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Tibet-Riga-hopesDharamshala: - The spiritual leader of Tibet His Holiness the Dalai Lam said there is a possibility of the coming generations to be more compassionate, if this generation make a common attempt to improve education systems based on common sense, common experience and scientific findings.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate's comments came during a round table discussion on "The Path to Peace and Happiness in a Global Society" held on September 10, in Riga, Latvia.

Welcoming him to a round-table discussion of The Path to Peace and Happiness in a Global Society, the moderator said that His Holiness needed no introduction and invited him to open the conversation.

"In today's global society there are no longer any real boundaries. For example, climate change is something that affects all human beings wherever they are. Our artificial emphasis on 'them' and 'us' prepares the ground for violence and war. And since you chose not to, I'd like to introduce myself – I consider myself to be just another human being like you.

"We don't want problems, and yet most of our problems are our own creation. Nevertheless, we have this marvellous intelligence that enables us to evaluate our emotions, judging which bring happiness and peace of mind and which bring trouble.

"Secondly, as a Buddhist monk, I try to promote inter-religious harmony. I take inspiration from India that has become home to all the world's major religions, which live together peacefully side by side. As human beings, we have a common responsibility to build a more peaceful society."

Archbishop Vagans asked how we implement inner change not merely our external behaviour. His Holiness responded that despite philosophical differences, both Buddhism and Christianity advocate the practice of love and compassion, the ultimate source of all happiness.

Asked whether he will be reborn in Tibet, His Holiness explained that as early as 1969 he announced that whether another Dalai Lama is recognised or not depends on the will of the Tibetan people. More recently he has declared that he will reconsider the issue with the support of other Tibetan spiritual leaders when he reaches the age of 89 or 90.

An Indian member of the panel voiced appreciation of the positive ideas expressed, but wondered why it seems so hard to put them into practice. His Holiness suggested that our existing education system has a materialistic bias that affects everyone.While extolling material goals it says little about inner values.

His Holiness proposed the incorporation of secular ethics into our education system based on common sense, common experience and scientific findings. He conceded that it is difficult to change the present generation, but if we make a common attempt to improve our education systems, we can educate the coming generations to be more compassionate.

"This will not be achieved by prayer alone; prayer can be of great solace to the individual, but changing the world requires us to take action."

His second day in the capital, His Holiness the Dalai Lama accepted two interviews; The Riga Time and PBK TV.

Uncompromising in his questions, Arnis Ritups from The Riga Time asked, "Have you understood the nature of thought?" to which His Holiness replied that his daily practice is essentially about examining the nature of the mind.

When he asked, "Am I speaking with the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara?" His Holiness replied that he never claims to be a Bodhisattva, and that Avalokiteshvara is his boss. Regarding his predecessors as Dalai Lama, he lauded the qualities of the first seven, noting that while many of them experienced spiritual visions, the significant contribution he himself has made is in establishing a dialogue between Buddhist science and modern science.

This prompted the interviewer to ask why consciousness cannot arise from matter, to which the answer was that the substantial cause of phenomena should be of the same nature. Therefore, the substantial cause of consciousness is a previous moment of consciousness.

To a final question, "What is the essence of the Buddha's teachings?" he said: "Use your human intelligence in the best way you can; transform your emotions in a positive way."

The second interviewer, for PBK TV, was Jurgis Liepniecs, who challenged His Holiness by saying that he liked his talk about compassion, that it has no weaknesses, and yet it does not work, because even he needs body guards and so on.

His Holiness responded that this is indicative of the degree to which we have neglected our inner values and how worthwhile it is to make an attempt to change.

His Holiness is scheduled to arrive in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Wednesday, September 11. He will give a public talk on The Path to Peace and Happiness in a Global Society in Vilnius, on September 13.

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