Koyasang, Japan, April 15, 2014: - 'Secular ethics is the only way to bring lasting peace and happiness in the world,'the spiritual leader of Tibet His Holiness the Dalai Lama said, adding: The modern education system is very oriented to material development rather than inner human values.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave a talk on How should we live our lives? – Religion and Ethics in the 21st Century" on the final day of his three-day visit to the sacred land of Koyasan, where Shingon, a form of esoteric Buddhist tradition flourished from China to Japan in 3rd to 4th century BC.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama said all 7 billion human beings wish for happiness and do not want suffering. Humans have a greater potential as compared to other beings due to our unique form of intelligence, he said, but the problems which humanity face are our own creation.
He said secular ethics is the only way to bring lasting peace and happiness in the world. "The modern education system is very oriented to material development rather than inner human values. As a result of my last 30 years of discussion with scientists and educationists, we are of the same view that education should include curriculum focusing on promotion of secular ethics and inner values. The experiments carried out in the US on secular ethics have yielded very convincing and good results," he said.
His Holiness reiterated that promotion of secular ethics based on oneness of humanity rather than religion will develop a lasting peace and happiness in the world. "Everyone of us is a part of the 7 billion human beings and our home is the blue planet. Since our interests depend on the rest of humanity, so we must make efforts to educate people to develop a sense of global responsibility for oneness of humanity. Religious background is secondary and without moral principles, religion becomes very dirty. Religion had been in existence for the last 2,000 years, yet it has failed to bring lasting peace and happiness in the world."
He said modern scientists during their interaction with him over the last 30 years have found that fear and anger are destroyers of human being's immune systems, while calm minds result in a healthy body.
His Holiness devoted most of his time taking questions from the audience.
Responding to questions about what should be our thought during prayer, His Holiness said: "Prayer is common to all religion. According to Buddhism, there is no concept of creator and Buddha is your master. The Buddhists focus on genuine listening, contemplation and meditation on Buddha's teachings. He said Buddha is the doctor, Dharma (his teachings) is the medicine and Sangha (monastic community) is the nurse. Praying to the doctor will not cure your illness. It can be cured only if you follow the prescriptions and medicines given by the doctor. So studying and practicing the Buddha's teachings are the only ways to bring mental and physical happiness.
"Telling lies is short-sighted and narrow mindedness. The basis of a happy life is friendship and trust, which can be developed only through being honest and transparent. Everyone of us want trusted friends and don't like someone who cheats," His Holiness said in response to a query on how to avoid telling lies.
Answering a question on some religious figure taking monetary and sexual favours in return for teaching, His Holiness said: "It is totally wrong if some religious figure uses sex as a medium for imparting sermons." He said there is growing interest in Buddhism among the Chinese people. He recalled that around 20 years ago, some Chinese Buddhists from mainland China invited Tibetan lamas from Tibet to give teachings and the latter demanded money in return. "Chinese Buddhists should know the good qualities of a proper spiritual teacher. Such actions are morally wrong and betrayal of Kagyur and Tengyur texts, the foundations of Tibetan Buddhism. You must remain skeptical and should not follow someone out of blind faith. The Buddha said his followers should not follow his teachings out of faith, but rather through experiment." Many Chinese had come to Koyasan to attend His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teachings and public talk.
On being asked what is his impression of Koyasan, His Holiness said: "It is very quiet and perfect for meditation. It is not a place for people who engage in business. I heard that many people are leaving Koyasan for Osaka city."
In concluding remarks, His Holiness underlined the need to study and practice Kobo Daishi's esoteric Buddhism in their daily lives.
Prior to giving the public talk, His Holiness the Dalai Lama paid a pilgrimage to Daito Stupa, which was built by Kobo Daishi Kukai, the founder of Shingon Buddhism, around 816. His Holiness, accompanied by Ven. Yukei Matsunaga, the head priest of Shingon Buddhism and Ven. Saito, a senior spiritual leader in Koyasan, offered prayers in the main shrine of the stupa.
Shingon Buddhism is one of the mainstream major schools of Japanese Buddhism and one of the few surviving esoteric Buddhist lineages that started in the 3rd to 4th century BC that originally spread from India to China. The esoteric teachings later flourished in Japan under the auspices of Kobo Daishi, who travelled to Tang Dynasty China to acquire and request transmission of the esoteric teachings.