What does the Dalai Lama say when he’s got just half an hour? He speaks from the heart. Here is what he said (and I hung on every word):
1. Money is important but it is not the absolute source of happiness. Love, compassion, and forgiveness give you the emotional strength and freedom to be happy. My thoughts: abundance of money is the offspring of happiness, not the cause of it.
2. There are two forms of compassion: biological and trained. Biological compassion comes as a result of attachment to others, like your parents and children, and in response to others’ behaviour and attitude. In other words, conditional compassion. Trained compassion is where the compassion is directed towards the person themselves, irrespective of their behaviour or situation, in genuine concern for their well-being. It is a learned and developed capacity. It is basically unconditional compassion.
It is trained compassion, unconditional compassion, which is the more powerful and important version of compassion. And it can be developed through awareness and practise. Test your level right now: can you forgive and accept someone as a human being, regardless if they’ve murdered, or tortured or maimed someone else? If you said ‘no’, then you’ve got to develop a little bit more of your compassion muscle.
The Dalai Lama says differentiating the human being from their behaviour is key. This is how he can love and accept and feel compassion for his Chinese ‘brothers and sisters’ while at the same time condemning the behaviour of murder and torture. The two are separate. And seeing the human being apart from the action, gives the opportunity to forgive and promote healing – and therefore change. My thoughts: nothing really hurts when you see it through eyes of love.
3. When asked, “is the world getting better or worse?” the Dalai Lama said, “Better, definitely better. There are huge positive changes that have occurred around the world due to non-violent focus and change and that is a good thing. Science and spirituality are coming closer together and that is a good thing. There is increased caring in the world and that is a good thing. Human rights and the right of self-determination are now being discussed openly on a global scale, and that is a very good thing indeed.”
4. When asked, “what kind of leadership does the world need right now?” he answered, “contemporary leadership needs more compassion, more love, more forgiveness. And biologically, women have more of a natural capacity for these things, therefore the world needs to encourage more women leaders, to bring more compassion on to the world stage.”
5. The chicken story. When asked, “why is there such cruelty to animals and how can I become more forgiving and compassionate towards those who torture animals?” The Lama said, “when I was in India, they had chickens stuffed into cages and right beside the vegetables. They treated the chickens like they were vegetables, with no regard to their experience, no compassion for what it would be like to be the chicken. So educating others about the welfare and experience of animals is a very good thing – this brings compassion. I think also that being a vegetarian is a very good thing also.”
Compassion and care for animals is certainly in the news lately, and I welcome all discussion on it on my blog.
As a vegetarian and enthusiastic chicken owner, I also support the care and consideration of all sentient beings.
What do you think? What does the world need more of?