His Holiness the Dalai Lama with Susan Bauer-Wu, President of Mind and Life Institution and moderator John Dunne, on December 8, 2021. Photo: Ven Tenzin Jamphel

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Dharamshala, India — “We can develop a peaceful world with the concept of oneness of seven billion human beings. The peaceful world does not come from the Sky, but each individual of seven billion human beings, needs to build a peaceful world through warm-heartedness and recognise the seven billion human beings as our brothers and sisters," said His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

On December 8, 2021, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and two scientists held a dialogue on Embracing Hope, Courage, and Compassion in Times of Crisis, followed by an online question and answer session from his residence in Dharamshala, HP, India. The discussion was organized by the Mind and Life Institute.

Susan Bauer-Wu, President of Mind and Life Institution, welcomed His Holiness the Dalai Lama and introduced the panelists, including, Elissa Epel, Professor and Voice Chair, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, UCSF, Michelle Lani Shiota, Associate Professor of Psychology, Arizona State University, John Dunne, Moderator, distinguished Professor of Comtempative Humanities.

When Professor Elissa Epel asked how can we become comfortable in an uncertain future? His Holiness the Dalai Lama replied, "From a Buddhist perspective, things are always changing, the future is unpredictable, and that is nature. Some of the many problems we face are of natural causes, such as weather conditions, but lots of problems are our own creation. A meat-eating animal like a tiger only attacks other animals when it is hungry, while we humans create many problems because of discontent, unnecessary suspicion, and narrow-mindedness”.

"There have been many wars in the past centuries, including the First and Second World Wars. We spend a lot of money on making weapons, which I think is against nature. We should use our wisdom to develop our inner peace and allow individuals to live peaceful lives. We human beings can really build a peaceful world by using our intelligence, wisdom, and being more compassionate,” he added.

"The past is past, and now we must think about the world, about humanity, and these reflections can be helpful to individuals as well. Now I think we can really develop a peaceful world through the concept of oneness of seven billion human beings. Thinking about the basic human emotions, the greatest love we receive from our mother, that is how we start our lives. If we are born angry, it will be difficult to change, but we are compassionate by nature, and without love and compassion, a child cannot survive. Therefore, we should put warm-heartedness in our education system, and in our education, we should pay more attention to how to maintain peace of mind and a peaceful world. The peaceful world does not come from the Sky, but each individual of seven billion human beings, needs to build the peaceful world through warm-heartedness and recognise the seven billion human beings as their brothers and sisters,” the Nobel laureate said.

Professor Michelle Lani Shiota asked how, in this time of crisis, more people can learn to make space for joy and inner peace, while also recognizing the magnitude of the problems facing the world. In response to this question, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said, “If we focus too much on ourselves, we will not be happy even in this life while focusing on the well-being of others is the path to great happiness. If we are really serious about long-term happiness, we need to open our hearts and minds to focus on others as well as ourselves. If we delve into this aspect of psychology, we find that fear, stress, anxiety, and suspicion arise when we over-focus on ourselves. If we can open up some space for courage in relation to others, we can relax more.”

“By helping others, we help ourselves. Our well-being is intertwined with the well-being of others. If we reflect on this in our own minds, it will really make a difference,” said the spiritual leader of Tibet.

“Climate change is forcing us to recognize the oneness of humanity and that we must work together. If we persist in our self-centered attitude and dependence on weapons, the result will only be more suffering and more problems. We have no choice but to help each other because we must live together,” His Holiness the Dalai Lama said.

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