H.H.Dalai Lama Meets the Press, School-children in Oxford
Settembre 15th, 2015 by admin

His Holiness the Dalai Lama Meets the Press, School-children and Fellows of the Dalai Lama Centre for Compassion in Oxford

Oxford, England, 13 September 2015 – After arriving from India yesterday, His Holiness the Dalai Lama awoke to light rainfall in Oxford this morning. The rain let up sufficiently for him to walk through the grounds of Magdalen College, taking an interest in the shrubs and trees in the gardens, to the college auditorium where he met the Press. Mentioning how happy he was to be returning to this celebrated place of learning, he explained the three commitments he observes wherever he goes.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama walking to a press conference at Magdalen College auditorium in Oxford, UK on September 14, 2015. Photo/Jeremy Russell/OHHDL

I am a human being, just one among the 7 billion alive today. We all face problems, many of them of our own making. And because we made them, we surely have the ability to solve them. I sometimes wish that grown human beings were more like children, who are naturally open and accepting of others. Instead, as we grow up, we fail to nurture our natural potential and our sense of fundamental human values. We get bogged down in secondary differences between us and tend to think in terms of ‘us’ and ‘them’. Prayer will not change this the way education and intelligence can. We need to learn to distinguish emotions like anger and attachment that are destructive from positive ones like compassion that are a source of happiness.”

He went on to explain that as a Buddhist monk he tries to promote religious harmony, drawing inspiration from the example of India, where all major religions flourish side by side. He described the problems and violence that seem to arise from religious faith today as unthinkable since all religious traditions teach us to be compassionate, forgiving and contented. These are qualities relevant to day to day life. Warm-heartedness, for example, generates trust, which is the foundation of friendship.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to members of the press at Magdalen College auditorium in Oxford, UK on September 14, 2015. Photo/Ian Cumming

Finally, His Holiness explained that he is Tibetan with a responsibility towards the many Tibetans who place their trust and hope in him. He is concerned to preserve Tibet’s natural environment, as well as its compassionate, non-violent Buddhist culture.

Asked his response to the refugee crisis affecting Europe, he appreciated that their welfare is being taken seriously, but added:

“Ultimately we have to stop the killing and fighting in these people’s countries that is forcing them to become refugees, but without the use of force. Military might never solves problems, but instead tends to produce unexpected results. Talk about a clash between Western civilization and Islam is mistaken. My Muslim friends tell me that a genuine Muslim should not spill blood, but should show respect to all the creatures of Allah.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to members of the press at Magdalen College auditorium in Oxford, UK on September 14, 2015. Photo/Jeremy Russell/OHHDL

With regard to his hopes for the new Dalai Lama Centre for Compassion, he said he thought it was a commendable effort, but it would be better to see how it develops. As to whether material development had brought any benefit to Tibetans in Tibet, he expressed appreciation of such infrastructure as roads, airports and the railway. He also observed that President Xi Jinping seems to be more realistic than some of his predecessors and has been courageous about tackling corruption. When pressed about the 60th anniversary of the declaration of the Tibet Autonomous Region he remarked that many Tibetans are deeply sad inside despite pretending to officials that they are happy.

When one journalist asked if His Holiness thought members of the media had a duty to be more positive about what they report, he commented that while they can’t change the world by themselves, they can make a positive contribution to doing so.

Welcomed to Rhodes House by the Warden, Charles Conn, in Milner Hall inside, he greeted children from three local schools.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama interacting with school children at Rhodes House in Oxford, UK on September 14, 2015.
Photo/Ian Cumming

“Young brothers and sisters, time always goes on. We can’t change the past and the future is yet to come, but its causes are in our hands. We can change the future. The 20th century generation to which I belong created all sorts of problems that it will be up to you to resolve. You are our source of hope, so perhaps the end of the 21st century will be peaceful and happier. Instead of focussing on secondary differences between us, we need to think of how we are interdependent and that all human beings belong to one big family.

“Demilitarization and disarmament may seem like a dream, but you could make it real and create a happier more peaceful world. The future is in your hands, but for it to be peaceful and happy requires a sense of compassion and concern for others’ well-being. To make this a reality involves incorporating secular ethics, universal values, into education.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama with some of the students that attended their interactive meeting at Rhodes House in Oxford, UK on September 14, 2015. Photo/Jeremy Russell/OHHDL

Three groups of children asked questions. The first was about Syrian refugees. His Holiness voiced appreciation that their problems are beginning to be taken seriously. He noted that it is necessary to be practical because taking them in requires in the long term providing them with education, support and jobs. Even more important is resolving the problems in their own countries that cause them to become refugees. The second group of students told His Holiness they had three rules:

“Be kind, be kind and be kind.” His Holiness agreed saying:

“That’s right because our own welfare is related to the rest of humanity. We have to think of the welfare of all human beings.”

The third group offered him a basked of eggs from the chickens they look after.

Speaking to Fellows of the Dalai Lama Centre for Compassion (DLCC), His Holiness suggested that despite it being the beginning of the 21st century, we are hampered by old ways of thinking that give rise to man-made problems. He cited the way Russia and China have recently mounted displays of military strength, proudly showing off their weapons.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing Fellows of the Dalai Lama Centre for Compassion at Magdalen College in Oxford, UK on September 14, 2015. Photo/Keiko Ikeuchi

“We need to acknowledge that we all want to be happy and don’t want suffering. To do that we need to improve education and raise awareness.”

To a suggestion that it may soon be possible to eliminate pain by taking a pill, His Holiness declared himself sceptical that mental unease could be overcome the same way. He said:

“I doubt that this will allow us to overcome our disturbing emotions. They are part of the mind and need to be tackled within the mind. What’s much more important is coming to understand the whole system of emotions. This is something ancient Indian psychology had a profound understanding of. Tibetans have nurtured and kept this knowledge alive.”

His Holiness spoke of three divisions of the content of traditional Buddhist literature: science, philosophy and religion. Of these, science and philosophy can be of interest to anyone on an academic level, while the religious aspect is the business of Buddhists. His final suggestion was to explore how to combine compassion with a proper sense of reality.

Meeting members of the Oxford Tibetan Studies Department after lunch, they first presented him with a volume they had all signed in tribute to Anthony Aris, who is gravely unwell.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama meeting with members of the the Oxford Tibetan Studies Department in Oxford, UK on September 14, 2015. Photo/Jeremy Russell/OHHDL

In his remarks His Holiness mentioned that when Buddhism came to Tibet it was relevant and useful. Warlike Tibetans became more compassionate and peaceful. He counselled them to consider what in Tibetan studies would be relevant today and told the story of a former Tibetan official who was working cleaning vegetables in the USA. His colleagues noticed that he set worms and bugs aside and took them out to release them at the end of his shift. When they asked what he was doing he told them that Tibetans have a deep reverence for all forms of life, and that there was no need to kill these creatures. Soon, many of them too began to follow his example.

“Tibetans have their own culture,” His Holiness said. “It’s not Chinese culture and it’s worth preserving. What’s more, it’s culture, language and religion that unify Tibetans today.”

In the final gathering of the day, part of the inauguration of the DLCC, in conversation with his old friend Alex Norman, His Holiness recounted lessons from his own life. He stressed the need to encourage education, which he regards as our only hope. He observed that while the religious and philosophical aspect of religion may be fairly constant, where cultural aspects are out of date, they need to change.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at Rhodes House as part of the inauguration of the Dalai Lama Centre for Compassion in Oxford, UK on September 14, 2015. Photo/Keiko Ikeuchi

Once again emphasising the need for secular ethics he noted that while Dr Ambedkar and India’s first President, Rajendra Prasad, were deeply religious, the constitution they drew up for newly independent India was strictly secular. He repeated that such a secular approach continues to be relevant and appropriate today. He suggested that scientific findings indicate that basic human nature is compassionate. Meanwhile common sense tells us even if it is not very well off, the family that is kinder and more compassionate is happy. The wealthy who lack basic affection and are afflicted by jealousy are unhappy.

When challenged, he replied that there is certainly a role for religion, but because this or that religion will never have universal appeal, secular ethics is more relevant today. Asked for any final advice for the people before him, he replied:

“Be realistic. When the old pretend to be young and the foolish pretend to be intelligent, it is better to just be realistic. Changing the world is up to us. If each of us tries, the next generation may see a happier, more peaceful world emerge. I have appreciated being here with you, thank you.”

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