home store

A Human Approach to World Peace, the Dalai Lama

The Spirit and Flesh World Religion and Spirituality Online Library.

 

 

 

 

 

A HUMAN APPROACH TO WORLD PEACE

by
   His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso,
   The Fourtheenth Dalai Lama

 ISBN 0 86171 027 4

 Wisdom Publications
361 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02115

Copyright 1984 Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama

  
       DharmaNet Edition     1994
    

 This electronic edition is offered for free distribution
     via DharmaNet by arrangement with the publisher.
 
       Transcribed for DharmaNet by Mark Blackstad
 
  DharmaNet International
   P.O. Box 4951, Berkeley CA 94704-4951







A Human Approach to World Peace, the Dalai Lama
Introduction
~~~~~~~~~~~~
When we rise in the morning and listen to the radio or read the
newspaper, we are confronted with the same sad news: violence,
crime, wars, and disasters. I cannot recall a single day without
a report of something terrible happening somewhere. Even in
these modern times it is clear that one's precious life is not
safe. No former generation has had to experience so much bad
news as we face today; this constant awareness of fear and
tension should make any sensitive and compassionate person
question seriously the progress of our modern world.
  
   It is ironic that the more serious problems emanate from the
more industrially advanced societies. Science and technology
have worked wonders in many fields, but the basic human
problems remain. There is unprecedented literacy, yet this
universal education does not seem to have fostered goodness,
but only mental restlessness and discontent instead. There is
no doubt about the increase in our material progress and
technology, but somehow this is not sufficient as we have not
yet succeeded in bringing about peace and happiness or in
overcoming suffering.
  
   We can only conclude that there must be something seriously
wrong with our progress and development, and if we do not check
it in time there could be disastrous consequences for the
future of humanity. I am not at all against science and
technology -- they have contributed immensely to the overall
experience of humankind; to our material comfort and well-being
and to our greater understanding of the world we live in. But
if we give too much emphasis to science and technology we are
in danger of losing touch with those aspects of human knowledge
and understanding that aspire towards honesty and altruism.
  
   Science and technology, though capable of creating
immeasurable material comfort, cannot replace the age-old
spiritual and humanitarian values that have largely shaped
world civilization, in all its national forms, as we know it
today. No one can deny the unprecedented material benefit of
science and technology, but our basic human problems remain; we
are still faced with the same, if not more, suffering, fear,
and tension. Thus it is only logical to try to strike a balance
between material development on the one hand and the
development of spiritual, human values on the other. In order
to bring about this great adjustment, we need to revive our
humanitarian values.
  
   I am sure that many people share my concern about the
present worldwide moral crisis and will join in my appeal to
all humanitarians and religious practitioners who also share
this concern to help make our societies more compassionate,
just, and equitable. I do not speak as a Buddhist or even as a
Tibetan. Nor do I speak as an expert on international politics
(though I unavoidably comment on these matters). Rather, I
speak simply as a human being, as an upholder of the
humanitarian values that are the bedrock not only of Mahayana
Buddhism but of all the great world religions. From this
perspective I share with you my personal outlook-that

1 universal humanitarianism is essential to solve global
problems;
2 compassion is the pillar of world peace;
3 all world religions are already for world peace in this way,
as are all humanitarians of whatever ideology;
4 each individual has a universal responsibility to shape
institutions to serve human needs.



A Human Approach to World Peace, the Dalai Lama
Solving Human Problems through Transforming Human Attitudes
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Of the many problems we face today, some are natural calamities
and must be accepted and faced with equanimity. Others,
however, are of our own making, created by misunderstanding,
and can be corrected. One such type arises from the conflict of
ideologies, political or religious, when people fight each
other for petty ends, losing sight of the basic humanity that
binds us all together as a single human family. We must
remember that the different religions, ideologies, and
political systems of the world are meant for human beings to
achieve happiness. We must not lose sight of this fundamental
goal and at no time should we place means above ends; the
supremacy of humanity over matter and ideology must always be
maintained.

   By far the greatest single danger facing humankind -- in
fact, all living beings on our planet -- is the threat of
nuclear destruction. I need not elaborate on this danger, but I
would like to appeal to all the leaders of the nuclear powers
who literally hold the future of the world in their hands, to
the scientists and technicians who continue to create these
awesome weapons of destruction, and to all the people at large
who are in a position to influence their leaders: I appeal to
them to exercise their sanity and begin to work at dismantling
and destroying all nuclear weapons. We know that in the event
of a nuclear war there will be no victors because there will be
no survivors! Is it not frightening just to contemplate such
inhuman and heartless destruction? And, is it not logical that
we should remove the cause for our own destruction when we know
the cause and have both the time and the means to do so? Often
we cannot overcome our problems because we either do not know
the cause or, if we understand it, do not have the means to
remove it. This is not the case with the nuclear threat.


Whether they belong to more evolved species like humans or to
simpler ones such as animals, all beings primarily seek peace,
comfort, and security. Life is as dear to the mute animal as it
is to any human being; even the simplest insect strives for
protection from dangers that threaten its life. Just as each
one of us wants to live and does not wish to die, so it is with
all other creatures in the universe, though their power to
effect this is a different matter.   

  Broadly speaking there are two types of happiness and suffering,
mental and physical, and of the two, I believe that mental
suffering and happiness are the more acute. Hence, I stress the
training of the mind to endure suffering and attain a more lasting
state of happiness. However, I also have a more general and concrete
idea of happiness: a combination of inner peace, economic
development, and, above all, world peace. To achieve such goals I
feel it is necessary to develop a sense of universal responsibility,
a deep concern for all irrespective of creed, colour, sex, or
nationality.   

  The premise behind this idea of universal responsibility is
the simple fact that, in general terms, all others' desires
are the same as mine. Every being wants happiness and does not
want suffering. If we, as intelligent human beings, do not accept
this fact, there will be more and more suffering on this planet.
If we adopt a self-centered approach to life and constantly try
to use others for our own self-interest, we may gain temporary
benefits, but in the long run we will not succeed in achieving
even personal happiness,  and world peace will be completely out
of the question.   

  In their quest for happiness, humans have used different methods,
which all too often have been cruel and repellent. Behaving in
ways utterly unbecoming to their status as humans, they inflict
suffering upon fellow humans and the other living beings for
their own selfish gains. In the end, such short-sighted actions
bring suffering to oneself as well as to others. To be born a
human being is a rare event in itself, and it is wise to use
this opportunity as effectively and skillfully as possible. We
must have the proper perspective, that of the universal life
process, so that the happiness or glory of one person or group
is not sought at the expense of others.   

  All this calls for a new approach to global problems. The world
is becoming smaller and smaller -- and more and more
interdependent -- as a result of rapid technological advances and
international trade as well as increasing trans-national relations.
We now depend very much on each other. In ancient times problems
were mostly family-size, and they were naturally tackled at the
family level, but the situation has changed. Today we are so
interdependent, so closely interconnected with each other, that
without a sense of universal responsibility, a feeling of universal
brotherhood and sisterhood, and an understanding and belief that we
really are part of one big human family, we cannot hope to overcome
the dangers to our very existence -- let alone bring about peace
and happiness.

   One nation's problems can no longer be satisfactorily solved
by itself alone; too much depends on the interest, attitude, and
cooperation of other nations. A universal humanitarian approach
to world problems seems the only sound basis for world peace.
What does this mean: We begin from the recognition mentioned
previously that all beings cherish happiness and do not want
suffering. It then becomes both morally wrong and pragmatically
unwise to pursue only one's own happiness oblivious to the feelings
and aspirations of all others who surround us as members of the
same human family. The wiser course is to think of others also when
pursuing our own happiness. This will lead to what I call 'wise
self-interest,' which hopefully will transform itself into
'compromised self-interest,' or better still, 'mutual interest.'

  Although the increasing interdependence among nations might
be expected to generate more sympathetic cooperation, it is
difficult to achieve a spirit of genuine cooperation as long as
people remain indifferent to the feelings and happiness of
others. When people are motivated mostly by greed and jealousy,
it is not possible for them to live in harmony. A spiritual
approach may not solve all the political problems that have
been caused by the existing self-centered approach, but in the
long run it will overcome the very basis of the problems that
we face today.

   On the other hand, if humankind continues to approach its
problems considering only temporary expediency, future
generations will have to face tremendous difficulties. the
global population is increasing, and our resources are being
rapidly depleted. Look at the trees, for example. No one knows
exactly what adverse effects massive deforestation will have on
the climate, the soil, and global ecology as a whole. We are
facing problems because people are concentrating only on their
short-term, selfish interests, not thinking of the entire
human family. They are not thinking of the earth and the
long-term effects on universal life as a whole. If we of the
present generation do not think about these now, future
generations may not be able to cope with them.



A Human Approach to World Peace, the Dalai Lama
Compassion as the Pillar of World Peace
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
According to Buddhist psychology, most of our troubles are due
to our passionate desire for and attachment to things that we
misapprehend as enduring entities. The pursuit of the objects
of our desire and attachment involves the use of aggression and
competitiveness as supposedly efficacious instruments. These
mental processes easily translate into actions, breeding
belligerence as an obvious effect. Such processes have been
going on in the human mind since time immemorial, but their
execution has become more effective under modern conditions.
What can we do to control and regulate these 'poisons' -- delusion,
greed, and aggression? For it is these poisons that are behind
almost every trouble in the world.

   As one brought up in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition, I feel
that love and compassion are the moral fabric of world peace.
Let me first define what I mean by compassion. When you have
pity or compassion for a very poor person, you are showing
sympathy because he or she is poor; your compassion is based on
altruistic considerations. On the other hand, love towards your
wife, your husband, your children, or a close friend is usually
based on attachment. When your attachment changes, your
kindness also changes; it may disappear. This is not true love.
Real love is not based on attachment, but on altruism. In this
case your compassion will remain as a humane response to
suffering as long as beings continue to suffer.
  
   This type of compassion is what we must strive to cultivate
in ourselves, and we must develop it from a limited amount to
the limitless. Undiscriminating, spontaneous, and unlimited
compassion for all sentient beings is obviously not the usual
love that one has for friends or family, which is alloyed with
ignorance, desire, and attachment. The kind of love we should
advocate is this wider love that you can have even for someone
who has done harm to you: your enemy.
  
   The rationale for compassion is that every one of us wants
to avoid suffering and gain happiness. This, in turn, is based
on the valid feeling of 'I,' which determines the universal
desire for happiness. Indeed, all beings are born with similar
desires and should have an equal right to fulfill them. If I
compare myself with others, who are countless, I feel that
others are more important because I am just one person whereas
others are many. Further, the Tibetan Buddhist tradition
teaches us to view all sentient beings as our dear mothers and
to show our gratitude by loving them all. For, according to
Buddhist theory, we are born and reborn countless numbers of
times, and it is conceivable that each being has been our
parent at one time or another. In this way all beings in the
universe share a family relationship.
  
   Whether one believes in religion or not, there is no one who
does not appreciate love and compassion. Right from the moment
of our birth, we are under the care and kindness of our
parents; later in life, when facing the sufferings of disease
and old age, we are again dependent on the kindness of others.
If at the beginning and end of our lives we depend upon others'
kindness, why then in the middle should be not act kindly
towards others?
  
   The development of a kind heart (a feeling of closeness for
all human beings) does not involve the religiosity we normally
associate with conventional religious practice. It is not only
for people who believe in religion, but is for everyone
regardless of race, religion, or political affiliation. It is
for anyone who considers himself or herself, above all, a
member of the human family and who sees things from this larger
and longer perspective. This is a powerful feeling that we
should develop and apply; instead, we often neglect it,
particularly in our prime years when we experience a false
sense of security.
  
   When we take into account a longer perspective, the fact
that all wish to gain happiness and avoid suffering, and keep
in mind our relative unimportance in relation to countless
others, we can conclude that it is worthwhile to share our
possessions with others. When you train in this sort of
outlook, a true sense of compassion -- a true sense of love and
respect for others -- becomes possible. Individual happiness
ceases to be a conscious self-seeking effort; it becomes an
automatic and far superior by-product of the whole process of
loving and serving others.
  
   Another result of spiritual development, most useful in
day-to-day life, is that it gives a calmness and presence of
mind. Our lives are in constant flux, bringing many
difficulties. When faced with a calm and clear mind, problems
can be successfully resolved. When, instead, we lose control
over our minds through hatred, selfishness, jealousy, and
anger, we lose our sense of judgment. Our minds are blinded
and at those wild moments anything can happen, including war.
Thus, the practice of compassion and wisdom is useful to all,
especially to those responsible for running national affairs,
in whose hands lie the power and opportunity to create the
structure of world peace.


A Human Approach to World Peace, the Dalai Lama
World Religions for World Peace
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The principles discussed so far are in accordance with the
ethical teachings of all world religions. I maintain that every
major religion of the world -- Buddhism, Christianity,
Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Sikhism,
Taoism, Zoroastrianism -- has similar ideals of love, the same
goal of benefiting humanity through spiritual practice, and the
same effect of making their followers into better human beings.
All religions teach moral precepts for perfecting the functions
of mind, body, and speech. All religions agree upon the
necessity to control the undisciplined mind that harbors
selfishness and other roots of trouble, and each teaches a path
leading to a spiritual state that is peaceful, disciplined,
ethical, and wise. It is in this sense that I believe all
religions have essentially the same message. Differences of
dogma may be ascribed to differences of time and circumstance
as well as cultural influences; indeed, there is no end to
scholastic argument when we consider the purely metaphysical
side of religion. However, it is much more beneficial to try to
implement in daily life the shared precepts for goodness taught
by all religions rather than to argue about minor differences
in approach.
  
   There are many different religions to bring comfort and
happiness to humanity in much the same way as there are
particular treatments for different diseases. For, all
religions endeavor in their own way to help living beings
avoid misery and gain happiness. And, although we can find
causes for preferring certain interpretations of religious
truths, there is much greater cause for unity, stemming from
the human heart. Each religion works in its own way to lessen
human suffering and contribute to world civilization.
Conversion is not the point. For instance, I do not think of
converting others to Buddhism or merely furthering the Buddhist
cause. Rather, I try to think of how I as a Buddhist
humanitarian can contribute to human happiness.
  
   While pointing out the fundamental similarities between
world religions, I do not advocate one particular religion at
the expense of all others, nor do I seek a new 'world
religion.' All the different religions of the world are needed
to enrich human experience and world civilization. Our human
minds, being of different caliber and disposition, need
different approaches to peace and happiness. It is just like
food. Certain people find Christianity more appealing, others
prefer Buddhism because there is no creator in it and
everything depends upon your own actions. We can make similar
arguments for other religions as well. Thus, the point is
clear: humanity needs all the world's religions to suit the
ways of life, diverse spiritual needs, and inherited national
traditions of individual human beings.
  
   It is from this perspective that I welcome efforts being
made in various parts of the world for better understanding
among religions. The need for this is particularly urgent now.
If all religions make the betterment of humanity their main
concern, then they can easily work together in harmony for
world peace. Interfaith understanding will bring about the
unity necessary for all religions to work together. However,
although this is indeed an important step, we must remember
that there are no quick or easy solutions. We cannot hide the
doctrinal differences that exist among various faiths, nor can
we hope to replace the existing religions by a new universal
belief. Each religion has its own distinctive contributions to
make, and each in its own way is suitable to a particular group
of people as they understand life. The world needs them all.
 

There are two primary tasks facing religious practitioners who
are concerned with world peace. First, we must promote better
interfaith understanding so as to create a workable degree of
unity among all religions. This may be achieved in part by
respecting each other's beliefs and by emphasizing our common
concern for human well-being. Second, we must bring about a
viable consensus on basic spiritual values that touch every
human heart and enhance general human happiness. This means we
must emphasize the common denominator of all world religions --
humanitarian ideals. These two steps will enable us to act both
individually and together to create the necessary spiritual
conditions for world peace.
  
   We practitioners of different faiths can work together for
world peace when we view different religions as essentially
instruments to develop a good heart -- love and respect for
others, a true sense of community. The most important thing is
to look at the purpose of religion and not at the details of
theology or metaphysics, which can lead to mere
intellectualism. I believe that all the major religions of the
world can contribute to world peace and work together for the
benefit of humanity if we put aside subtle metaphysical
differences, which are really the internal business of each
religion.
  
   Despite the progressive secularization brought about by
worldwide modernization and despite systematic attempts in some
parts of the world to destroy spiritual values, the vast
majority of humanity continues to believe in one religion or
another. The undying faith in religion, evident even under
irreligious political systems, clearly demonstrates the potency
of religion as such. This spiritual energy and power can be
purposefully used to bring about the spiritual conditions
necessary for world peace. Religious leaders and humanitarians
all over the world have a special role to play in this respect.
  
   Whether we will be able to achieve world peace or not, we
have no choice but to work towards that goal. If our minds are
dominated by anger, we will lose the best part of human
intelligence -- wisdom, the ability to decide between right and
wrong. Anger is one of the most serious problems facing the
world today.
 

A Human Approach to World Peace, the Dalai Lama
Individual Power to Shape Institutions
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Anger plays no small role in current conflicts such as those in
the Middle East, Southeast Asia, the North-South problem, and
so forth. These conflicts arise from a failure to understand
one another's humanness. The answer is not the development and
use of greater military force, nor an arms race. Nor is it
purely political or purely technological. Basically it is
spiritual, in the sense that what is required is a sensitive
understanding of our common human situation. Hatred and
fighting cannot bring happiness to anyone, even to the winners
of battles. Violence always produces misery and thus is
essentially counter-productive. It is, therefore, time for
world leaders to learn to transcend the differences of race,
culture, and ideology and to regard one another through eyes
that see the common human situation. To do so would benefit
individuals, communities, nations, and the world at large.
  
   The greater part of present world tension seems to stem from
the 'Eastern bloc' versus 'Western bloc' conflict that has been
going on since World War II. These two blocs tend to describe
and view each other in a totally unfavourable light. This
continuing, unreasonable struggle is due to a lack of mutual
affection and respect for each other as fellow human beings.
Those of the Eastern bloc should reduce their hatred towards
the Western bloc because the Western bloc is also made up of
human beings -- men, women, and children. Similarly those of the
Western bloc should reduce their hatred towards of the eastern
bloc because the Eastern bloc is also human beings. In such a
reduction of mutual hatred, the leaders of both blocs have a
powerful role to play. But first and foremost, leaders must
realize their own and others' humanness. Without this basic
realization, very little effective reduction of organized
hatred can be achieved.
  
   If, for example, the leader of the United States of America
and the leader of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
suddenly met each other in the middle of a desolate island, I
am sure they would respond to each other spontaneously as
fellow human beings. But a wall of mutual suspicion and
misunderstanding separates them the moment they are identified
as the 'President of the USA and the 'Secretary-General of the
USSR'. More human contact in the form of informal extended
meetings, without any agenda, would improve their mutual
understanding; they would learn to relate to each other as
human beings and could then try to tackle international
problems based on this understanding. No two parties,
especially those with a history of antagonism, can negotiate
fruitfully in an atmosphere of mutual suspicion and hatred.
  
   I suggest that world leaders meet about once a year in a
beautiful place without any business, just to get to know each
other as human beings. Then, later, they could meet to discuss
mutual and global problems. I am sure many others share my wish
that world leaders meet at the conference table in such an
atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding of each other's
humanness.


To improve person-to-person contact in the world at large, I
would like to see greater encouragement of international
tourism. Also, mass media, particularly in democratic
societies, can make a considerable contribution to world peace
by giving greater coverage to human interest items that reflect
the ultimate oneness of humanity. With the rise of a few big
powers in the international arena, the humanitarian role of
international organizations is being bypassed and neglected. I
hope that this will be corrected and that all international
organizations, especially the United Nations, will be more
active and effective in ensuring maximum benefit to humanity
and promoting international understanding. It will indeed be
tragic if the few powerful members continue to misuse world
bodies like the UN for their one-sided interests. The UN must
become the instrument of world peace. This world body must be
respected by all, for the UN is the only source of hope for
small oppressed nations and hence for the planet as a whole.
  
   As all nations are economically dependent upon one another
more than ever before, human understanding must go beyond
national boundaries and embrace the international community at
large. Indeed, unless we can create an atmosphere of genuine
cooperation, gained not by threatened or actual use of force
but by heartfelt understanding, world problems will only
increase. If people in poorer countries are denied the
happiness they desire and deserve, they will naturally be
dissatisfied and pose problems for the rich. If unwanted
social, political, and cultural forms continue to be imposed
upon unwilling people, the attainment of world peace is
doubtful. However, if we satisfy people at a heart-to-heart
level, peace will surely come.
  
   Within each nation, the individual ought to be given the
right to happiness, and among nations, there must be equal
concern for the welfare of even the smallest nations. I am not
suggesting that one system is better than another and all
should adopt it. On the contrary, a variety of political
systems and ideologies is desirable and accords with the
variety of dispositions within the human community. This
variety enhances the ceaseless human quest for happiness. Thus
each community should be free to evolve its own political and
socioeconomic system, based on the principle of
self-determination.
  
   The achievement of justice, harmony, and peace depends on
many factors. We should think about them in terms of human
benefit in the long run rather than the short term. I realize
the enormity of the task before us, but I see no other
alternative than the one I am proposing -- which is based on our
common humanity. Nations have no choice but to be concerned
about the welfare of others, not so much because of their
belief in humanity, but because it is in the mutual and
long-term interest of all concerned. An appreciation of this
new reality is indicated by the emergence of regional or
continental economic organizations such as the European
Economic Community, the Association of South East Asian
Nations, and so forth. I hope more such trans-national
organizations will be formed, particularly in regions where
economic development and regional stability seem in short
supply.
 

Under present conditions, there is definitely a growing need
for human understanding and a sense of universal
responsibility. In order to achieve such ideas, we must
generate a good and kind heart, for without this, we can
achieve neither universal happiness nor lasting world peace. We
cannot create peace on paper. While advocating universal
responsibility and universal brotherhood and sisterhood, the
facts are that humanity is organized in separate entities in
the form of national societies. Thus, in a realistic sense, I
feel it is these societies that must act as the building-blocks
for world peace.

   Attempts have been made in the past to create societies more
just and equal. Institutions have been established with noble
charters to combat anti-social forces. Unfortunately, such
ideas have been cheated by selfishness. More than ever before,
we witness today how ethics and noble principles are obscured
by the shadow of self-interest, particularly in the political
sphere. There is a school of thought that warns us to refrain
from politics altogether, as politics has become synonymous
with amorality. Politics devoid of ethics does not further
human welfare, and life without morality reduces humans to the
level of beasts. However, politics is not axiomatically 'dirty.'
Rather, the instruments of our political culture have distorted
the high ideals and noble concepts meant to further human
welfare. Naturally, spiritual people express their concern
about religious leaders 'messing' with politics, since they
fear the contamination of religion by dirty politics.

   I question the popular assumption that religion and ethics
have no place in politics and that religious persons should
seclude themselves as hermits. Such a view of religion is too
one-sided; it lacks a proper perspective on the individual's
relation to society and the role of religion in our lives.
Ethics is as crucial to a politician as it is to a religious
practitioner. Dangerous consequences will follow when
politicians and rulers forget moral principles. Whether we
believe in God or karma, ethics is the foundation of every
religion.

   Such human qualities as morality, compassion, decency,
wisdom, and so forth have been the foundations of all
civilizations. These qualities must be cultivated and sustained
through systematic moral education in a conductive social
environment so that a more humane world may emerge. The
qualities required to create such a world must be inculcated
right from the beginning, from childhood. We cannot wait for
the next generation to make this change; the present generation
must attempt a renewal of basic human values. If there is any
hope, it is in the future generations, but not unless we
institute major change on a worldwide scale in our present
educational system. We need a revolution in our commitment to
and practice of universal humanitarian values.

   It is not enough to make noisy calls to halt moral
degeneration; we must do something about it. Since present-day
governments do not shoulder such 'religious' responsibilities,
humanitarian and religious leaders must strengthen the existing
civic, social, cultural, educational, and religious
organizations to revive human and spiritual values. Where
necessary, we must create new organizations to achieve these
goals. Only in so doing can we hope to create a more stable
basis for world peace.

   Living in society, we should share the sufferings of our
fellow citizens and practice compassion and tolerance not only
towards our loved ones but also towards our enemies. This is
the test of our moral strength. We must set an example by our
own practice, for we cannot hope to convince others of the
value of religion by mere words. We must live up to the same
high standards of integrity and sacrifice that we ask of
others. The ultimate purpose of all religions is to serve and
benefit humanity. This is why it is so important that religion
always be used to effect the happiness and peace of all beings
and not merely to convert others.

   Still, in religion there are no national boundaries. A
religion can and should be used by any people or person who
finds it beneficial. What is important for each seeker is to
choose a religion that is most suitable to himself or herself.
But, the embracing of a particular religion does not mean the
rejection of another religion or one's own community. In fact,
it is important that those who embrace a religion should not
cut themselves off from their own society; they should continue
to live within their own community and in harmony with its
members. By escaping from your own community, you cannot
benefit others, whereas benefiting others is actually the basic
aim of religion.

   In this regard there are two things important to keep in
mind: self-examination and self-correction. We should
constantly check our attitude toward others, examining
ourselves carefully, and we should correct ourselves
immediately when we find we are in the wrong.


Finally, a few words about material progress. I have heard a
great deal of complaint against material progress from
Westerners, and yet, paradoxically, it has been the very pride
of the Western world. I see nothing wrong with material
progress per se, provided people are always given precedence.
It is my firm belief that in order to solve human problems in
all their dimensions, we must combine and harmonize economic
development with spiritual growth. However, we must know its
limitations. Although materialistic knowledge in the form of
science and technology has contributed enormously to human
welfare, it is not capable of creating lasting happiness. In
America, for example, where technological development is
perhaps more advanced than in any other country, there is still
a great deal of mental suffering. This is because
materialistic knowledge can only provide a type of happiness
that is dependent upon physical conditions. It cannot provide
happiness that springs from inner development independent of
external factors.
  
   For renewal of human values and attainment of lasting
happiness, we need to look to the common humanitarian heritage
of all nations the world over. May this essay serve as an
urgent reminder lest we forget the human values that unite us
all as a single family on this planet.

I have written the above lines
To tell my constant feeling.
Whenever I meet even a 'foreigner,'
I have always the same feeling:
'I am meeting another member of the human family.'
This attitude has deepened
My affection and respect for all beings.
May this natural wish be
My small contribution to world peace.
I pray for a more friendly,
More caring, and more understanding
Human family on this planet.
To all who dislike suffering,
Who cherish lasting happiness--
This is my heartfelt appeal.


A Human Approach to World Peace, the Dalai Lama

 

The Spirit and Flesh World Religion and Spirituality Online Library. A Human Approach to World Peace, the Dalai Lama

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOME      ABOUT      STORE      COSMIC ART GALLERY      SACRED TEXTS

 

 

 

 

HOME     ABOUT     STORE     SPIRIT AND FLESH ONLINE LIBRARY     COSMIC ART GALLERY

 

 

 

all content of this website ©spiritandflesh.com

"The union of spirit and flesh creates a subtle new harmony.

Two unique worlds come together, and through our hearts unite into one.

For it is only in the voice of the flesh, that the song of the spirit is finally sung."

Jack Haas