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Spirituality in Today's World
Wingate University September 5, 1995
Dalai Lama

(Note: The speaker overuses "you see" and "how do you say." We do not attempt to include those phrases every time he uses them.)

As a human being I always consider the human warmth is something really precious thing. And I feel there is many problems on global level, community level or family level or even one single person's level there is a certain said problem frustrations, fear, doubt, is it depression? Is it these I think many things, I think many negative things, many unpleasant experiences essentially I think you see is man made­our own creation. These because of lack of human warmth or human compassion.

So therefore, I always practice human compassion or human affection as much as I can because you see I feel it is something the root of all our good qualities and all our success and very much related with that you see human quality. And here I notice some people here you really on your face you see genuine big smile or something I can take affections I really you see can read you see your deep feeling together. So I'm very, very happy to be with you, be amongst same human being you see and same of the same kind hospitality in a friendship warmth feeling. I really appreciate. And also see me as a Tibetan and as a Dalai Lama.

You see under the present circumstances very, very heavy sort of responsibility and sometimes I feel the responsibility is so big and so difficult. Although I have some firm belief ultimately you see just what truth will prevail but then anyway in our case time is running out. So under such circumstances I really appreciate other human brothers, sisters deep feeling and sense of solidarity and you see trying to help as much as much or can. That you see to me is great inspiration.

Then I want so say a few things. First you see one of my basic belief or fundamental belief is that basic human nature is gentleness, more compassionate and therefore you see every human being have the seed of good quality or have potential to create happy life, meaningful life or happy human community. I think that it is actually wrong to believe in something negative and there is not much hope for future. It is that kind of attitude I think you see is wrong. So be optimistic, this I feel is very, very important.

You see the success or happier future must depend on our goodwill, our effort with self confidence you see without shaking or without loosing hope and determination. There's always possible to work on problem or suffer. Right from beginning it will remain all a problem so big we can't do anything. It's that kind of pessimistic attitude I believe is the real source of failure.

So be it dropped and especially in America I think compare with Tibetan, Tibetan nation. America anyway young nation but you see you have I think is a great potential and also a tradition and your value, liberty, freedom. These are you see I think fundamental human values. These are based on fundamental human values. So you see why is the time changing? Of course its the way of life.

Certain things of our life or even dress or hair style and also some different colors here and there and there is time change. Time goes with new fashions, new thing as it goes and comes, that's okay, doesn't matter. But I think the basic principle matter is concerned, I think is that so long as we are human being. I think that these basic values should not neglect and for example you see family, they family value and also the different kind of spiritual value these are I think and American traditional the value of freedom, liberty, democracy, peace at no point to neglect and freedom with sense of responsibility.

Freedom does not mean, you see, no self discipline, no freedom with sense of responsibility, sense of commitment, sense of concern and with that self discipline I think that these are, I think the real important matter for human community or human being.

Then another thing while material development on the science technology which is very good, very useful but meantime it is wrong to believe or to expect every human problem can be solved with help of technology. I think that's wrong. Quite logic, it is quite simple logic: We human being not produced by machine alone, not by machine. We although machine help sometimes now to begin human life to start human life but I basically we are not a part of a machine so therefore our requirement cannot provide fully by machine. So, therefore, you see it is wrong to expect, that if you have money, that everything can be solved. That kind attitude I think wrong, not realistic. So therefore while we have the material development there's no point to neglect about our inner spiritual value.

Now when I say the spirituality, there are two kinds of spirituality. One spiritual with faith such as Christianity, Muslim, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and so on. And other spiritualities without particular religious faith just as simply retain or preserve or increase these basic human good qualities such as human compassion. The spirit of forgiveness or spirit of harmony these are, I believe, the basic human good qualities.

From birth the seed of these good qualities always there. In fact, I think, entire our life begin within the human affection without human affection regardless of life. So that's that fact. So then also according to modern medical science is a piece of mind is very much related with health also. So this has become clear. So therefore in order to block our piece of mind this basic human good qualities are very influential factor. So therefore you see even one individual may not have much interest towards religion. OK, I mean as a nonbeliever, but at the same time should be a good human being, that's very important. This is not question of something moral or something you see ethics but essentially it's our own interest.

Look our mind remain calm then due to you see you get some real benefit right from the early morning your mind calm, peace (unintelligible) fast, very tasteful then lunch and work all oh yes lunch and during night you sleep. All goes very well, the digestion goes good sleep without any pill. You can sleep very well and then, you see, work your brain remain calm. No nervousness (agitation) you can handle all your professional works very properly. So usually here you see people consider look at things objectively and carry work with objectively then you see our mind when really is calm. There and then we really can carry that kind tendency really if our mind receives too much education. How can see things objectively.

So therefore, every human activities then can be constructive if our basic mental state, not that kind of calm, then it is possibility every human action including religious teaching can be negative, can be destructive. So I often you see make example you see on hand is a five fingers all these fingers so long as attached to palm then every finger can be very useful and can carry its own responsibility effectively. These fingers if separated from the basic hand or palm then no use. So is the similarity, the prime mover of our life of our activities is motivation, so long motivation is sincere and in a world calm then every action be a positive. So therefore the while the material to block government is taking place we must be sufficient attention to look at about our inner qualities or spiritual values.

If someone who feel believer who can accept religious beliefs then of course follow different religious tradition then usually you see I advise I suggest to people that it is generally speaking it is better to follow ones own traditional religious faith.

Sometimes I noticed that some people without much proper thought or investigation hurriedly have changed tradition then later find some difficulties so therefore better to follow ones own tradition. Then of course in case some individual who really feel the different kind of religious tradition it is more effective more suitable according to ones own mental position then it is individual right is to follow the new teaching. But then it is here I found in America there are religious Buddhist who really experience Buddhist way of approach is more effective on their life is okay. But then I want to tell you that there are in human nature there are some tendency that in order to justify ones own change to religion you see little bit critical view towards your previous religious tradition. This we should avoid because at this moment firstly is the various different religious traditions in spite different philosophy or views all have great, same potential to help humanity. So is it respect towards all major world religion it's reasonable and very important.

Then secondly today world become smaller therefore communication contact between different religious tradition always there and sometimes you see it causes trouble in all humanity in our community. Look at Bosnia, same town, even same family sometimes you see some adversity and difficulties happen because of the differences because of the name of different religion. So that really is unfortunate. So therefore there are many parts of the world there are some kind of movement to increase the understanding visual understanding of different religious traditions. I also as a Buddhist am in debt as a movement in debt as to work. So I do feel it is common ground. We can work together. We can develop genuine mutual respect and to that way you see even mutual learning from different religious tradition. I personally learned of many good things from other religious traditions.

So therefore you see it is very, very important to promote genuine harmony among the different religious traditions. So under such circumstances you see the critics to other religions tradition is not not good.

So then since for humanity family level or individual level or international level or global level it is very, very crucial about the deeper value of human being a spirituality. So therefore the various and different academic institution such this university I feel you have great responsibility to build heavier human society. So I get the impression that traditionally in many in a few hundred years ago I feel you see the when the separate education institution started at that time I feel for deeper human values the moral ethics these taken care by the religious institution. The knowledge that the brain side is taken care by the educational institutions, I think that is the way of the beginning.

Then eventually in the society the religious interest is declining. So as a result eventually nobody take care about yes about deeper human value and that item effects family life and community life. Sometimes I feel certain unhealthy things in different parts of the world, I mean those materially highly developed society, there are also unhealthy things­killing abuse or sexual abuse. Sometimes these things start as young children seeking one another I think very, very sad and also parents who abuse as his own children I think something unthinkable.

So these are some of the moral crisis is now happening. I think this I feel this is symbolic because there are something lacking, not necessarily as individual people something you see have bad no, I think right from the beginning we are I think you see bit negligent is a certain values. So therefore I hope and I believe various education institution right from the beginning I think it should be more attention about deeper human value. This is not necessarily you see teaches religion but simple make clear the deeper human good qualities or deeper human values such as affection to one another and sense of responsibility and individual interest very much develop on others interest.

If community happy the single person which is part of the community naturally gets benefit. If whole community, if the atmosphere of the whole community you see not healthy then how can individual family or individual person can be as happy person or happy family. So these are you see very clear. So these I think can be explained to the student right from the beginning. I think is very, very important.

Then in order to teach the deeper human value of good friends, value of good quality of human being. These not sufficient just explain by word, we must demonstrate through our action in the eyes of children. So in the family parent or friends must take great care child every way is to show then how effective, how useful, how good the human affection. And then in the classroom the teacher not only does he teach the lesson or give the information but also must show the teaches the genuine sort of the sense of concern about the students long future.

So it's a true practice, the true actions so we can introduce the real value of human compassion, human affection, a sense of community. So we may call these things secular ethics. So that I think is sometimes I feel a bit neglected. So in order to have a healthier society is the education system I feel key factor is this brain site increase bigger and bigger but the warmth here becomes smaller and smaller.

Then I think more trouble really, really come. Sometimes I do feel if you look thousands of different mammals. These mammals very, very large kind like tigers, beast, lions or these things. Their destruction very limited. But then look to human being, looks very gentle. There's no long teeth, not like tiger, no claws but looks very gentle. But then in real action we are more destructive than these other mammals. So this not because of this body but because of this brain. So if we too much rely only on intelligence, negatively about good heart, I think you see we will face more problem. On toward that more instrument to utilize, to manipulate I think is more danger.

External force, external police force, no matter how efficient with their computers, with their dogs, with these things they cannot cope. So the inner discipline with sense of responsibility without that very difficult society will face more and more problems.

So while we are trying to have remedy for these unhealthy things in society, I think we must be more about the basic human development through education such as my one of my observation or my idea. Or then I also want to say something about Tibet's situation.

First of all I want to make clear, Tibet a small country and far from the United States and no oil money for the time being. So it neglect, so it's nothing important to us. I think that kind of attitude is wrong. You see firstly, morally speaking, the weaker, weaker one who is suffering you should pay more attention­that's a human value. Animals like dogs seems to be good dogs, the smaller dogs much lying on doorsteps physically more the animal way. We are human beings, we consider justice to compassion non violence, these are something very important for humanity so we must respect these deeper value.

So therefore firstly you see a Tibetan case. A Tibetan issue as I mentioned before is a just cause. And on whole our freedom movement carried according the principle of non violence. And also our attitude towards China brothers, sisters, you see, within the compassionate sort of attitude compassionate atmosphere. And therefore morally speaking I think it is worthwhile to take to look or to take care.

And then secondly Tibet geographically. I feel and because of the geographically situation, I feel Tibet in future; if Tibet become a genuine zone of peace, irrespective of what political status then Tibet can be very important for peace on that part of the world because India one side China other side most two populous nations. Genuine friendship, genuine peace between these two nations are, I think, very crucial factor for peace of that part of the world. And since huge is the population there, so therefore even as world peace, also for world peace that is very important. So therefore you see Tibet can be geographically you see because of geographically situation Tibet important, can be important tool in that field.

Then Tibetan culture Buddhist, usually I call Buddhist culture this Buddhist culture, culture which is based on non violence, based on compassion and based on theory of interdependent; I think, that culture I'm not talking BuddhistBuddhist culture. I make this distinction because I noticed some Tibetan Muslim their individual religion, their individual faith Muslim not Buddhism. But because they live in Buddhist community many generations so there you see real conduct of behavior you see very much within the Buddhist culture. So therefore I see that Buddhist culture I feel has great potential to create happier society. So traditionally you see Buddhist culture, Tibetan Buddhist culture reach beyond Tibetan border up to Mongolia. Area different part now Russian federation now is an independent Mongolia and Inner Mongolia. These have same culture. Now to the Chinese, first of all Buddhism is not alien to the minds of Chinese. Even today under difficult circumstances you see, including some university professors in the China proper, you see showing widely interest towards Buddhist or any religion and particularly Buddhism and Tibetan and Tibetan Buddhism also. Therefore you see I feel if Tibetan Buddhist culture survives at the moment a real trap, the trap of extension is really very, very reality because of the manufacture especially due to China's population transfer.

So therefore at the moment there's real danger. If this danger is overcome and Tibetan Buddhist culture survive, I feel that Tibetan Buddhist culture can help millions of the young Chinese and a whole lot in India. So the idea of the zone of peace goes very well with Tibetan Buddhist culture. So therefore you see in this I think it is worthwhile to look at that issue to take care to help Tibetan issue.

Tibetan issue not like any other nationalistic movement. This something if you study very carefully, there are some distinctive natures or features there. So now my appeal to you is: This problem, Tibetan issue, Tibetan problem, neither benefit for Tibet nor for China. Privately some individualist Chinese leaders privately admit that they want to solve this problem, end problem through negotiation. Some Chinese indicated that, but still its the official attitude very much aggressive attitude.

So in anyway as I mentioned earlier Tibetan issue can solve through negotiation and through negotiation mutually acceptable agreeable solution definitely we'll find. So in it my last more than 60 years my stand my method is to try to reach some kind of agreement. So this I usually call middle approach. I'm not talking about independence. I just is trying to find a mutually agreeable solution. So now up to now you see negotiation never take place although my side is ready to negotiate anywhere anytime without any prior condition. But the other side up to now, no concrete response is happen so therefore please help in order to start meaningful negotiations with Chinese. So at this moment this is my appeal.

And then lastly once more I would like to once more express my deep appreciation to those you see, people in the public level as well as officials parliament two houses. Those really, you see helping towards just cause, I very much appreciate. And I can express on behalf of 6 million Tibetan people to thank, to appreciate. And I hope to see your support will continue as you promised. And also, you see, American public, I know American public, once you see get their interest, when you have their interest, then you have a tendency, some kind of genuine concern about the freedom movement about the liberty, about democracy, you have some kind of national response.

You see there that I really appreciate, so please continue help us. Thank you very much.