Guwahati: Modern education is not enough to create happy individuals, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said today, calling the significance of holistic education system that could combine the education of mind and heart.
Speaking to over a thousand students and faculty members of the Dibrugarh University in Assam, His Holiness said, “Modern education is too much materialistic. When the British had introduced it in the country, Indian scholars and religious leaders should have participated in it, and combine modern education plus our own thousands years of wisdom.”
His Holiness told the Assam audience that one of his recent commitments was to revive the ancient Indian knowledge of the workings of the mind and emotions. With more and more Indians showing interest in their ancient wisdom, His Holiness said he feels inspired.
“One of my commitments this year is to try to revive Indian thought and knowledge about the inner world. Out of 200 countries, India alone can combine modern education with ancient wisdom and teach how to tackle emotions and how to bring peace of mind.
“if the present education system continues unchanged, focussed largely on material goals, we will ensure that future generations are only interested in money and power,” His Holiness said.
The Tibetan spiritual regretted the rise of human crisis and violence in today’s world. “Today, it’s important to acknowledge the oneness of humanity. As human beings we are physically, mentally and emotionally the same. We really are like brothers and sisters. “Many of the problems we face today we bring upon ourselves because we focus on these secondary differences between us. We cling to the idea of my nation, my religion, my community, that we are rich while they are poor. This creates a strong sense of ‘us’ and ‘them’.”
He further stressed the importance of sharing global responsibilities in today’s interconnected world and noted that it is a matter of great urgency for people to find ways to cooperate with one another in a spirit of mutual acceptance and respect.
“The time has come to make an effort to understand that our future depends on others. In our own interest we must be concerned about others and take care of them. This is the wise way to ensure our self-interest. Neglecting others and thinking only of yourself is a foolish way to approach self-interest,” His Holiness asserted.
To make the 21st century happy and peaceful, wishful thinking and prayers will not be enough, he said at the talk.
“Peace must come through inner peace that we develop within ourselves. The basis of inner peace is love and compassion and not anger, not jealousy, not fear. Scientific research shows that a healthy mind contributes to physical well-being. Since we all wish to live in a happy and peaceful world, we should first start, on an individual level, to create inner peace within oneself; this is how to make this a compassionate century. And it is those of you who belong to the 21st century generation who need to make this happen. Our hopes for the future rest on you,” His Holiness said, pointing to the young students.
The 81-year-old Noble laureate reiterated his three main commitments: promotion of human values such as compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment and self-discipline; promotion of religious harmony and understanding among the world’s major religious traditions and third, preservation Tibet’s pristine environment and Buddhist culture of peace and non-violence.
“Whenever I speak in public I greet my audience as brothers and sisters. Differences of religion, colour, profession, family background, whether we are rich or poor, people of faith or non-believers, belonging to this nationality or that nationality are secondary in the context that we are all human beings. As of different religion, all the world major religious traditions convey a message of love and compassion, just as here in the land of ahimsa we talk of maitri and karuna. Despite their different philosophical views all these traditions are dedicated to encouraging a sense of love and compassion.”His Holiness said, on his first two commitments.
He then spoke about global climate change and the need for sustainable approach towards deploying scarce resources.
“In today’s world we face increasing natural disasters, including earthquakes, due to the effects of climate change. Yesterday in Guwahati I attended the Namami Brahmaputra Festival celebrating the sacredness of that great river, but we know it also has a tendency to flood. Because of global warming the Himalayan glaciers are melting and less snow is falling. In Dharamsala, where I live, there is much less snow than when I arrived more than 50 years ago. In the meantime, the human population continues to increase, we must find ways to raise the living standards of the poor. We must also find ways to make better use of scarce resources.”
During the Q&A session, His Holiness recalled his experience of meeting Naren Chandra Das, an Indian paramilitary guard who escorted him from the border to Tawang in 1959. His Holiness said, “He is now 78 years old and although I am actually older than him, I thought he looked older than me. I was very moved to meet him again and gave him a hug.
“Once I crossed the border, the people from Tawang gave me a very warm welcome. Local officials also took care of me under instructions from the Government of India. When I reached Tezpur, I gave my first official statement to the large number of media people who had gathered there,” he recalled.
Concluding his talk, His Holiness congratulated the university for its decision to introduce a course on secular ethics and invited the Vice Chancellor of Dibrugarh University to attend further deliberations on the curriculum with Buddhist scholars.
In the afternoon, His Holiness met with almost 500 Tibetans from the Miao and Tezu settlements before leaving back to Guwahati.