IG’s Peace Blog

Peace and its many aspects

The Dalai Lama on Peace

The 14th Dalai Lama is an interesting and somewhat controversial figure.  I found a site which presented some of his ideas about peace.  The page is called “A Human Approach to Peace”, and that expresses well his outlook. Here are a few excerpts:

“Science and technology, though capable of creating immeasurable material comfort, cannot replace the age-old spiritual and humanitarian values that have largely shaped world civilization, in all its national forms, as we know it today. No one can deny the unprecedented material benefit of science and technology, but our basic human problems remain; we are still faced with the same, if not more, suffering, fear, and tension. Thus it is only logical to try to strike a balance between material developments on the one hand and the development of spiritual, human values on the other. In order to bring about this great adjustment, we need to revive our humanitarian values.”

“I do not speak as a Buddhist or even as a Tibetan. Nor do I speak as an expert on international politics (though I unavoidably comment on these matters). Rather, I speak simply as a human being, as an upholder of the humanitarian values that are the bedrock not only of Mahayana Buddhism but of all the great world religions. From this perspective I share with you my personal outlook – that:

1. Universal humanitarianism is essential to solve global problems;
2. Compassion is the pillar of world peace;
3. All world religions are already for world peace in this way, as are all humanitarians of whatever ideology;
4. Each individual has a universal responsibility to shape institutions to serve human needs.”

“As one brought up in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition, I feel that love and compassion are the moral fabric of world peace. Let me first define what I mean by compassion. When you have pity or compassion for a very poor person, you are showing sympathy because he or she is poor; your compassion is based on altruistic considerations. On the other hand, love towards your wife, your husband, your children, or a close friend is usually based on attachment. When your attachment changes, your kindness also changes; it may disappear. This is not true love. Real love is not based on attachment, but on altruism. In this case your compassion will remain as a humane response to suffering as long as beings continue to suffer.”

IMHO, the Buddhist tradition, and its accessible formulation by the Dalai Lama has a lot to teach us about expanding our affective and humanitarian “horizons”, and about the sources of violence at all levels.  While some might dismiss the four points of the Dalai Lama’s personal outlook as simplistic or idealistic, I think they merit serious reflexion and indicate, once again, that esoteric, inner peace is inextricably linked with exoteric, outer peace.

[Note:  no endorsement of the Dala’i Lama’s political engagements implied]

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January 23, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] on the Dalai Lama and peace You might have seen my post on the Dalai Lama and Peace .  Well, today I came across the site of his foundation:  The Dalai Lama Foundation […]

    Pingback by More on the Dalai Lama and peace « IG’s Peace Blog | January 26, 2010 | Reply


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