November 14, 2017
Published By Tenzin Saldon

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama greets people in Huy, Belgium on May 29, 2006. (Geert Vanden Wijngaert / Associated Press)

Dharamshala: The answers for how to achieve a happier planet, harmonious countries and for the future of humanity to prosper, all seem to converge at a singular message—Education of the heart.

‘A more peaceful world can become reality only if we educate, not just the brain, but also the heart,’ writes His Holiness the Dalai Lama, in an Oped titled, Education of the Heart in the Los Angeles Times on Monday. Read the Oped here.

Reviewing the modern education and its narrow scopes, the Tibetan Nobel laureate writes, ‘At present our educational systems are oriented mainly toward material values and training one’s understanding. But reality teaches us that we do not come to reason through understanding alone. We should place greater emphasis on inner values.’

By inner values, he meant the fundamental and profoundly human wellspring of ethics that is within ourselves. ‘Regardless of whether we belong to a religion, we all have a fundamental and profoundly human wellspring of ethics within ourselves. We need to nurture that shared ethical basis.’

And that can be achieved through a worldwide initiative for educating heart and mind in this modern age—A global secular ethics in the modern education system.

‘My wish is that, one day, formal education will pay attention to the education of the heart, teaching love, compassion, justice, forgiveness, mindfulness, tolerance and peace. This education is necessary, from kindergarten to secondary schools and universities. I mean social, emotional and ethical learning,’ the 82-year old Peace Icon writes.

Noting that pursuing of national interests only begets strife and war, he argues that ‘the time has come to understand that we are the same human beings on this planet. Whether we want to or not, we must coexist. Living together as brothers and sisters is the only way to peace, compassion, mindfulness and more justice.’

His Holiness also shares his thought on US President Donald Trump and his ‘America First’ policy. ‘When the president of the United States says “America first,” he is making his voters happy. I can understand that. But from a global perspective, this statement isn’t relevant. Everything is interconnected today.’

Calling on Trump to take more concern over global-level issues, His Holiness writes, ‘There are no national boundaries for climate protection or the global economy. No religious boundaries, either. The time has come to understand that we are the same human beings on this planet. Whether we want to or not, we must coexist.’

Tibetan spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama wrote the op-ed with Franz Alt, a television journalist and bestselling author. This piece is adapted from their new book, “An Appeal to the World: The Way to Peace in a Time of Division.”

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