a possibility to overcome that problem, then there's no need to worry. If there's no way to overcome that problem, then too much worry is no use. I think that's a very realistic sort of advice. So, with a calm mind we can utilize these sorts of methods. So these are the ways to keep our minds more calm, more realistic.
And then, another thing. Can we really develop warm heartedness? The answer is yes. Why? Human basic nature, I consider, is gentleness. Recently I met one Italian scientist, a brain specialist, in Australia. He mentioned... Of course, among the audience, there may be some scientists, then if my understanding is mistaken, please make corrections. According to that scientist, he told our gathering, previously, scientists believed that the human basic nature is more individualistic, selfish. Then, later, they began to find that there is some part of the brain, they found the potential of affection. So, the affectionate attitude also is a part of human nature, he mentioned. Is it true? (laughs) You should investigate, you should ask some knowledgeable scientist. He mentioned at our meeting, so I shook hands, "Now you, as a scientist, make me a confirmation, that one of the basic human natures is more compassion rather than selfishness or aggressiveness."
So, anyway, I think that's common sense. If you look, as I mentioned before, a more compassionate mind goes very well with this body element. Constant anger, fear, are against this body element. So that is also one important factor. A basic kind of consistency with this body, is very close with peace of mind, rather than agitated mind. That's one thing.
Then, the way we're born, from our mother. Immediately after birth, from the child's side, there's a tremendous sort of affection, trust, to the person, at home, at the birth. At the time the child has no idea who's that person. But the biological factor is totally relying on that, and as long as that person holds you, you feel happy, safe. From the mother's side also, immediately at birth, when [the child is] born, it seems not very clean, but the mother really loves, really feels [that the child is] very precious. So, therefore, that's our way. Biologically, we are equipped with affection.
Without that... Now for example, again, some scientist told me, after birth, the next few weeks, the mother's physical touch is the key factor for proper development of the brain. So, therefore, in our biological factor, we have the seed of compassion there.
Now, there are two levels of compassion I want to share with you. Compassion, or affection, one is the biological factor. That's actually limited, biased, and a lot of involvement, mixed with a lot of attachment. Now, with the help of human intelligence, with that compassion, the biological factor of compassion, as a seed, with the help of human intelligence, human awareness, that can increase, further develop. So, the biological factor of compassion is limited, is only towards your friends, and very much depends on their attitude. So the biological factor of compassion is oriented towards the other's attitude, other's actions. Now, with human intelligence, awareness, reasoning, we can further develop that. Then, that compassion is not oriented towards the other's actions, the other's attitude, but rather towards the person himself or herself or even further, the sentient being itself.
I think everybody knows, God makes distinctions, sins and sinners. God never forgets sin. But sinners, [God] always forgives. To sinners... God truly loves sinners, he is very much concerned. Not the sin. So, here we make a distinction. Sin is the action, sinner is the actor. So we make a distinction. So, therefore, here, the biological level of compassion is mainly towards the action, the attitude. So that kind of compassion cannot extend towards your enemy, your troublemaker, because that compassionate attitude is very much oriented towards the action.
Then, the second level of compassion is not oriented towards the action, but to the actor himself or herself, like sinner. So that level of compassion can extend towards your enemy, your troublemaker. So, now, here, we have to make a distinction. As far as the wrongdoing, the harmful action, is concerned, we must oppose, we must take countermeasures. But towards the actor, like sinner, that side, we must keep compassion or a sense of concern for their well-being. We can do that.
This marvelous human intelligence, we have such an ability to make distinctions. So, when I talk, when we talk, when all religious traditions talk about love and compassion, it is the second level, like according to theistic religion, we are all created by God, the same source. One time, I met one Muslim. He told our gathering, that a true Islamic practitioner should extend love and compassion towards Allah's entire creation. All other traditions are very much the same, including Buddhism, they extend love and compassion to the entire humanity, to the entire sentient beings, like that. So, [they have] different reasons, different concepts, but the actual practice is the same. So, that love and compassion is the second level. With the help of human intelligence, further extend our love and compassion towards the entire humanity, irrespective of their attitude.
So through that way, we can develop a certain sort of attitude towards our enemy. Enemy - in order to practice patience, tolerance, you need a troublemaker. Our patience and tolerance can never develop towards our mother or towards God. So, tolerance, only the time, the opportunity when someone creates trouble, that's the moment of the practice of tolerance. So therefore, from that viewpoint, your enemy is your best teacher. Instead of developing a negative feeling, you must develop gratitude, appreciation. That does not mean you bow down. As far as wrong action is concerned, we need condemnation. But, as far as the person is concerned, at the actor's level, we must respect, we must appreciate. So, if we think, if we use common sense, I think these are sensible methods, you see, to change our attitude. Clear?
So, as I mentioned before, we are all the same human beings, we all have the same potential, the same ability, so I thought, based on some of my own practice and with the help of some scientists, and some practitioners' experience, I just share with you. So, think more seriously about these points, and those people who feel that some of these points are sensible, then pay more attention, and think more, and eventually implement by yourself. Then, those people who may feel that now is a waste of time listening to these things, and are in the hot sun, then try to forget it. No problem. So.. And these things, according to my own experience, even physical change needs time. Mental change needs more time. Think constantly, familiarize, using more reasons, more experiments, then, eventually, you will get some conviction. Conviction - firstly, you learn, knowledge, then think more, experiment, then you develop conviction. Conviction brings effort. Effort brings result. That's the changing of our mental attitude.
Thank you very much.
(52:50 min talk ends)
His Holiness the Dalai Lama: Now, some questions. And come here. Come here, come here.
Whoopi: Yes, alright. Here I come. And down I go. I have some questions for you that people have sent in.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama: Yes.
Whoopi: So, the first one says: Your Holiness, I am fourteen years old. As a youth, how do I keep my faith in the goodness of humanity, and in achieving world peace, when the world seems to be in such turmoil?
His Holiness the Dalai Lama: I think the first part, I already mentioned. (HH in Tibetan to the translator: Haven't I?)
Whoopi: They want me to read it louder. Oh, louder. I'm sorry. (HH adjusts Whoopi's ear microphone.) The question that I just... Better?
His Holiness the Dalai Lama: Yes, I think better. (laughter)
Whoopi: Alright. The question was: Your Holiness, I am fourteen years old. As a youth, how do I keep my faith in the goodness of humanity, and in achieving world peace, when the world seems to be in such turmoil?
His Holiness the Dalai Lama: First part.. the first part I already mentioned. We have the potential. And, use common sense. And also, observe, your neighbors, those people who are more compassionate minded, or in the family, who have a more compassionate atmosphere there, all family members are much happier. And also, their neighbors also have good relations, and are much happier. Then, those families who may be very rich, very powerful, but are lacking human affection, then even within their own family members, may not be very happy. So, that's one.
Then second part. In the past century, the 20th century, although I think it is almost the greatest century of human history, with a lot of new inventions in the field of science and technology, much development, really wonderful. And also, I think, new ideas, like human rights, or the right of self determination, these things, equality, I think there has been much development in the past century.
At the same time, among many historians, they say that the 20th century eventually became the century of bloodshed. In that century, the number of people who were killed through violence, through war, were over 200 million. So, I usually describe the 20th century, in spite of some positive things, but the century itself also became the century of bloodshed, the century of violence. That immense violence, including the use of nuclear weapons, if that tremendous sort of violence, really brought a better world, a safer world, a peaceful world, then that immense violence can be justified. But that is not the case. Therefore, now, we must look a different way. That means that problems among humanity always remain. And then on top of that, the global warming, and also the population increasing, like the economic crisis recently, these, now, are problems. So, the only way, when we face these problems, when we try to solve these problems, at least the man-made problems, when we face these things, we must adopt a realistic method, in order to solve these problems - that is dialogue. So I am often telling, that the 20th century became the century of violence. Now this century, the 21st century should be the century of dialogue, in order to develop a peaceful century. (applause)
So here, I want to tell you, I think that in 1996 I met the Queen Mother of England. Since she observed the whole century, so I asked her, "Since you observed the whole century, so has humanity, the world, became better, worse, or the same?" Without hesitation, she mentioned, "Better." Then her reason, when she was young, nobody talked about human rights, or the right of self determination. Nowadays, these things have become universal values. She mentioned that. So, then, of course, the awareness of the importance of ecology, has much increased. And then, also, the freedom of (NOT CLEAR, fa...) about violence has much increased. During the previous century, when nations declared war on their neighbors, considered as an enemy, when they declared, every citizen of the country, without the slightest question, joined the war effort proudly. Now that kind of mental attitude is completely changed, since the Vietnam war, in this country. The anti-war movement is very strong, in many parts of the world. So, the desire for genuine peace, I think everywhere, is very very strong. So, these are positive things, so this shows that our future is hopeful.
Now I want to tell you, the 14 year old, I'm usually telling... My generation, I'm now, fifty, sixty, sixty-seven, oh no, I mean seventy-six...
Whoopi: The opposite.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama: Just the opposite, seventy-six. So, my generation, I don't know about your generation (touches Whoopi's hand), my generation, anyway, belongs to the 20th century. So people below thirty, twenty, these people belong to the 21st century.
Whoopi: Yes. Yes.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama: So, I don't know which one you belong to. So, you asked the question, 14 years old, belongs to the 21st century. So, my century is gone. The people who belong to the 20th century are now ready to say bye-bye. So, now, this young person, 14 years old, you belong to the 21st century. So, as far as the 21st century is concern, now only ten years have passed. Nearly now, eleven years passed. So, 89 years yet to come. So, these young people, you are the people who will really make the new shape of this century. So, you must realize that. And, in order to make a new shape of this planet, you should have vision, and determination, will power. So, please study well, with self confidence, a more optimistic attitude, and that, as I already mentioned, is very much related with a compassionate heart. So please pay equal attention to brain development and warm hearted development. This I want to share with you, so that you can be a really sensible, responsible person, and you can make a significant contribution on this planet, and particularly in the United States.
Now, I think, Lincoln abolished slavery, then Martin Luther King achieved civil rights. Now, you have an American black president. Wonderful. (applause) You see, you really used your freedom, your equality. Through that way, what you achieved is quite remarkable. So, this great nation, actually, I think, America, I think, is the leading nation of the free world. So, you should have full confidence, and full optimism, work hard, this is not time for relaxing, it's time for work. Like Japanese brothers and sisters, and also German people, after the second World War, their new nations were built from ashes, but they did very successfully. So, there are some problems here and there, particularly the global economic crisis, sometimes it's possible to have a little bit of a feeling of demoralization. That's a real failure. In spite of some problems, you should not feel that way. You should develop self confidence. America, Americans, made tremendous contributions for world peace, for world economy. Now, in the future, also, you can do that. So, with full confidence, self confidence, you must work hard. That I want to tell you.
Now, next question.
Whoopi: Your Holiness, as a teacher, how can I create a positive learning environment?
His Holiness the Dalai Lama: Oh, my knowledge is limited. My experience is very limited. But I think, as I briefly mentioned before, ultimately the individual really makes a difference. So, I really appreciate a teacher having that kind of feeling or concern. I very much appreciate. So, firstly.. I feel, in the education field, up to now, my impression and also some of my friends, also have the same view. In the modern education system, they pay much attention to knowledge, or brain development, and do not pay adequate attention to warm heartedness. (applause)
Obviously, when the European continent started a separate education institution, at that time, moral ethics, these things were concerned or taken care of by the Church. Now, time has passed, the influence of the Church sometimes has been a little reduced, and family values, I think to some extent, have been a little reduced. So now, the education institution alone should take of both, brain development and development of warm heartedness. And, in secular education, the only way, the only practical way, is the secular way to educate about compassion. When I use the word secularism, some of my friends, some Muslims, some Christians, they have the view that secularism means a little disrespect about religion. According to Indian tradition, secularism is not that way. Secularism actually respects all religions, including non-believers. (applause) So that is the real meaning of secularism. India's constitution is based on secularism, and those Indian founding fathers, like Mahatma Gandhiji, Rajendra Prasad, and Dr. Ambedkar, these great lawyers who drafted the Indian constitution, they themselves were very much religious-minded. But the nation is a multi-religious community, so therefore secularism is very fit. So, therefore, now, like America, I think, the whole world, is becoming smaller and smaller and itself is like a multi-religious community. So, I think this Indian tradition, for a thousand years this secularism is there, so, when I say secularism, that way, it's not in the negative sense, towards religion.
And maybe the Bolshevik revolution, the French revolution, during those periods, [there was] some, maybe some sense of anti-religion, that was not toward religion itself, but the institution. Because, at that time, the ruling elite was very much linked with religious institutions and religious people. So, when they were against the ruling system, then they had to be against the supporter of that. So, there may be some sort of indication against religious institutions, actually not against religion itself. What is religion? Not ceremony or costumes. Real religion is the practice of love, compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, self discipline. These are religion. (applause) So, nobody can be against religion. No. Religious institutions, oh yes, even in Tibet some religious institutions, I think including the Dalai Lama institution, are outdated. So, you see, that is something different. So you see, real religion and religious institutions - religious institutions are more or less a social thing. With social change, these must change. But religion... A thousand years have passed, I think that human emotions haven't much changed. Modernity, means external change. Not human emotion.
Of course the environment makes some influence in our way of thinking. Even, I think, Americans who live on farmland and those Americans who live in big cities, I think their way of thinking is a little bit different. That's the environment, due to environment, like that. But basically the same level of these emotions, so still very much relevant. So, secularism... so, the teacher... When you teach students about the value of compassion, this is not sufficiently carried by words, but through actions. So, if this question is a face, if you usually smile, then you should carry out more smiles with your students. Not such a stern face. (makes a stern face and laughs)
When I was receiving teaching from my tutor, when the tutor showed me a smile, affection, I have more enthusiasm to learn. Occasionally, my teacher looked a little bit with a stern face, then sometimes I was a little bit demoralized, like that. So, therefore, your own attitude and close connection with your students, like a family member, and then, through that way you can share, you can transfer your own experience of compassion and love to them. That's, I think, important. Thank you. Next question. (applause)
Whoopi: And it's the last question, Your Holiness. This person asks: Do you ever see yourself returning to Tibet one day?
His Holiness the Dalai Lama: Oh, yes. Things are always changing. (applause and cheers) The People's Republic China, since Mao's time, Mao Tse Tung's time, has much changed. I think if, Chairman Mao,now, you see, recently, they had some celebration, 90 years, the anniversary, or something, sometimes I now feel, if Chairman Mao himself returned to China today, I think Chairman Mao, I think, would be very shocked. (laughs) Obviously, now, today's Chinese Communist Party is communist without communist ideology, capitalist-communist, so [there has been] big change. (laughs) So, certainly, I think the voice of freedom, democracy, rule of law, more and more voices are now coming, including the Chinese Prime Minister himself, Wen Jia Bao. You see, the last few years, he quite often expressed, "China needs more political reforms." Like that. So, things will change, certainly, changing. Today's China, compared with 40, 50 years ago, much change. So, like that. Not only the Chinese case, but the whole world. Things are changing. I think, sometimes, the power of gun for the immediate is very decisive, but in the long run, the power of truth, the power of compassion, is much more effective than the power of gun. Isn't it? (applause)
Whoopi: I agree. So, I need to introduce Michael Fitzpatrick, but before I do that, I want to thank you for your words of wisdom, because...
Audience member: What about all the people in power...
His Holiness the Dalai Lama: Oh, yes. Okay, yes, one question.
Audience member: What about all the people in power that don't... (inaudible)
- Revolution is coming - (T-shirt)
His Holiness the Dalai Lama: Now, I always make clear. The world belongs to humanity. America belongs to the American people. So, since the country belongs to the people, rule of the country by the people, the best way is the democratic system. (applause)
Now, firstly, when elections take place, including yourself, think more seriously, (laughs) that you should choose the right person. Then, even after elected, if you are really dissatisfied, then the next election is coming. (laughs) Then, also, I think, you have two powerful houses, particularly the Congress (House of Representatives), and also the Senate. So, your own constituencies, I think, you can express your feeling directly, to your elected congressman or senators. Then, through that way, of course, I think the American system is a very good system, very well-balanced: independent judiciary, legislative, and executive, I think very well divided power. I think, wonderful. So, of course you have some sort of complaint, it is your right. So, you should express that without fear, and make effort, and tell more people. Isn't it? Like that. Okay. (applause)
So, you see, you know, the democratic system is the best system. Therefore, in my own case, the last almost 4 century old Dalai Lama institution that holds both political power and spiritual - that I felt was outdated. So I voluntarily, happily, proudly ended it. So, I am fully committed to democracy. (applause) So, I love the democratic system.
In the meantime, no matter what good system, but ultimately it depends on the individual who carries out this work. So, now, here, the problem is, we are really facing some kind of moral crisis. That is a serious matter. No only in America. Everywhere. Even in India. A very religious minded, very religious minded country. I often tell my Indian friends, if you really believe in Lord Shiva, Brahma, you should be honest. If you're really involved in corruption, then you should not practice dharma. If you practice dharma, we should not be involved in corruption. I am telling like that. (applause)
So, here also, I don't know here how much is the extent of corruption, I don't know here. (laughs)
Whoopi: Not as much as it used to be, but there's still kind of a little bit. (laughter)
His Holiness the Dalai Lama: That is, I think, really important. The moral principle, the moral ethics, whether religious believer or not, it's a different question. But so long as we are human beings, particularly involved in administration or politics or anywhere, leadership must have moral principle. That's very important. Money is important, but moral principle is even more important. That's, I think, (applause), I think you should keep these points, and make effort.
Letter from the Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama http://cafe.themarker.com/post/3048986/
Part 1 Lecture http://cafe.themarker.com/post/2289801/
Part 2 Q&A http://cafe.themarker.com/post/2289802/