VILNIUS, Lithuania: “The smaller nations like the Baltic States, you should make some significant contribution regarding the creation of peaceful century and a century of dialogue. I feel smaller nations can make a significant contribution rather than big nations,” His Holiness the Dalai Lama said greeting over 2000 people from the Baltic states on Wednesday.
His Holiness was addressing a talk on “Human Values in Education” at the University of Vilnius, Lithuania.
Prof. Vytis Vidunas, Director of the House of Tibet gave a short introduction before inviting His Holiness to speak.
Speaking to a soldout crowd at the Vilnius University, His Holiness explained that promotion of a more peaceful world on the basis of the human values of loving kindness and compassion is his primary commitment.
“No one among the 7 billion human beings alive today wants to suffer. Nevertheless, despite all major religions teaching about love and tolerance, because we focus only on our own interests, exploiting and cheating others without concern, we create problems for ourselves.
He mourned the history of violence and killing in the 20th century. “The 20th century was a period of immense violence because of the tendency to try to solve problems by use of force. In the interdependent world in which we live today, this way of thinking is completely out of date. On the basis of the oneness of humanity, we need instead to cultivate a sense of global responsibility.”
His Holiness said the 21st century should eventually become a century of peace and dialogue. “In order to create peace, we should think seriously on ways to reduce the arms trade and eliminate nuclear weapons”.
He remarked that in the short term the power of the gun may seem stronger, but in the long term, as smaller nations like Lithuania have proved, what is stronger is the power of truth.
“I think, you, the Baltic states, already experienced that the power of truth is much stronger than the power of gun. In the Tibetan issue also, we have the power of truth, the Chinese military forces have the power of gun. For the temporary, power of gun is much stronger, but in long run, the power of truth will prevail”.
Highlighting his second commitment to the promotion of inter-religious harmony, His Holiness said the world should imbibe Indian values of harmonious coexistence and religious tolerance.
“People of different faiths and points of view have lived together in peace for more than 3000 years. Now, when the population has grown to over a billion, although occasional problems arise, religious harmony continues to flourish, demonstrating to the world that it is possible.
“As a Tibetan,” he said, “I am committed to preserving Tibetan language and culture, the heritage Tibetans received from the masters of India’s Nalanda University”. His Holiness also raised concerns over Tibet’s ecology and Tibetan rivers, saying that the Tibetan plateau affects not only Tibetans but billions of people across Asia.
Iterating his fourth and final commitment, His Holiness exhorted the rich ancient knowledge of India, particularly the Nalanda tradition. He observed that the ancient Indian understanding of the workings of the mind and emotions, as well as the techniques of mental training, such as meditation, developed by Indian traditions, are of great relevance today and of potential benefit to the world.
From the University, His Holiness drove to Tibet Square where he planted a sapling to symbolize friendship between Lithuania and Tibet in the Centenary Year of Lithuanian Independence. He then walked along a nearby canal to see an exhibition of photographs of Tibet by the late Lithuanian writer Jurga Ivanauskaite who wrote several books on the Land of Snows.
His Holiness had begun his event-filled four-day visit to the country with a press conference at his hotel.
Responding to a question on the goals of education, His Holiness explained, “I consider myself one of the 7 billion human beings. We are mentally, emotionally and physically the same. What’s more, scientists now say they have evidence that our basic human nature is compassionate. That’s a cause for hope. We can see the truth of it in our day to day experience. When our minds are more compassionate, we feel mentally happier and physically well. If we’re constantly angry or afraid, it has the effect of undermining our immune system.
“Everybody wants to be happy—and no one wants to suffer. Yet the majority of the problems we face are of our own making. Therefore, we have to think this through more carefully. When we are young we are generally appreciative of love and affection, but as we grow older we tend to discriminate between ‘us’ and ‘them’.
“The modern education system is very much oriented towards material goals, with little time for inner values. I suggest that just as we observe physical hygiene to maintain our physical health, we also need to cultivate a sense of emotional hygiene to keep our peace of mind. We need to incorporate training about this into our general education.”
Invited to comment on the relative roles of men and women, His Holiness explained how historically, when the criterion for leadership was physical strength, men naturally became leaders. Now, however, education has overcome such distinctions and across the world, there is a greater regard for equal rights among women and men. He remarked that where old ways of thinking discriminate against women, we should oppose them. He added that since scientists have shown that many women are more sensitive to others’ pain, they have a special role to play in promoting compassion and human values.
His Holiness had lunch with the former Mayor of Vilnius, Mr. Arturas Zuokas, and invited guests before returning to his hotel.
Tomorrow, His Holiness will meet Members of Lithuanian Parliamentary Tibet Group and Tibet supporters. He will also deliver a public talk on “The Art of Happiness” at the Siemens Arena.