The Dalai Lama’s call to be human

Mary Hepburn reflects on the visit of the Dalai Lama to Wellington in June.

It is a blessing to meet a person who is so in touch with the sacredness of human life and the potential of human beings to work for a peaceful and compassionate world.

Although I was at the far end of the Events Centre in Wellington on Tuesday, 19 June, and so couldn’t clearly see the Dalai Lama, his presence and message – so powerful in their simplicity and depth – left me standing taller.

Holy bag

The Dalai Lama’s sense of humour was to the forefront from the first, as he described the contents of the bag he carries with him: a sun visor to protect him from the glare of the lights, toothpaste, sunglasses, and bread – as often on journeys he needs more food! His simple approach to life became more apparent as he continued his presentation on ‘A human approach to world peace’.

Promotion of human value

Problems in human living – including old age and death – can become big crises. The Dalai Lama recommended developing a calm mind so that all problems and challenges can be considered realistically. This peace of mind is crucial at every level of society.

Growth in unbiased compassion is also a very effective way of living. Tolerance, a natural by-product of compassion, is a sign of strength rather than weakness. Tolerance recognises the other as a human being. Through a calm mind, unbiased compassion and warm-heartedness, one can truly acknowledge human value.

Human approach to world peace

The above in practice has far-reaching possibilities in the global scene. Destruction of neighbour is akin to destruction of self. Rather than control and dominance, we have the tasks of listening to the other and promoting spiritual dialogue. The Dalai Lama suggested that through compassion, dialogue, and education we can build a world of peace.

World Youth Day

It was a happy coincidence that the Dalai Lama’s visit coincided with the visit of the World Youth Day Cross and Icon! Moving from Parliament grounds to this giant of another spiritual tradition I was struck by the common hopes and dreams: honour the sacred dignity of all peoples, and work together to create a world of peace.

It’s a core message of the gospels that continues to invite our Christian communities to action week after week!

There are still prophets in our world. They help us to discover our inherent greatness and to return again and again to a life of gratitude, calm, and ever new hopes!