DERRY, Northern Ireland: His Holiness the Dalai Lama graced the 20th anniversary of Children in Crossfire on Sunday, 10 September in Derry, Northern Ireland. The organisation, started by Richard Moore, is dedicated to eradicating poverty and making healthcare and education more accessible to young children around the world.
The anniversary function was attended by over a thousand people including friends and supporters of the NGO as well as several Tibetans. His Holiness was invited to talk on the topic ‘Compassion in Action’.
In his address, His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke about the power of compassion and why compassion without corresponding action is not enough. “Compassion is an emotion that brings all social creatures together. Scientists tell us they have evidence that basic human nature is compassionate,” His Holiness said.
“I’ve seen an experiment in which infants, still too young to speak, were shown animated clips of different behaviour. They responded with pleasure and approval to the one that showed people helping each other, and turned away from the one that showed people being obstructive,” His Holiness explained.
His Holiness further suggested that fear and anger are rooted in self-centredness, being obsessed with ourselves and what we think we need. Being more concerned about others and taking compassionate action on their behalf, on the other hand, is the basis for living a happy life here and now. He said that it’s on such grounds that we can hope to make the 21st a more peaceful century.
“Peace will not be achieved by force. We need to take a human approach to resolving human problems. Talk and dialogue based on candour and respect are the foundation on which to build peace. I’m an admirer of the European Union and the spirit of the decision to put the common good ahead of narrower national interests. Similarly, I have some reservations about the slogan ‘American first’ and the US’s withdrawal from the Paris accord. It seems to me that the natural disasters we’ve witnessed in recent days have been trying to teach us something about climate change. However, if I’ve said anything wrong, I apologise,” His Holiness said.
His Holiness also lauded Richard Moore, the founder of Children in Crossfire for his immense power of compassion and called him his hero.
“My dear respected brother,” His Holiness said referring to Richard Moore. “I usually describe you as my hero. When I first met you and heard your story, I was much moved. I often talk about compassion, but I wonder if I had undergone the same experience as you. You’ve shown such inner strength and your work to establish Children in Crossfire shows what it really is to be human.”
“What you have experienced transformed your life. Instead of provoking your anger, it has strengthened your compassion. Wonderful, “ His Holiness said.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s address was followed by questions from the audience on happiness, world peace, love to which His Holiness responded with humour and profundity of thought.
Responding to a question about grief prompted His Holiness to recall that when his Senior Tutor passed away, he felt as if the solid rock on which he had always leaned was gone. He was at a loss. However, His Holiness said that he decided that what he should do was to try to fulfil his tutor’s wishes for him. “So it’s better to try to transform your sadness into a determination to lead life in a meaningful way. Richard Moore here is an example of transforming tragedy into opportunity,” His Holiness said.
Richard Moore was blinded by a rubber bullet after being shot by a British soldier in Derry as a boy of 10 in 1972. He later forgave the shooter and founded Children in Crossfire to help other children in similar situations across the world. Since then, he has gone on to embody compassion and human values in the face of tragedy.