VILNIUS: “If we really thought of the rest of humanity as our brothers and sisters there’d be no room for killing, bullying and cheating one another,” His Holiness the Dalai Lama said while delivering a talk on the Art of Happiness in Lithuania today.
“Of course it’s natural to want to look after your own interests, but you have to be selfish in a wise manner rather than a foolish. That means considering other’s concerns as well as your own. If the people around you are happy, obviously you’ll be happy too”.
His Holiness was welcomed by Remigijus Šimašius, Mayor of Vilnius and a crowd of 2500 people, as he arrived for the talk at Siemens Arena. The Mayor offered a framed picture of Tibet Square nameplate.
In return, His Holiness presented the Mayor with a traditional white scarf.
Explaining the white scarf (Tib: Khatak), His Holiness said, ”The colour white represents warm-heartedness, truthfulness and honesty. The smooth texture of the scarf represents non-violent conduct—trying to help others whenever you can and refrain from harming them. At the end here, written in Tibetan, it says ‘May whoever is given this be happy night and day’. This kind of gift was first offered in India and has been adopted in Tibet. Since the silk the scarf is made of originated in China, the gift reflects a sense of harmony between India, Tibet and China”.
His Holiness noticed members of audience flying the Tibetan national flag and said, “I appreciate those carrying Tibetan flag. When I was in Beijing in 1954-55 I met Chairman Mao several times. We developed a close relationship—he was very kind to me, almost like a father to his son. On one occasion he asked if we Tibetans had a national flag. Somewhat hesitantly I answered, “Yes”. He approved and told me we should fly it alongside the Red Flag.
“So if anyone criticises you for displaying this flag, you can tell them the Dalai Lama was given permission to do so by Chairman Mao himself,” he told the audience.
The Tibetan Nobel laureate said the world is in crises and needs a greater sense of oneness and compassion.
“Too much emphasis on ‘us and they’ are the source of all the problems. Yes, on secondary levels, we have differences in nationality, religious faith, family backgrounds, educated, less educated but fundamentally all 7 billion human beings want a happy life. That’s our right.
“The Chinese brothers and sisters, I consider them as my brothers and sisters. From time to time, it is our duty to criticise some of their actions but as human beings, they are our brothers and sisters.
“So that kind of attitude really brings inner peace and also inner strength. Through inner peace comes happy human being, happy human family and then happy humanity,” said the Tibetan spiritual leader.
He said inner peace is very important and should be developed through training and awareness, not just through prayers. “Such training should be part of education.”
“According to scientific findings and basic human nature, we should include in the education system, education on how to develop inner peace, not as a part of religious belief, but what I usually call as the Hygiene of Emotions,” he noted.
Responding to a remark on women’s leadership in ushering a better world, His Holiness said, “Now the time has come to make special efforts to promote loving and kindness and women should take a more active role in the promotion of these values”.
The talk was organised by House of Tibet, a non-governmental organisation based in Vilnius.
Tomorrow, His Holiness will travel to Riga, Latvia, where he will give teachings on Tsongkhapa’s ‘In Praise of Dependent Origination’ and the ‘Diamond Cutter Sutra’, as well as Manjushri permission.