Indianapolis, US – US founding principles are freedom, democracy and liberty, the spiritual leader of Tibet His Holiness The Dalai Lama says because of America's role as a leading country in the world, while speaking to more than 200 American mayors, in building a more peaceful world.
The spiritual leader of Tibet and Nobel Peace Prize laureate gave Sunday's keynote address at at the U.S. Conference of Mayors 84th Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, highlighted the importance of Compassion and Kindness, in building a more peaceful world.
Following his address, Lady Gaga joined him for a question-and-answer session moderated by journalist Ann Curry, in Indianapolis. He later discussed America's role as a global leader.
"I always think of the United States as leader of the free world. It's a country known for technological innovation. Your principles are freedom, democracy and liberty, and these qualities are related to warm-heartedness, a respect for others and a concern for others' well-being. These are not slogans but related to a mental attitude. So I hope and believe that this nation can take the lead in building a more compassionate world."
"On this small blue planet we are facing the effects of climate change, our population is increasing and natural resources are declining. On top of all that, we face other problems, difficulties we have made for ourselves. No one wants to face problems, and yet we create them through being too self-centred and not concerned enough about others. We divide people into 'us' and 'them', which leads to conflict and sometimes even war.
"The 20th century was marked by immense violence. Some historians say 200 million people were violently killed. If it had resulted in the world becoming a better place, some might suggest it was worth it, but this is not the case. Therefore, we have to address the destructive emotions like anger, jealousy and self-centredness that are a source of our problems. We have to cultivate our basic human nature of compassion."
His Holiness said that ways need to be found to help everyone experience a calm mind. He mentioned work that is going on to introduce common human values to the existing education system. Taking a 'City of Kindness' button from his bag, he mentioned what a great inspiration Louisville, City of Compassion and Anaheim, City of Kindness are.
"Their efforts give me great courage that efforts are being made to create a brighter future. I don't expect to see these projects come to maturity, but we need to take practical steps to introduce compassion, not just in theory but in practice. I think you can make a significant contribution to this and many other nations will then follow your example."
After the speech, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was joined by pop star Lady Gaga and businessman Philip Anschutz for a panel discussion.They spoke about topics that divide society, including race and sexual orientation, with Lady Gaga saying, "None of this can matter anymore."
"The truly fantastic thing about kindness is that it's free. You can give and give and receive kindness and the well never dries up," she added.
She spoke of disharmony in the country and that kindness is the cheapest way to cure it with a priceless aftermath. Fellow panellist, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Philip Anschutz added to this that Tom Tait had run for his mayoral election on a platform of kindness and won. "This is a room of practical people," he said. "Kindness is something you can all use."
Asked how to find peace in this violent world His Holiness suggested that it can be very helpful to try and look at things from a wider perspective. Something that looks terrible close up can seem less daunting if you step back from it. You might even find it has positive aspects. "Whatever happens," he said, "hope and self-confidence are essential."
"Despite it being our human nature to be compassionate, modern education is focussed on external and material goals. There are always problems to face, but it makes a difference if our minds are calm. On the surface we may get upset, but it makes a difference if we are able to stay calm in the depths of our minds."
"There are two kinds, His Holiness explained when asked what the most fruitful kind of meditation is. "One, single-pointed meditation focuses on a single object or for example on the clarity of the mind. But another kind of meditation is analytical, involving deeply thinking things through," His Holiness said, adding that he personally finds analytical meditation more effective and more satisfying.
He added, "We are social animals, so our future depends on the rest of the community. Therefore, paying more attention to inner values like love and compassion are the right approach."
During the event, Mayor Rawlings-Blake invited the gathering to watch two short videos about Mayor Gary Fischer of Louisville, Kentucky and his initiative to declare Louisville a City of Compassion and Mayor Tom Tait of Anaheim, California, who has made Anaheim a City of Kindness. His Holiness has visited both cities and encouraged the Mayors in their work, which includes special attention to moral education.