New Delhi, India 21, December 2013: – The skies over Delhi were misty and grey as His Holiness the Dalai Lama set out this morning to drive to the Kempinski Hotel where he was to resume teaching a group he had begun to lecture last year. 1300 Russians, 20 Chinese, and approximately 120 Tibetans and other foreigners awaited him quietly, their faces smiling in rapt anticipation. Having greeted the audience and the Lamas sitting around the throne, His Holiness took his seat.
"Because it is you who are acquainted with your own mind," he began, "it is you who can best judge whether there has been any change or not. If you dedicate yourself to helping others, you'll be happier. I myself try to imbue my life with spiritual practice and although change doesn't occur overnight, if you look back over some years, you should be able to see some improvement."
His Holiness stated that different spiritual traditions, even different schools of Buddhism, may propound diverse philosophical views, but they convey a common message of love and compassion. However, altruism is something even those not spiritually inclined require. Therefore, secular ethics are important today. The spiritual leader argued that when things go wrong for us, it is usually because of our self-centered attitude. "Warm-heartedness is the root of happiness and it's the basis of secular ethics. This is not about the next life, nirvana, God or the Buddha; it's about how to be happy in this life, now. This is why wherever I go I talk about secular ethics. As for me, I don't think I'm anything special. If I dwell on being the Dalai Lama, it creates a sense of distance between me and others. I prefer to be open and honest and to think of myself as the same as everyone else."
He quoted the Buddhist monk Shantideva as saying that unless we exchange our happiness with others, we won't be happy. He continued to note that we can develop and enhance the sense of affection with which we are biologically equipped by using our intelligence.
The Buddha taught that an ordinary person can transform his mind by training it to realize Buddhahood. His Holiness revealed how humans need a means to achieve the transformation necessary to overcome disturbing emotions: we must employ our own thoughts to change the mind itself. The Buddhist conception of way the mind works provides a basis for dialogue with modern scientists, the Dalai Lama stated.
His Holiness advised, "If you have bodhichitta (the pursuit of an enlightened mind), you'll be totally dedicated to the benefit and welfare of other beings...The greatest impact this practice has had on me has been on my peace of mind. I make no claims to have realized emptiness or to have cultivated bodhichitta, but I have some understanding of emptiness and it is acquaintance with bodhichitta that has given me courage and self-confidence. It's very, very helpful."