Los Angeles, California, 3 May 2011 - Holiness theDalai Lama began his program in Long Beach on May 3, 2011 morning by meeting with members of the Board of the Gaden Shartse Thubten Dhargyeling Center as well as some of its long time practitioners. They were led by Gaden Shartse Abbot Jangchup Choedhen.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama meets with members of Gaden Shartse Thubten Dhargyeling Center in Long Beach, California, on May 3, 2011. Photo/J. Hackert
Afterwards, His Holiness left for the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles to give a public talk on “Secular Ethics, Human Values and Society“ organized by the University’sStudent Interfaith Council and co-hosted by the Dalai Lama Foundation and the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values.
The University’s Dean of Religious Life, Varun Soni, gave the initial welcome remarks before the talk, which took place in the University’s Galen Center. He said the University was grateful for His Holiness coming to the event despite being under the weather. His Holiness was introduced by Dr. James Doty, Chairman of the Dalai Lama Foundation and board member of the Brain and Creativity Institute at USC.
His Holiness began by talking about his recent ailments. He said it first started with a throat problem for which he had taken some Tibetan medicine and on account of taking more than the dosage he suffered problems, which he jokingly said was of his own making. However, His Holiness said since then he is well and was fit and because he is able to maintain a calm state of mind despite whatever situation developed, he was able to sleep well. He in fact told the gathering of around 5000 people that he had 10 hours of sleep the night before.
Venue at the University of SouthernCalifornia in Los Angeles, where His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke on “Secular Ethics, Human Values and Society“ on May 3, 2011. Photo/Steve Cohn
His Holiness referred to this situation to say that through his own experience he is able to see that it is very helpful to have a calm mind. He said at the age of 16 he had lost his individual freedom (a reference to his having to assume political leadership of Tibet at that young age then) and at the age of 24 he had lost his country (after China’s complete takeover of Tibet in 1959) as well as a little dog that he had. Even to this day even though there are occasional positive news from Tibet in general thesituation there is sad one. His Holiness said despite these developments, he has been able to maintain a calm mental state.
His Holiness said although money, fame, power, as well as strong physical body were important he said ultimately the development of an individual depended on inner strength. He added that inner strength could never be brought about through anger.
He then talked about his commitments to promote human values and religious harmony. He said everybody wanted happiness and had the same right to happiness.
Talking of the role of religion in history, His Holiness said throughout history some kind of conflicts has taken place in the name of religion. He, however, added that it was absolutely wrong to use difference in philosophy or view to start conflicts. He said the main message of all religions were the same, namely practice of compassion, love and forgiveness.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the University of Southern California on May 3, 2011. Photo/Steve Cohn
HisHoliness said the common aim of humanity is to have a happy world. Sucha happy world will have to be based on the existence of a healthy community, which in turn needs to be based on a healthy family, which fundamentally depends on individuals, he said. His Holiness therefore added that without changing individuals a happy world is not possible.
He said while religion helps in this endeavor he felt that given thereality in the world there was the need to find a means for the objective without having to touch on religion. He said secular ethics was thus needed. Here he clarified that his definition of secularism wasthe one that was promoted in India where the Indian Constitution talkedof secularism in the sense of respect for all religions. He said some of his Christian friends felt that secularism meant disrespect of religion, which he did not subscribe to. His Holiness said a former deputy prime minister of India had even told him that Indian secularism even included respect for non-believers, too.
His Holiness then talked about human capability in being educated about secular ethics and practicing the same saying that unlike animals human beings have intelligence to bring about calmness of mind. He talked about Pope Benedict XVI drawing attention to the need for faith and reason to go together and said that there is now a trend of making aconnection between development of warm heartedness and external development.
Some of the 5,000 audience members who came to hear His Holiness's the Dalai Lama's public talk at the University of Southern California on May 3, 2011. Photo/Steve Cohn
HisHoliness then answered questions, some of which were submitted through the Internet. The first question was on His Holiness’ emphasis on compassion as a basis of ethics. It asked whether in some situation ensuring justice is more important than being compassionate to the perpetrator of a crime. It referred to the news of the death of Osama Bin Laden and the celebrations of it by some, and asked where compassionfit in with this and ethics. In his response, His Holiness emphasized the need to find a distinction between the action and the actor. He said in the case of Bin Laden, his action was of course destructive and the September 11 events killed thousands of people. So his action must be brought to justice, His Holiness said. But with the actor we must have compassion and a sense of concern, he added. His Holiness said therefore the counter measure, no matter what form it takes, has to be compassionate action. His Holiness referred to the basis of the practiceof forgiveness saying that it, however, did not mean that one should forget what has been done.
His Holiness then answered a few other questions, including one relating to how a student should approach the issue of holding on to one’s principles while facing the reality of having to repay student loans and earn a living working for corporations whose principles did not complement his thinking. Here His Holiness said he wanted to quote the Buddha’s teaching that you are your own master and said the student should judge. To a question on whether His Holiness could think of any unethical acts that he had committed, His Holiness responded in the positive referring to “my relation with mosquitoes,” much to the amusement of the audience. His Holiness expanded saying if there was no risk of malaria then he would tolerate a mosquito or two sucking blood from his arm but when they come one after another, he would lose his patience.
His Holiness concluded my emphasizing on the importance of educationand awareness. This public talk was hosted by the University of Southern California’s Student Interfaith Council and co-hosted by the Dalai Lama Foundation and the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
His Holiness the Dalai Lama address a luncheon at the University of Southern California on May 3, 2011. Photo/Don Farber
Ina statement announcing today’s event, Interfaith Council President Sarrah Shahawy said, “The USC Student Interfaith Council is deeply honored to host His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, who embodies the religiouspluralism and interfaith cooperation which we stand for. We anticipate that his visit will greatly enrich our USC community and enliven our discussions on interfaith dialogue, social responsibility, and spirituality and science.”
Following lunch, His Holiness gave a brief address to the attendees of a luncheon during which he emphasized on the importance of donors to watch how their money was being spent.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama greets the audience the USC's Board Auditorium before the panel discussion on May 3, 2011. Photo/Steve Cohn
He then went to the University’s Board Auditorium to participate in a discussiontitled “Secular Ethics: Origins, Elements and Their Function in Society.” His co-panelists were Antonio Damasio, David Dornsife Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Southern California; Gideon Yaffe, Professor of Philosophy and Law at the University of Southern California; Jonathan Haidt, Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia; and Dr. Duncan Williams, Shinjo Ito Distinguished Chair of Japanese Buddhism at University of California at Berkeley. Pico Iyer, acclaimed journalist, essayist and author of a recent biography of the Dalai Lama, moderated the session.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama and panelists during their discussion at the University of Southern California on May 3, 2011. Photo/Don Farber
Thediscussion touched on the role of individuals, religions and science regarding human behavior and how secular ethics fit into these. His Holiness expanded on how his concept of secular ethics related to human development. He talked about his interaction with scientists saying he had two purposes in doing so. One, to expand knowledge and secondly to see the role of moral ethics in enabling scientific knowledge to become constructive.
Over 600 people attended this session. Following this discussion, His Holiness returned to his hotel. This is His Holiness’ first visit to the University of Southern California.
On May 4, 2011, His Holiness will receive the "Shine A Light" Award from Amnesty International and give a keynote address on Human Rights atthe California State University.
In the afternoon, he will visit University of California Irvine for a public talk on “Compassion & Global Leadership.”
Smartphone Overuse, Youth Suicide and Buddhism as a Healing Source,
Youth suicide is disturbingly rising. Ashley Welch, in her article “What’s behind the rise in youth suicides?” (2017), gave some insights into the trend. The author mentioned potential causes for this trauma and notably pointed to “the correlation between the rising popularity of smartphones and increased rates of suicide and depression among young people” (para. 17). Although Welch did not offer a clear reason for the correlation, this point raises an awareness of an irony. We, as readers, may wonder, “How can such a wonderful entertaining device cause that terrible thing?” In this paper, I will discuss the roots of this pain, and then suggest Buddhism as a healing source.
Why Aren't We Teaching You Mindfulness?
AnneMarie Rossi, Founder and CEO of BeMindful
Harvard conducted a research study and they tracked more than 1,000 people from birth until age 32 looking for what made someone successful. What common characteristic or trait was seen in a successful individual? It wasn't their race, what language they spoke, what neighborhood they grow up in, or how much money their parents had. It wasn't how well they did on standardized tests or even their IQ. It was self-control; those who were successful, who had good careers, financial stability, loving relationships, and physical health. Those who were successful, were the ones who could focus, pay attention, and regulate their emotions.
The Buddhist community is extremely upset by the inappropriate and disrespectful use of the image of Buddha, The Buddhist community is extremely upset by the inappropriate and disrespectful use of the image of Buddha, in a display at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) entitled the 'Eternity-Buddha in Nirvana, the Dying Gaul, Farnese Hercules, Night, Day, Sartyr and Bacchante, Funerary Genius, Achilles, Persian Soldier Fighting, Dancing Faun, Crouching Aphrodite, Narcisse Couché, Othryades the Spartan Dying, the Fall of Icarus, A River, Milo of Croton'. It can also be seen at: https://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/explore/collection/work/131149/
Although this display has been in place for some months, we have only just been made aware of its' existence. We are not usually outspoken, but this display desecrates the image of Buddha by placing images of these mythical images on him and in doing so, showing no apparent regard or respect for Him.
Prior to sharing some thoughts on the question, 'According to 2010 statistics, the number of Buddhists around the world is consistently increasing by approximately 5% to 10% per annum. What do you think are the main causes for this increase?', I should mention that I'm often 'open-mindedly skeptical' about such surveys, and the statistics gathered during such surveys. For where does the information come from and how is the information gathered, and for what purpose, and so on and so forth.
To give the briefest conclusion that I can think of to the question- 'Do you think that sectarian diversity affects the stability of Buddhism as a whole?', I would have to say, 'Yes' and 'No'.
My intention here is not to give a definitive answer, but to give readers 'food for thought', to enable each of us to be responsible and maintain pure intentions, to think for ourselves and develop genuine wisdom and compassion.
In the spirit of the Dharma, rather than dwelling on any possible problems, we should mainly focus on solutions to any such problems. With the hope of maintaining the integrity and purity of Buddhism in this world.
Why is Buddhism so diverse ? Andrew Williams, I think we can all agree that the reason for the many diverse traditions and paths within Buddhism is that all sentient beings, in one way or another, are different, both mentally and physically, and therefore each individuals needs are also different.
The Buddha explained that we sentient beings all have different and limited levels of understanding of this or that, and even if we focus on the very same thing, we will perceive it according to our own perspective. From our own limited viewpoint.
We tend to perceive things and others based on our own preconceived ideas and past experiences. It's as if we judge the whole ocean based on the small part of the ocean that we may think we know. The whole sky based on a few clouds.
As this Thursday 9 and Friday 10 November, Ven Chi Kwang Sunim will talk on "Women in Leadership" as part of the Prevention of Violence Against Women Leadership Program, BCV would like to invite you and members of your organisation to attend this important program which runs at two places.
Thursday 9 November 2017@ Hoa Nghiem Temple, 442-448 Springvale Road, Springvale South, VIC 3172
Friday 10 November 2017 @ Coburg Library Meeting Room, Coburg, VIC 3058
Time: 12.30-2.30 pm.