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Start with Compassion: The Dalai Lama's message of peace
The wisest of words never become dated. When Gaiam sponsored and filmed a 1997 talk by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama at New York City’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the U.S. was not yet at war with Iraq. Yet as the Dalai observes, conflict is a part of everyday life, even in times of peace. We felt that in this time of war, the wisdom shared in this program is worth sharing again with our Community members and visitors.
“Everything is interconnected,” the Dalai Lama points out in this program titled Harmony in Diversity: How to Move from Conflict to Compassion, filmed live for Gaiam DVD. “The interest of the common and the interest of the individual are very much linked. By taking care of others’ interests, you’re taking care of yourself.”
Individual freedom and individual rights are important to society, he says, because they bring about individual creativity. Yet our survival depends on the community.
The Dalai relates the need for diversity to a garden — to be beautiful, he says, it needs different colors and different flowers. In the “human garden,” more culture is more attractive, and we need to take care of each individual to have a beautiful society.
Different cultures and faiths do create divisions, the Dalai Lama admits, but that’s not a bad thing. There’s nothing wrong with disagreeing — until it turns to violence. War suppresses ideas, he explains, while dialogue supports it.
“Because of human intelligence, there is the possibility to overcome contradictions nonviolently. Compromise, dialogue — that’s the only way,” the Dalai Lama says. “When it comes to war, our attitude is wrong.”
The Dalai Lama believes our concept of conflict must embrace compassion and peace, and he puts the responsibility on each and every person.
“If we want change, each individual has to make the effort,” he says, adding that parents should introduce compassion to their children through their actions. “Each person should not feel one individual effort is insignificant. The mass movement comes from individual effort.”