The Salt Lake Tribune reported on His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, in a visit to the Huntsman Center. He said the quest for world peace, oddly enough, should emphasize action over prayer.
“I am a Buddhist, and prayer is part of my daily practice,” the Tibetan told the nearly full venue at the University of Utah. “Individual prayer is relevant and useful. For society and the world, though, prayer is not meaningful.” He added, peace “comes through actions” and that humans have compassion within them.
His Holiness the 14th began his speech by humbly denouncing himself as anything special, that he’s just a “simple monk.” “We are the same as humans – the audience, the speaker, we are the same emotionally, mentally and physically,” he said. “Everyone wants a happy life … And everyone has the right to have that desire.”
Much violence and war, he stated, come from self-centered attitude that doesn’t care about others. “Logically, who creates violence, who destroys peace, is not God, but you,” he said, “and you have a responsibility to stop war.”
More than 200 million died in violent acts in the 20th century, the Dalai Lama lamented. “We need to create a better relationship on this planet. … Today’s reality must change. We cannot do it with old thinking. … We must create a new way of thinking, offering a global message” that transcends national boundaries.
The Tibetan leader is hopeful, especially about our upcoming generations. He is working on an educational curriculum to address modern problems built on “moral ethics” and “not on a religious approach.” The Dalai Lama Fellows, furthermore, is a global network of young social innovators working for the cause of peace, justice, and ecology. The organization supports and guides them to deepen their service by merging social innovation with contemplative values, ethics, and compassion.
The Dalai Lama then shifted to his native tongue to speak to those from his homeland in the arena. His interpreter voiced that they should take pride in being the custodians of the classical teachings of Buddhism which “…emphasize critical reasoning and thinking. …They should recognize canonical contributions, not as sacred texts, but as textbooks of study.”
Addressing the entire audience, the Dalai Lama urged everyone to create a happier, more compassionate world. “My brothers, my sisters, you should not think of world problems as huge and that one individual cannot do much. This is wrong thinking.” A peaceful world, he said, starts with one person, then one family, then 10 families, then 1,000 families and whole communities. “That’s the way to change society. I feel it in my heart.”
At 81 years old and bringing his speech to a close, the Dalai Lama joked, “The knees are not so good but you can stay young if you keep your mind open.”