Shewatsel, Leh, Ladakh — His Holiness the Dalai Lama met core members of the SEE Learning team in Ladakh on Thursday and he told them," We don’t need to focus on what might divide us. What we need instead is a sense of the oneness of humanity, an awareness of how we are all the same. We must put effort into building harmony throughout the world. As human beings we all have the same kind of face with two eyes, a nose and a mouth. If we were to meet someone with a third eye, that would be really strange."
His Holiness the Dalai Lama met 30 core members of the SEE Learning team in Ladakh, on August 10, 2023. He addressed the group and said, "I am glad to meet you. When we Tibetans came into exile in India, we witnessed democracy at work and we discovered that there are people for whom religion has little attraction. Of course, religious practice can be very helpful, but it is also the case that people use religion as an excuse for stoking conflict with others."
"In my own life I have received teachings belonging to the Sakya, Kagyu and Nyingma traditions, as well as the Geluk tradition, and I practise them all. But religion is not for everyone and what’s important is that we find ways to encourage people to develop positive qualities like love and compassion on a secular basis," His Holiness continued.
His Holiness added by saying, "Right from our birth we are nurtured by our mother’s affection. We form a natural bond with her that has nothing to do with religion. In some ways this experience of love and affection is coloured by attachment, but in others it is simply a natural response."
"Despite the huge numbers of people who died violently in the first and second world wars, there are people today who seem to be driven by an urge to fight, even if it provokes a third world war. They persist in developing powerful weapons, oblivious of the fact that if they use nuclear weapons, they will be destroyed too. If we don’t put effort into building peace, the whole of humanity will suffer," the Nobel laureate said.
"Whether people follow a religious practice or not, we all need love and compassion. Basic morality follows from this. Indeed, wars are fought because of a lack of love and compassion," His Holiness added.
"I am a Buddhist practitioner, but I try to take the instructions for developing love and compassion and present them in a secular context. Implementing secular ethics enables us to build on and enhance the experience of compassion and affection we learn from our mothers. Look at animals, they show each other affection without the intervention of religion. Similarly, children reveal an affection for one another regardless of the religion, nation or race they belong to. Children display an open friendliness that adults would do well to emulate," the spiritual leader of Tibet said.
"We don’t need to focus on what might divide us. What we need instead is a sense of the oneness of humanity, an awareness of how we are all the same. We must put effort into building harmony throughout the world. As human beings we all have the same kind of face with two eyes, a nose and a mouth. If we were to meet someone with a third eye, that would be really strange," His Holiness the Dalai Lama said.
The spiritual leader of Tibet said, "When we Tibetans came into exile and met all kinds of different people, we discovered that we were just like them. Although we have faced great difficulties as a result of the Chinese communist invasion, today, when the Chinese people are suffering widespread flooding, we can only feel sympathy and concern for them. Such disasters are a symptom of the climate crisis. As a mark of my solidarity with the people of China, I hope to be able to make a donation to the relief efforts."
“As Buddhist practitioners we pray,
May all sentient beings have happiness
And the causes of happiness.
May all sentient beings be free from suffering And the causes of suffering.
"And although we only have a vague idea of what all sentient beings means, we can at least take all the beings on this earth into account," His Holiness mentioned.
"As I said, I have great sympathy for the people of China struggling with these floods and I hope they have the courage to surmount the challenges they face. Our scriptures mention that the world will eventually be destroyed by water, fire or wind and global heating seems to indicate fire," he added.
"When I first came to Ladakh, one of my companions was distressed by how barren the hills were. Due to the steady efforts you’ve made to plant trees and so forth, things have changed," His Holiness explained.
"In Dharamsala and other places on the plains of India at this time of year, it’s humid and wet with rain. When I come to Ladakh I appreciate that the weather is dry and the temperature moderate. I’m also grateful for the affection that’s shown me. Thank you," His Holiness the Dalai Lama concluded his speech and then opened the floor to questions and answers.