His Holiness the Dalai Lama talks with Dr. Mark Williamson, Director of Operation Happiness, on July 28, 2021. Photo credit: Tenzin Jamphel

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Dharamshala, India — The Community Well-Being Program at the London School of Economics (LSE) invited His Holiness the Dalai Lama to engage in a dialogue on the theme 'Creating a Happier World' on July 28, 2021. "We need to think the world as a family of seven billion people," he said, promoting the message of unity through the dialogue process.

Professor Richard Layard, co-director of the Community Wellbeing Program, welcomed His Holiness and spoke about their time together in London." In the BBC interview, you said that one of the most important aspects of a happier life is having a warm heart. That really hit me," he recounted.

"We are equipped from birth to be warm-hearted and caring for others. From the time we are born, the affection of our mothers is a key factor in our survival. We survive because of the affection we receive from our mothers, and in turn, we take care of our parents and our families. Man is a social animal by nature, and we just need to channel our goodness," said His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.

In various conversations over the years, the spiritual leader has expressed a desire to incorporate the philosophy of inner peace into modern education. "Our education must include how we must maintain peace of mind, a healthy body and a happy family. Elementary school students look forward to classes with happy, smiling teachers, not those who are strict and bitter. Even when we interact with animals, for example, when we are kind to dogs, they will be kind to us. Kindness is a key factor in creating happy communities," the spiritual leader explains.

All too often, people who have experienced difficult times find it difficult to find kindness and become indifferent because of their traumatic past. The Dalai Lama has experienced tremendous hardship with the Tibetan community since he fled Tibet in 1959. Even so, he has never felt uneasy and continues to spread a message of peace and kindness.

"Tibetan culture teaches us not to harm others. From the time we were children, we were taught not to even hurt a fly. We are practitioners of Buddhism, and like other religions, it teaches us to be compassionate. When I arrived as a refugee from Lhasa, I entered a country where all major religions live in mutual respect and harmony. As a guest of the Indian government, I learned the values of secularism and democracy. I am very safe and happy here," he replied, when asked how he keeps a positive attitude and spreads warmth through his work.

His Holiness then talks about how one must deal with people who carry bitterness and resentment. He argues that one must continue to show kindness to such people as we may encounter in our lives." If someone is bitter or angry with us, responding to them with the same attitude will only escalate the problem. When we respond with warmth, if not today, maybe in a week or a month, that person may want to change," the spiritual leader of Tibet explains.

The pandemic that struck the world in 2020 has brought severe suffering and grief to people across the globe. Not only has it brought disease to society, it has also led to a dramatic decline in the mental health of children and youth. His Holiness the Dalai Lama, in addressing concerns about how we care for these affected children, emphasized the importance of treating them with care.

"Show your children that you are really taking care of their future. They must have an optimistic and hopeful attitude about the future. The pandemic has brought a sense of hopelessness to young minds. Teach them the importance of peace of mind," said the Nobel laureate.

"Stay connected to your community. In the midst of losing a loved one, it is important to maintain trusting and friendly relationships with your family and neighbors. After losing someone who is close to our hearts, it is important to hold on to our loved ones," His Holiness explained that he offers advice for coping with loss.

He praised the work of Action for Happiness to make the world a happier place. He pointed that he finds it wonderful that the community wants to work together, transcending borders of religion, race and nationality.

"One of the actions I take to make the world a happier place is that I always think of myself as the same as every other one of the seven billion people. If I go with the mindset of 'I am a Tibetan, I am a Buddhist', I would restrict myself,” concluded the Spiritual Leader.

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