By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Nov. 17: The Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Wednesday virtually exchanged his views on generating compassion through humanitarian crises with scientists and scholars of the National Institute of Disaster Management from his residence in Dharamshala. The Dalai Lama during the Q & A session reiterated the need for a realistic approach in difficult circumstances, explaining his own life’s predicament.
“I lost my own country and freedom. Lots of destruction, but [I] tried to think through the problem. My approach regarding Tibet, Middle Way Approach, was not out of anger [saying] Tibetan independence. Chinese are also human brothers and sisters and traditionally a Buddhist country. . . This approach seeks to remain a part of the People’s Republic of China but at the same time, our unique cultural heritage must be preserved. Eventually, millions of Chinese could also benefit,” he told the audience through the virtual platform. Reasserting his stance for a middle-ground to resolve the Sino-Tibetan conflict, he remarked that thinking in a wider context will be helpful to reduce frustration, anger and fear.
In response to a question surrounding emotional rehabilitation, the Dalai Lama said that the education curriculum should include knowledge regarding developing peace of mind as a secular subject. He also deemed the work of aid workers and organizations crucial as “implementing Karuna through action” proves vital during natural and man-made disasters.
The octogenarian leader thematically underscored the importance of Karuna and Ahimsa, which he said could be found in most religions in the world. He also linked the concepts of socialism and democracy with the concept of compassion, responding to an audience query, “Even with Chairman Mao Zedong, we became very close friends. At that time, I even wanted to join the Chinese Communist Party because of socialism. But we also suffered under CCP control. As time passes, their thinking is also changing now . . . Previously, they considered me as some kind of reactionary but a number of Chinese, really, try to follow my thinking and praise me.”
The Nobel laureate also advocated for a “happy environment and stable climate” which he said is continuously affected by the new scientific technologies that go unnoticed and impact our surroundings. Moreover, he criticized the polarized discussions around religion, suggesting that religions start looking like “parties” where strong assertion of one’s religion against the other becomes a cause of fighting, and further sidelines the real message of togetherness.