Sunday, November 13, 2005

The Dalai Lama Comes to D.C.

The Dalai Lama never takes a day off. During the week of his 70th birthday, His Holiness visited Washington, DC. While he was there, this 70 year old Tibetan Buddhist leader participated in the Mind and Life Conference, whose focus this year was the study of the clinical applications of meditation, a topic very close to the Dalai Lama's heart. In addition, he spoke with President George Bush and several other government leaders about the Chinese occupation in Tibet. He wrapped up his visit with a public talk on global peace through compassion and an awards ceremony where he was the presenter.

Though the public talk was short, it was packed with vital, valuable information applicable to anyone. I have decided to make a conscious effort to follow the three commitments of human beings, as described by His Holiness. Read on to learn more!.

Our Three Commitments as Humans

1. Promotion of Humanity or Human Futures. In Buddhist philosophy, one of the great principles is interbeing, a theory that all of humanity is connected with all of the plants, animals, and minerals in this world. This means that one cannot exist wothout the other. And since all of humanity is connected together as well, our future is dependent upon our own behavior and attitudes. If the majority of humanity relays a negative, pessimistic attitude towards the future, we are all doomed. Fighting, ignorance, and greed doesn't promote peace. Global peace begins on the individual level. We need to engage in compassionate motivation, which means gently pushing for peace and nonviolence.

2. Promotion of Religious Harmony. While religion brings inner peace and a sense of value in the lives of millions, it is also problematic. Wars are fought or caused on the basis of religious intolerance. The Dalai Lama stressed the importance of following one tradition or religion, while respecting all. He continued to say that faith and respect are two very different things. Many religious leaders may have deep conviction and a strong faith, but lack the respect necessary to promote peace and tolerance to all.

3. Training of Compassion. We are all one big, human, family, even though we may not act that way. A clearness of vision and sense of closeness with others is important, yet underrated in American society where we stress individualism and a "me first, you last" society. To become compassionate, one needs to develop a social concern for others, even our enemies, of the right to overcome suffering. This concern is unbiased and genuine, reduces fear, and brings about confidence in yourself and others around you. An interesting scientific fact is that the same part of the brain used for motor function is also active when cultivating compassion.

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