He expressed media professionals perform a very important service as they are the public’s eyes and ears and entrusted to present all sides of issues in a non-judgmental, unbiased, fair and free of personal opinion. Following are some of the messages His Holiness shared with San Diegans and the world.
Love, Family and Science
The main theme and message of the tour was Compassion without Borders. Considering everything starts within, His Holiness encouraged developing and sharing compassion starting within and extending to the family, society, national and international levels.
In the press conference Q&A, I asked for His Holiness’s recommendations on how to go beyond our first border - our very personal being boundaries and criteria. His answer, delightfully simple as is his being and behavior, consisted of a 3 step approach:
- Love yourself,
- Respect your personal and extended family, and
- Take advantage of science to educate you.
Respect, Inclusivity and Optimism
A signature of Dalai Lama, difficult to miss, is the calm and peace that radiates from his being. His Holiness practices respect for all people, races, traditions, religions, and beings. He encourages respecting people we do not understand, agree with, or like. It is possible to disagree and move in different paths yet respect one another he shared. Respecting others helps him cultivate and maintain his calm, peace and aim to change the way of life for the benefit of all. He stated he has failed in certain aspects of this endeavor for him, yet he is optimistic and continues to practice. To handle opposition start with respecting it he asked. Next, listen to their view as if it is yours. Engage in serious debate and disagreement from the heart. Know that ALL is possible and differing and opposite views are necessary to bring ALL together.
Winning is good and everyone wants to win he acknowledged. Respect first, listen closely, engage with kindness, find the opposition’s weakness and go after it whole heartedly for the benefit of all – not with the purpose of destroying it. Believe that chances of a collective win are good and share your optimism as it is our responsibility to extend love and compassion to all beings. When asked why he is so optimistic at all times, he replied “Because it is easier and I am lazy” which caused good laughter in the audience. He shared this eight century Buddhist quote "If there is a solution, there is no need to worry. If there is not a solution, there is no point to worry".
Good thought, good word, good deed
Answering the question “what is justice”, Dalai Lama first set the stage explaining what we think, becomes what we say, and ends in what we do. This concept of Good Thought, Good Word and Good Deed exists in many traditions, religions and belief systems. He continued with how peace and compassion start within with our intention and concern for wellbeing of others. Justice is when we set our intention to think, speak and act with a warm and loving heart he concluded.
Spirituality and Science
Dalai Lama drove the co-existence and the need for the harmonious dance of science and spirituality home very well. He believes in and encourages science and scientists’ work whole heartedly and often engages in conversations with scientific community to further his education and learning. He believes the science of the 20th Century made tremendous and amazing progress - with much advance in technology and health – but mostly based on fear, hate and war. 20th century science mostly studied the effects of what is undesirable like fear, anger, worry and similar emotions on our health.
He asked scientists to study the effects of emotions like love, joy, peace and compassion on human beings mind and body. He wants to see the science and scientists of the 21st Century to study the mind, to help people learn how to train the mind, to focus and concentrate on health rather than disease. 21st century’s science must have the intention of education, health and peace. Investigate healthy minds to improve the transformation of man - with love and compassion - he asked.
Young Generation’s Materials and Faith
Addressing the mostly young audience of the three universities, the creators, shakers and decision makers of our future, he stated it is natural and good to want to have external and material things. Material things bring physical comfort, not mental comfort. It is equally good to cultivate the internal faith and respect for God. God has a different meaning for different groups and that is good. Using God helps reduce being self-centered and in trouble.
When we learn about the emotional map of the mind through science, we can learn how to use those emotions to reduce negativity and pessimism and increase optimism and our positivity. This is natural and you can do this through training he said. Training does not mean meditation or spirituality only. Training means common sense - being curious – with respect – with education. Training the mind brings mental peace at all levels. Emotions come from brain activity. Deliberate practice and activity of the mind changes the brain activity. A calm mind helps the physical body maintain its health and recover from disease much faster.
He expressed concern for the young generation as they are exposed to much violence and material-desires on daily basis and like never before in history. This is making them very unhappy people he observed.
His Holiness Recommendations
To develop a calm mind, steer away from fear and hate as they are the destroyers of the mind and body. The challenge is within us - not out in the society he shared. The ultimate source of happiness is also within us – not out there in the society at every level.
Dali lama re-iterated many times and in various formats that:
- Respect brings compassion,
- Compassion brings well-being,
- Well-being brings the desire to learn,
- Learning brings knowledge, and
- Knowledge brings inner peace.
By extending our respect for all we bring inner-peace for self. He asked us to think more and find sense in our actions. If there is no sense then forget the action. Last century we made tremendous progress he said. It is time for America to do more, more innovation, with advance thinking, and with education. “I have great hope for America and India” he said.
At USD, he concluded with “I am leaving now, no problem. This be your problem” and burst into a loud and heat-felt laughter as he often does.
Thank you for reading my view of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama Compassion without Borders tour of San Diego, CA. Please take what you find useful of it; discard the rest; love, live, laugh and share your compassion as you choose.