OSAKA, Japan: On his third day of visit to Japan, His Holiness the Dalai Lama today held another interactive discussion. This time with thousands of students and teachers at Seifu Gakuen Boys High School in Osaka, which closely follows Buddhism, Japan’s third largest populated city. The theme of the discussion was “What one would hope young people to do”.
Responding to a question from a student, His Holiness the Dalai Lama lamented that ignorance and affinity for wars made the 20th century as a century of violence, adding, but how the present century will take shape solely depends on vision of today’s youth.
“Though the 20th century witnessed tremendous technological advancement, but two world wars and development of nuclear weapons resulted in the death of over 200 million people. There were regular wars in the beginning of the last century as people at the time take pride in retaliating when others declare war against them. However, this negative trend gradually changed in the later half of the century with the advent of dialogue as a means to resolve conflicts,” His Holiness said, encouraging the students to envision a more peaceful and happier 21st century.
“Our generation is gradually disappearing, so it is important to think about how to make this century more happier and peaceful. To achieve this depend solely on how today’s younger generation’s effort and positive vision. The youngsters must think about the repercussions of the past century’s wars and violence. You must make efforts and have visions to shape this century,” he added.
His Holiness said education and people to people contact are crucial to make this century a century of dialogue. “The modern education system is about material development and lacks focus on inner values. So, both teachers and students should pay attention on developing inner values and peace of mind by incoporating secular ethics a part of the curriculum,” he said.
He said we should use our intelligence and unique expression of smiling to fight against ignorance and build trust with fellow human beings. “In their research findings, modern scientists have proved that self-centered attitude causes more anxiety and fear in mind, which results in the destruction of human’s immune system. On the other hand, a sense of concern for other human beings reduces the negative emotions and helps to build trust, inner peace and healthy physical body.”
Responding to questions from the students, His Holiness said the Japanese people show serious facial expression and advised them to utilise human being’s unique quality of smiling. He said Japan lacks contact with the outside world and encouraged them to make greater contact with the outside world and learn English to do so. His Holiness said using his broken English he travelled to different parts of the world and make friends.
His Holiness praised the concept of European Union as an important development. He also spoke about the sustained efforts being made to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict through dialogue. “Germans and French consider each other arch-enemies in the past. A German quantum physicist through his research said this attitude gradually disappeared. Later, they became parts of European Union. So, with positive vision and effort, it is also possible to form Asian Union and African Union.”
Answering a query about he remains healthy, His Holiness said he usually sleeps seven to eight hours at night, takes breakfast and lunch and skips dinner.
Stepping down from the dais after the talk, His Holiness the Dalai Lama went straight to bless a student who is a physically-challenged since birth. His Holiness said he is very happy to learn that he can study in this condition.
Following the talk, His Holiness visited Myodokai Center and gave a talk on promotion of positive values like love and compassion. Quoting a scientific study, he said when one develops anger, things looks very negative and 90% of that negativity is just one’s own mental projection which is just illusion and unrealistic. He said while modern science has made unprecedented contribution to material development, Buddhist science trains an agitated mind through meditation and warmheartedness.
His Holiness thanked Myodokai Center for their long time support to Gyumed monastery in India. He said Gyumed monastery has been one of most important centers of learning and preservation of Tibetan Buddhism.
He then visited Rananji Temple and gave a talk on the importance of developing a sense of oneness of humanity.
The community of the Rinnanji Temple, which belongs to the Soto Zen tradition, were pleased to welcome His Holiness in the afternoon. He in turn began his talk by telling them how happy and honoured he was to have the opportunity to meet with them. He said:
“I am now nearly 79 years old. At the age of 16 I took responsibility for Tibet at a difficult time and in so doing I lost my freedom. At the age of 24 I lost my country and became a refugee. I have met all kinds of difficulties, but as the Tibetan saying goes: ‘Wherever you are happy, you can call home, and whoever is kind to you is like your parents.’ I lost my country, but I’ve been happy and at home in the world at large. Living a meaningful life is not about acquiring money and other facilities; it’s about dedicating you life to helping others as much as you can.
“If you think only of yourself, you’ll be anxious, suspicious and full of fear. Such feelings create a distance between you and others. On the other hand, the more you think about others and try to benefit them, the easier you feel. The more compassionate you are, the better your health. Since I became a refugee 55 years ago, I’ve met all kinds of people, from leaders to beggars. All of them were the same as human beings; none wanted suffering, all wanted to be happy. Of course, there are differences between us in relation to country, language and faith, but these are secondary. If we pay them too much attention we divide ourselves into ‘us’ and ‘them’. If each of the 7 billion alive today thought of themselves as members of the same human family there’d be no grounds to include some and exclude others.”
He suggested that if someone had survived the disappearance of the Malaysian aircraft MH370, when they met someone else, they wouldn’t care who they were or where they came from. They’d be simply happy to make contact with another human being.
He spoke of the positive results that have emerged from 30 years of dialogue between modern science and the Buddhist science of mind. He said we train the mind by transforming it and we do that by employing the mind itself. Knowledge of this is inspiring increasing interest among modern scientists.
Among questions from the audience, one related to the film ‘Seven Years in Tibet.’ His Holiness remarked that Heinrich Harrer told him that the years he spent in Tibet were the happiest days of his life, mostly because of the compassionate nature of Tibetan culture. Another questioner reported that his grandparents and other relations’ remains are interred at Rinnan-ji and requested prayers for them. His Holiness told him that Buddhism believes in rebirth, based on the fact that consciousness has no beginning or end. He added that those who have a karmic link to the deceased are in the best position to benefit them with prayers.
Finally, His Holiness reiterated that all human beings ultimately belong to the same family. He mentioned the Buddhist notion that all beings possess Buddha nature. Most important of all he drew attention to the notion that misconceptions and negative emotions are not actually part of the mind, which is why they can be overcome when the right conditions are met.
[Inputs from dalailama.com]