BY: TYLER FYFE
When the Dalai Lama speaks, you should probably listen. For 50 years he has practiced the buddhist tradition of Bodhisattva, spending his entire life pursuing public service instead of self-benefit.
In 1989, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent initiatives towards freeing Tibet from political oppression.
Unlike other spiritual leaders, The Dalai Lama believes that rather than submit completely to divine symbols, holy entities and religious dogma, people should test the boundaries of their own perspective. He pushes humanity to explore the subjective meaning of truth.
His message is simple: Respect other faiths of the world. If your prayers promote peace through methods of violence—or forced segregation—they are not prayers at all. In a recent interview regarding the Paris attacks, he said:
“We cannot solve this problem only through prayers. I am a Buddhist and I believe in praying. But humans have created this problem, and now we are asking God to solve it. It is illogical. God would say, solve it yourself because you created it in the first place.
We need a systematic approach to foster humanistic values, of oneness and harmony. If we start doing it now, there is hope that this century will be different from the previous one. It is in everybody’s interest. So let us work for peace within our families and society, and not expect help from God, Buddha or the governments.”
He continues, “Furthermore, the problems that we are facing today are the result of superficial differences over religious faiths and nationalities. We are one people.”
The Dalai Lama certainly knows something about ethnic and religious discrimination. In 1950, The People’s Republic of China invaded Tibet unhindered. In 1959, the continued oppression of the Tibetan people led to an uprising. The People’s Republic of China considered him to be a figurehead of what they considered an “obsolete religious movement” that contradicted their communist philosophy of social organization. China believes that The Dalai Lama is a terrorist for instigating resistance and Tibetan sovereignty. Currently he lives in Dharamshala, India, with his followers after fleeing for fear of death.
The words “Dalai Lama” translate into “Ocean Teacher” meaning that his spirit and the wisdom of his words hold an uncommon depth. His work over the past 65 years has stressed that beneath the blanket of dogma exists a common thread in the teachings of all religions–empathy.