Mumbai: Hailing the ancient Indian tradition as most relevant in today’s world, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said the traditional knowledge offers instruments to tackle the emotional crisis and could ensure peace and happiness if integrated into the modern education system.
This morning, His Holiness was delivering the ‘Silver Lecture Series’ on Compassion and Need for Universal Responsibility to students and staff at Mumbai’s Guru Nanak College of Arts, Science and Commerce.
Along with education which generally deals only with academic accomplishments, His Holiness said societies need to develop more altruism and a sense of caring and responsibility for others in the minds of the younger generation studying in various educational institutions.
“In today’s world, it’s important that we recognise our 7 billion fellow human beings as brothers and sisters. As human beings, we all have not only a desire but also a right to be happy. However, we tend to be preoccupied with differences of nationality, religious faith and so forth that lead us to think in terms of ‘us’ and ‘them’. We neglect the fact that at a deeper level we are all the same in being human and there is no justifying fighting and killing each other.”
He noted that materialistic life and attitude will not help in reducing the emotional crises which arise from lack of moral ethics.
“So existing education should include education about your [Indian] own 1000 year knowledge of how to tackle one’s mind and how to bring peaceful mind. Particularly the value of karuna, ahimsa.”
“If we can introduce these in our education, the next generation who receive such holistic education will grow up to become a successful and compassionate professional, a compassionate doctor, compassionate engineer, teacher and so on.
“It will take time but we must start the work now.” He further expressed his hope in all human beings ability to give and promote love and compassion when he said each one of us has the seed of compassion from birth. “Using our reason and intelligence, we can enhance our sense of compassion and come to understand how its opposite, anger, is harmful.”
“Kindness and compassion give rise to self-confidence, which in turn empowers you to be honest, truthful and transparent. This self-confidence brings peace of mind, which also favours good health. That way we will be happy individuals, happy families, happy societies and eventually a happy world.”
During the Q&A session, His Holiness answered to questions about the future of Tibet and why there was no Bhikshunis system in Tibetan Buddhist tradition.
On the Tibetan issue, His Holiness said despite all the hardship Tibetans have faced, their spirit is unsubdued and remains strong. Chinese hardliners have failed to suppress Tibetan language and culture. These days, Chinese Buddhists are increasingly coming to appreciate the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. He remarked that things are changing and that a totalitarian system has no future.
He said he is committed to speaking up for the protection of its natural environment. He mentioned a Chinese ecologist’s observation that Tibet is as important to the balance of the global climate as the North and South Poles, so he referred to it as the Third Pole.
He added that he is committed to keeping Tibet’s knowledge of philosophy, psychology and logic alive, as well as the Tibetan language in which it is most accurately expressed.
A member of the audience asked why there were no Bhikshunis, fully ordained nuns, in the Tibetan tradition that Shantarakshita established the Mulasarvastivadin monastic discipline in Tibet.
He said, “According to that tradition, the ordination of Bhikshunis requires the presence of a Bhikshuni abbot and no such person came to Tibet. In recent years, however, some Tibetan nuns have taken the ordination in the Chinese tradition.”
In the past, Tibetan nuns generally did not study extensively, but over the last 40 years, His Holiness has encouraged them to do so. Consequently, there are now nuns who have been awarded the Geshe-ma degree indicating that they have training and knowledge equivalent to similarly qualified monks.
Speaking on his second commitment: promotion of religious harmony, the Tibetan spiritual leader offered his deepest admiration for Guru Nanak, who came from Hindu background made a pilgrimage to Mecca as a mark of respect. “What a great gesture?
“India sets an example to the rest of the world when it comes to religious understanding, the practice of ahimsa, Karuna.”
“We need such qualities here and now in the 21st century because as human beings we are essentially the same and we all have to live together on this small planet.”
Tomorrow His Holiness will address the 22nd edition of TechFest 2018 at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Powai, Bombay. In the past, TechFest lecture series has featured several renowned personalities including Dr Abdul Kalam, Dr John Forbes Nash Jr (Nobel Laureate in Economics), HE Hamid Karzai (Hon former President of Afghanistan), Pranab Mukherjee (Hon Former President) among others.