BODH GAYA: “Younger generation, the generation of the 21st century have the opportunity to see a better world, a happier world if we build the awareness through holistic education,” said His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who delivered the keynote address to thousands school and college students at Bodh Gaya, Bihar, 25 January. The Tibetan spiritual leader said that the modern education needs an urgent revamp and in order to usher a happy, peaceful future, the younger generation must have access to a more holistic education.
“Modern education is very sound, but it seems to be oriented on materialistic values; not enough attention is given to the development of the person as a whole, and to encouraging a secular sense of values and basic warmheartedness,” he told the gathering of Indian students and teachers.
He held that an education system focussing on the growth of both human intelligence and warmheartedness is key to lasting peace on earth.
“It is now time that we develop a system that incorporates an education of both mind and heart; one that is based on study of the workings of the mind and emotions through reason and analysis rather than religious beliefs”.
Hinting that the ultimate cause of suffering in human beings was mainly human inability to tackle destructive emotions, His Holiness said such a holistic system will create opportunities for young people to develop greater self-awareness, mindfulness and learn to tackle the destructive emotions.
“In every field of our activity, we need principles such as compassion, respect for others, kindness, taking responsibility. Now the time has come we have to think seriously how to introduce education of heart and mind, based on secular thoughts, particularly Indian secular concept. I think it is very relevant to today’s world”.
Addressing to Founder of Alice Project and his longtime Italian friend, Mr Valentino Gaicomin, His Holiness exulted over the contribution of Alice Project in implementing the idea of universal ethics and holistic education in Indian schools in Bihar. “You are actually implementing what we want,” His Holiness thanked him.
His Holiness also inaugurated Mr Gaicomin’s book on Universal Ethics at the ceremony. Mr Gaicomin in his address said that the Alice Project was inspired by His Holiness the Dalai Lama when they first met several decades ago. “His Holiness said it would be excellent if I continue to work for Education in India. In following your advice, the Alice Project was born in 1994,” Mr Gaicomin said, while the audience broke into applause.
After the interaction with Indian students, His Holiness the Dalai Lama headed to Watpa, Buddhist Thai-Bharat Society to inaugurate a new Thai temple.
Alice Project founders, Luigina de Biasi and Valentino Giacomin, after years of experimentation in three Italian Governmental Schools, founded Alice Project, the first Indian intercultural and interreligious school in Sarnath, in 1994. The school began initially with 75 students and four teachers. Today, the project educates one thousand students, classes cover all school years, ranging from kindergarten to university. In 2001 another Alice Project school was opened in Bodhgaya, Bihar.