His Holiness the Dalai Lama: Dialogue on ‘Growing Wisdom, Changing People’
Settembre 18th, 2015 by admin

Dialogue on the Theme ‘Growing Wisdom, Changing People’

Cambridge, England, 16 September 2015 – The roads were wet as His Holiness the Dalai Lama took a short drive to Cripps Court, Magdalene College’s conference venue, this morning. Groups of Tibetans and other friends and well-wishers were gathered on either side of the gate with flags and banners, quietly chanting to welcome him. Inside he met with his host Lord Rowan Williams, moderator Baroness Patricia Scotland, and organizer of Inspire Dialogue Foundation, Cameron Taylor, before entering the Sir Humphrey Cripps theatre.

Cameron Taylor welcomes the audience to the opening session of the dialogue on ‘Growing Wisdom, Changing People” at Magdalene College’s Cripps Court in Cambridge, UK on September 16, 2015. Photo/Ian Cumming

Cameron Taylor welcomed everyone to the start of two days of meetings and invited Hillary Williams-Papworth, one of the supporters of the Dialogue to speak about her husband Bill Papworth who died a year ago. She mentioned that His Holiness jokingly remarks that when he meets people of a similar age to himself he wonders, “Who’ll go first?” “Well, Bill went first,” she said. He was a year and a month older. Thupten Jinpa, scholar and His Holiness’s principal English translator, described Bill as a great ally of Tibetans and all humanity. He was a firm supporter of the idea of dialogue and faced with a challenge and wishing to help would always ask, “What can I do?”

Barrister and former Attorney General, Baroness Scotland, as moderator of the first plenary session, opened proceedings. She introduced His Holiness as an embodiment of wisdom and Lord Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, for his legendary ability to listen. She described herself as honoured and humbled to be joining them both and invited His Holiness to speak first.

“Respected elder brothers and sisters, as well as younger brothers and sisters,” he began, “I come here as just another human being. When I talk to other people I don’t think of myself as anything special, not as an Asian or a Buddhist. When I meet anyone, I think, ‘Ah, another human being who has problems like me.’ We all live on this small blue planet, where the reality is that our lives are interdependent. Because of that we have to think on a global level, not thinking only of my nation or my community, which is simply out of date.

A view of Sir Humphrey Cripps Theatre, venue for the dialogue on ‘Growing Wisdom, Changing People” at Magdalene College’s Cripps Court in Cambridge, UK on September 16, 2015. Photo/Ian Cumming

“Time is always moving on and while we can’t change the past, the future is still in our hands. Meanwhile, circumstances change but our old ways of thinking remain the same. Many of the problems we face are of our own making. To solve them requires vision and a more holistic view. Therefore, I’ve come here to listen, to gather suggestions. My ears are open!”
Lord Williams took up the theme of the problems facing the human family, noting that they cannot be met by any one nation or interest group alone. He said that the global economy is no respecter of national boundaries as the Greeks may tell. Climate change is no respecter of national boundaries as the people of Bangladesh may tell. And epidemic disease is no respecter of national boundaries as the people of Ghana and Sierra Leone may tell. He added that conflict has everything to do with fear and that we readily indulge in fear. He recommended that we examine the roots of our fear and why we are attached to them.
When Baroness Scotland turned the discussion over to the audience, a poet mentioned the importance of humility, that without humility on both sides there can be no dialogue.
His Holiness intervened to say that while he believes that basic human nature is positive, we don’t use our intelligence properly, due to faults in our education system and its singular focus on materialism. He suggested that too often we are beset by self-centredness and narrow-mindedness. On the other hand, conducting ourselves with honesty and concern for others generates trust in other and leads to friendship. Consequently, he said, it would be very helpful to be able to come to terms with the system of our emotions.
Contributions from the audience included a young woman’s revelation that her anxiety disorder lifted when she stopped watching the television news. A young Muslim scientist explained that other young Muslims choose to go to fight in places like Syria because they feel isolated at home. They end up identifying themselves as Shia or Sunni before remembering that they are simply human beings.

Noted poet, Ben Okri, contributing  during the opening session of the dialogue on ‘Growing Wisdom, Changing People” at Magdalene College’s Cripps Court in Cambridge, UK on September 16, 2015. Photo/Jeremy Russell/OHHDL

Lord Williams told a story of his visit to one of the Solomon Islands in the wake of a devastating civil war. One of the local leaders told him that, while many of his compatriots blamed the other side for the war, he knew that they were all responsible. He told Lord Williams that he would kneel before him and request him to absolve them all.
From the floor, Lord Rumi Verjee, one of the sponsors of the event, spoke of the need to redefine growth and wealth. He said they are often confused with money in the bank or celebrity. Mathieu Ricard expressed the opinion that greater gender equality would result in less violence. He went on to talk about the banality of goodness, that virtue seems to have no news value. Jörg Eigendorf followed this up with advice that rather than criticising and blaming the media, because we are given what we like, we should examine what we look at, read and watch. In connection with the refugees coming to Europe, he recommended asking what the limits to our compassion are.
His Holiness responded to this last point that it had practical value. He said that since the whole population of the Middle East cannot move en mass to Europe, we all have to help secure peace in their homelands. He added that he sees a need for more women leaders and a greater effort to promote compassion. He observed that at the root of much of the trouble in the Middle East is the unresolved Palestinian/Israeli conflict. He urged that steps be taken to cool it down.
Baroness Scotland mentioned an occasion when peace talks were going on somewhere in Africa with no women involved. When this was questioned, the men replied that it was because if they were they would make concessions. She reminded the gathering of the success women peace-makers had had in Northern Ireland.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama sitting in on one of the small discussion groups on the first day of the dialogue on ‘Growing Wisdom, Changing People” at Magdalene College’s Cripps Court in Cambridge, UK on September 16, 2015. Photo/Ian Cumming

After a break for tea and coffee, the gathering broke up into four small discussion groups. His Holiness, Lord Williams and Baroness Scotland visited these one by one, listening and chipping in to the conversations. They heard about renewable energy and improving storage technology. In another group the importance of parents talking to their children came up. His Holiness interjected the importance of peace of mind and the key role awareness plays in protecting the environment. When one young woman despaired of being able to take any direct action, His Holiness advised her simply to be realistic and truthful.
Discussions moderated by Dr Bhaskar Vira returned to the environment after lunch. He said that the future of climate change and its effect on the natural environment should make us afraid. He observed that it is already predicted that it will cause huge displacement of population and associated problems.
Lord Williams introduced the notion of security, suggesting that this is the underlying reason why we accumulate wealth. However, he added that our pursuit of growth could breach natural limits yielding a lack of security and defeating our ability to manage the planet.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the dialogue on ‘Growing Wisdom, Changing People” at Magdalene College’s Cripps Court in Cambridge, UK on September 16, 2015. Photo/Ian Cummingg

His Holiness responded that the solution to this is education and increased awareness. He also reminded the gathering that too large a number of people in the world have little time or energy to entertain such awareness because they are preoccupied by where they will get their next meal. This illustrates the seriousness of the gap between rich and poor. Nevertheless, if members of the 21st century generation make the effort, with vision, now, by the end of the century the world may be a happier more peaceful place.
Representatives of the small group discussions reported what they had said and explored. Lord Williams lamented the tendency to think that everything can be viewed in terms of cost. He said it was not appropriate to human beings because each person’s needs are different from the next. Coming back to the gender divide, His Holiness asked how to help men develop the courage to let go of anger and the sense that it is an appropriate response. He mentioned the work of Aaron Beck an American psychiatrist who has concluded that 90 % of our feelings of anger and attachment to things is actually mental projection.
The second plenary session came to an end with Dr Vira commending the wise words that had been exchanged and Cameron Taylor for the organizers thanking everyone who had made the meeting possible, as well as those who had taken part. The dialogue extends into a second day tomorrow.

Comments are closed

»  Substance:WordPress   »  Style:Ahren Ahimsa