The Dalai Lama spoke to over 6,000 people at the Tsuglagkhang temple in Teckchen Choling, Dharamsala; as the Buddhist leader himself highlighted, there were practitioners from several countries and cultures present, and the subject at hand was the state of the human world in general. In order to move forward positively and productively, the Dalai Lama urged all members of humanity to contemplate their faith and to shift their focus toward spiritual journeys. According to him, all human beings should strive to realize spiritual enlightenment—and to cast aside all materialistic goals and temptations.
More specifically, the Dalai Lama argues that, “All sentient beings have an instinct to seek happiness and avoid suffering. Pain and pleasure come from causes and conditions, but we human beings are the only ones who can understand this. Every day I pray for the welfare of all sentient beings, but the only ones I can really do anything for are my fellow human beings on this planet. Our human intelligence enables us to examine how to reduce human suffering. However, as education has become more focused on materialistic goals, and as people increasingly seek happiness in sensory pleasure, less attention has been paid to our inner world, to peace of mind and to morality.” Indeed, it is difficult to question either the validity or the significance of his words.
Human beings cannot lose touch with their morals or beliefs—especially when the reason for doing so is merely for short-term enjoyment. Humanity cannot allow themselves to be blinded by hollow or false ambitions and achievements; the current state of the world demands that all able individuals make as much of a positive difference in the world as they can. Even though the present state of humanity may be bleak—as illustrated by the all too recent Las Vegas shooting—this means that there are countless ways that people can make significant positive differences. Furthermore, the Dalai Lama insists that is certainly possible to do good while simultaneously grieving for all the human beings who have suffered or died as a result of both past and present evils.
The Dalai Lama offered further insight into the Las Vegas shooting: “One result is that we face problems largely of our own making. Because of a lack of compassion wars break out and we witness unthinkable killing. We pursue trade in weapons whose sole purpose is to harm and kill. Look at what happened in Las Vegas yesterday where nearly 60 people were killed and more than 500 were hurt. In other places poor sanitation and a shortage of food mean children are dying of starvation. Anger and hatred, seeing our brother and sister human beings in terms of ‘us’ and ‘them’, limit our outlook and lead to the bullying, exploitation and killing we learn about in the news.”
Every day it becomes more and more clear that the perspectives of citizens of the United States are largely splintered when it comes to gun control and violence prevention.
However, the Dalai Lama argues that human beings must challenge their own core morals, beliefs, and behaviours to ensure that they are being a part—big or small—of the solutions to global problems rather than a part of their causes: “We are social animals, who live in communities, who depend on each other to survive. Therefore we need to respond to each other with love and compassion. Scientists have found evidence, revealed by young infants, that basic human nature is compassionate. However, our natural instinctive compassion tends to be biased toward those close to us. Since we’re all interdependent, we all benefit if our neighbors are peaceful, whether they are a neighboring family or a neighboring country. Therefore, we need to extend our compassion to the whole of humanity.”
So, if you were in need of any more reasons for why you should always do your absolute best to make the world a more livable place for all living beings—you’ve got them.
*This content was inspired by an amazing article that can be found here.