Dharamshala:- Thousands of people have the chance to hear the spiritual leader of Tibet His Holiness the Dalai Lama's message of the importance of happy life and the importance of secular ethics during the two-day Forum Fribourg in Switzerland.
Over 16,000 people attended His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teachings and public talks during the two-day Forum Fribourg in Switzerland over the weekend, Swiss news portal, The Local, reported.
Speaking on secular ethics on Sunday, April 14, His Holiness said: "Dear brothers and sisters, I'm extremely happy to have this opportunity to talk to you. Please think of yourselves just as human beings, not as Swiss, Italian, Russian, German, French, Spanish or Tibetan. Every one of us wants to live a happy life and we all have a right to fulfill that goal.
However, we face many problems because we insist on focusing on the secondary differences between us."
He said he usually discusses secular ethics under three main points, of which the first is our common experience. We are all born from a mother's womb and most of us grow up under her care. This is a biological source for our sense of affection. Our very survival depends on others' care.
Those of us who received the greatest affection when we were young tend to be happier later in life. Families bound together by affection tend to be happier.
The second point is that we all have the potential to develop a sense of concern for others. No matter how strong or how educated we are, we cannot survive without others, so how can we neglect their interests? Warm-hardheartedness and genuine concern for others earns friendship, on the basis of which we can act truthfully and transparently, which in turn is a source of confidence.
Thirdly are scientific findings. Modern scientists are mostly concerned with matter and what they can measure. But today, increasing numbers of scientists are showing interest in the mind and emotions, concluding that a healthy mind favours sound physical health.
His Holiness spoke to a gathering of Tibetan residents in Switzerland His Holiness asked: "How can we promote secular ethics? Through education – for which we need a map of the mind. Please think about what I have said."
He said that Tibetans have kept alive the spirit that thrived when Tibetan kings ruled all Tibet in the 7th, 8th and 9th centuries. They have kept the Nalanda tradition of Buddhism alive as well as the Tibetan language, which is the best medium for giving it expression.
His Holiness talked about the origins of the Tibetan nation and its culture, noting that archaeological estimates for the dates of the first Tibetans vary from 4000 years ago to 10,000 years ago. He recalled a Chinese archaeologist he met at Harvard telling him that contrary to Chinese government accounts, his findings suggested that Tibetans evolved on the Tibetan plateau itself, not elsewhere in China.
Addressing the 2nd Tibetan Buddhist Conference in Europe held in Fribourg. His Holiness said “Each one of the 7 billion people on earth wants to lead a happy life," according to the Central Tibetan Administration.
"Until now many of them have become accustomed to thinking that money is a natural source of happiness. However, this is not the case. Nowadays, therefore, bodies like the Mind & Life Institute are making efforts to educate people to pay more attention to developing inner peace and a calm mind,” said His Holiness.
His Holiness explained that our various religious traditions besides Buddhism should be capable of fostering the ethics that are the root of such inner values. If we look at what the Buddha taught in terms of the Listener, Solitary Realizer and Bodhisattva vehicles and the Vaibhashika, Sautrantika, Chittamatra, and Madhyamaka schools of thought, we might ask why he gave such a range of instructions. And the answer is that he saw that different people have different needs and aptitudes.
His Holiness read recently that one billion out of the 7 billion population of the earth count themselves as non-believers in any religious tradition. Yet he suspects that of the remaining 6 billion, many more fall among the non-believers because they only pay lip-service to their spiritual practice when they are at the church or temple and appear to neglect it in the rest of their lives.
Therefore, there is a need for a serious effort to increase awareness of the importance of ethics, not as a religious practice related to heaven or liberation, but as something that affects us directly now. We need to help people understand that they will be happier if their actions are more consistently positive, which will lead to greater transparency, more friends and greater self-confidence.