The Dalai Lama - Thoughts About the Future
“We are heavily dependent upon science and technology. But if we pay attention only to material progress without also developing an inner focus it will inevitably lead to frustration and dissatisfaction.” – The Dalai Lama
The recipient of the 1989 Nobel prize for peace and the “god king” of more than 6 million Tibetan Buddhists still refuses to fly first class. The Dalai Lama is no self-proclaimed holy man who surrounds himself with the usual material manifestations of his “glory”. His home in Washington could be anyone else’s.
Attachment is Not Compassion
In an interview with Omni magazine he spoke of man’s role in this new millennium. He believes that only true compassion can change the way the world is today. And compassion is not to be confused with attachment and intimacy. It is simply a state of mind that is non-violent, non-harming or non-aggressive. He is concerned that people tend to think of compassion, forgiveness and tolerance as religious ideals.
The Dalai Lama points out that we are compassionate by nature, and if we can teach these values to our children without any religious trappings, the society of the future will not ravaged by wars and conflicts and environmental disasters.
“Religious faith is a luxury,” he says. “You can survive without it. Kindness, compassion, tolerance and forgiveness however, are a question of necessity, of survival." He adds that religion can become a source of conflict and suffering if the basic feeling for humanity is absent.
Another source for conflict and suffering is the fact that when people, governments and organizations are in crisis, they fail to look at the underlying cause of the trouble. Instead they try to find immediate and short term solutions.
Meeting the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala
A couple of my friends who recently made a documentary on Tibetan medicine and were invited to the Dalai Lama’s home in Dharamsala were struck by his easy-going charm and his respect for all human beings, regardless of their rank.
Says Digvijay Mallah, assistant director of the documentary, “Meeting the Dalai Lama was certainly the high point of my life. People wait to see him for months and years and we were lucky to spend half an hour with this gentle man who laughs so easily. I didn’t want to take my hand out of my pocket after he held it in his very strong grip. I didn’t want any one else to touch it. I was walking on cloud nine for a long time after that. His presence fills the room and everyone bows when he passes by. I saw his physician weeping because of his overwhelming devotion for him. Yet the Dalai Lama makes you feel like he’s one of you. Not the guy who has met Clinton and Tony Blair a couple of days ago.”
According to the spiritual leader, compassion in a physician is extremely important for curing a patient’s illness. Illness begins in the mind he says, once the mind is healed, so is the body.
I end with a quote from a book of his thoughts- ‘The Path to Tranquillity’:
“Scientific research and development should work together with meditative research and development since both are concerned with similar objects. . . What science finds to be non-existent, we must accept as non-existent, but what science merely does not find is a completely different matter… It is quite clear that there are many, many mysterious things.”