Dharamshala: - "Help others, bring happiness to other people. If that's difficult, at least don't do them harm," said the spiritual leader of Tibet His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the Tumkur University in Tumkur, Karnataka, India packed with hundreds of audiences, including monks and students, staff, and community members.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama inaugurated a conference on the theme 'Ethics in a New Millennium; Buddhist Perspectives', which is being held as part of the fruitful ongoing collaboration between Tumkur University and Sera Jey Monastic University.
In his inaugural address to the conference, His Holiness said He has a little interest in formality and He thinks himself as just another of the 7 billion human beings. "We are social animals and we depend on each other. Due to factors like climate change, it has become urgent that we think about the welfare of humanity."
His Holiness the Dalai Lama said "Material development is important, but it only provides physical comfort. Scientists are increasingly finding evidence to show that peace of mind is instrumental in good health. Families that are moved by kindness, whether they are rich or poor, are happy, whereas a family that is rich but lacking in kindness and affection is unhappy."
"The material development is all well and good, but that by itself it doesn't make us happy. In fact it can provoke greed, jealousy, competition and stress. It can be a source of violence," he said, adding: "This is why we need to educate people about inner values. No matter how wonderful, no single religion will satisfy all 7 billion human beings. One billion of them claim to be non-believers, while among believers are many who are insincere, who, lacking real conviction, only pay lip service to their faith."
"Everywhere we see corruption growing like a cancer throughout the world. Then there is the gap between rich and poor; too many people thinking only of themselves and not enough about others. All our religious traditions convey a sense of ethics, of moral principles," he added.
His Holiness said: "This country however has long adopted a secular approach, secular in the sense of expressing respect for all religious traditions and even for those who adhere to none. This is an approach that is very relevant today. We need to work out how to introduce ethics into our modern secular education system."
"On a secondary level, I am a Buddhist, but I am convinced that all the major religious traditions convey a common message of love, tolerance, forgiveness, contentment and self-discipline. Yes, we have our philosophical differences, but at root they are all focussed on the same goal. We need a variety of religious traditions and this country, India, is unique in demonstrating that it is possible for all these traditions to exist together side by side in harmony."
The Buddhist leader mentioned that he is also a Tibetan, keenly aware of the pure Nalanda tradition introduced to Tibet in the 8th century by Shantarakshita and preserved there.
His Holiness recalled that he often remarks that Tibetans regarded Indians as their gurus, considering themselves as students or chelas. But, he said, they have proved to be reliable students, because while the traditions of Nalanda University have faced ups and downs in India, they have been kept alive in Tibet.
"The Nalanda masters left us profound explanations of the workings of the mind and emotions, an advanced psychology which could be very useful if made more widely available today. Similarly, it seems that there are close correspondences between Madhyamaka philosophy and the thinking of Quantum Physics."
The talk's most surprising moment came during the question and answer session, when the Dalai Lama answered the question "how we can keep peace within when there is so much violence in the world?"
"Help others, he responded. "Bring happiness to other people. If that's difficult, at least don't do them harm."
"The great affection we all experience as infants, which we tend to forget about later. He suggested that we make greater efforts to keep that sense of affection alive. Finally, invited to give a message to young people today," he added.