Mumbai — "Earlier, people associated moral values with religion but now a days it is relevant in every sphere of life. Moral values should be incorporated in courses right from kindergarten level to advanced studies," said His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the inauguration of his Secular Ethics course in Mumbai on Monday.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama launched a new course, called 'Secular Ethics for Higher Education' in Mumbai on August 14th. The course, under the guidance of the Nobel Laureate, was developed by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, and aims to encourage critical thinking and compassion.
In his inaugural address, His Holiness said “the existing education system is oriented more towards materialistic development. But if we can incorporate secular ethics such as compassion and warmheartedness into our education system, we can bring about a huge change,”
He lauded the institute’s foresight and initiative in introducing a special program dedicated to secular ethics, and said, “earlier, people associated moral values with religion but now a days it is relevant in every sphere of life. Moral values should be incorporated in courses right from kindergarten level to advanced studies."
“While there could be innumerable sentient beings across the infinite galaxies, there are only 7 billion human beings on this planet. These 7 billion beings are biologically the same. We all have the seed of love and compassion,” His Holiness continued.
“However, despite our common desire for happiness and the innate potential for love and compassion, we are facing a wave of violence perpetrated in the name of religion and greed. In light of these, the future doesn’t look promising. Religion as a mass institution has immense power to transform people into better human beings. But frankly speaking, it has failed in many instances. While religion is a source of joy for many, people have also created sufferings in the name of religion. Now, we must look for other alternatives to bring peace, and education is the only viable option,” His Holiness said.
His Holiness continued, “I develop conviction that different religions could live together, that’s why one of my commitments is religious harmony. Besides modern education of materialistic development, we must develop teaching of secular ethics to train inner value.”
The course is designed by Dr. Monica Sharma, Tata Chair Professor and retired Director of Leadership and Capacity Building United Nations. “The course on Secular Ethics aims to provide a common foundation for multi-cultural diversity based on universal values of dignity, equity and compassion,” according to a press release issued by the institute.
“This course on Secular Ethics will foster critical thinking and an inquiring mind embodied understanding through The course encourages praxis, based on the commonality of humanity and the ability to source this in the self and in the other to foster interdependence and wellbeing. This course embodies universal values individually and collectively, and helps unleash one’s full potential to shift disempowering systems and norms in order to create new patterns for equitable and sustainable results,” it said.
This course will be offered to second year Masters students and M.Phil and Ph.D. scholars and will involve 30 hours of teaching and 60 hours of practice. The first round of the course begins on August 19, 2017.
The inaugural event was attended by eminent scholars, professors, faculty and students of the institute.