By Tenzin Sangmo
Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche at CIBS -Ladakh. July 31, 2019
Leh, July 31: Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche, the former prime minister of Tibetan government-in-exile -Ladakh, lauded the young Ladakhis for recognizing the sensitivity of environmental and other problems brought on by modernity. The former academician was speaking at the Central Institute of Buddhist Studies (CIBS) in Leh.
Rinpoche who spoke on “Ethics in education, economy, social life and policymaking” to students, teachers, dignitaries, and public, began by stressing on the seriousness of the global climate crisis.
“We are moving into a dangerous period where the entire planet earth is posed with the risk of complete disintegration, of becoming unlivable. The scientists are now accepting it and have clearly accepted that science and technology may not have any remedy to these challenges,” he started.
He said although many people are aware of it, they still think it is not urgent enough to pose danger during their lifetime and are not necessarily inclined to care for the lives of the coming generations.
Unless the entire humanity alters or changes their way of life, the destruction of eco-balance is going to destroy the entire planet.
“In such a situation, I appreciate and congratulate the young people of Ladakh for being mindful and talking about the challenges of modernity,” he added.
He called it a misconception to think that modernity is all opportunity and no challenge, something that is deceiving the huge majority of the human community.
He said, “any action which directly or indirectly evolves into violence is unethical and the opposite is ethical.”
He categorized violence as individual, collective, and structural violence.
He called structural violence one of the greatest problems for everyone. “Structural violence involved in the socio-economic and political system that harms individual or group of people is subtle and not tangible,” he added.
Rinpoche observed that given the technology advancement brought forth by modernity, defining ethical conduct through the lens of violence and nonviolence has become more apt because the choice today is between nonviolence and complete destruction.
He recounted the imposition of the current Indian education system by the English Education Act-1835 and called it a system full of defects.
Rinpoche espoused Acharya Vinoba Bhave’s thoughts on education and said following Bhave’s points about the defects of the present education system, the task before education and the tests of education could bring ethics in education.
He said the economy and social life, based on greed and competition respectively, inherently resist ethics.
“Policymakers must have true qualities of respecting the aspiration of the people and have no self-interest, not even the remotest kind to become ethical," he concluded.
The organizers, CIBS, Flowering Dharma and Socially Engaged Buddhist of Ladakh (SEBoL) thanked Rinpoche for graciously accepting their invitations for similar talk each time and said the talks have direct effect in raising the level of awareness in the students.