Ethics and Enlightened Leadership

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A speech by His Holiness the Dalai Lama


“You could invent an injection for compassion, I would want that. And maybe commerce could contribute: you could have shops selling compassion. In a supermarket, you could buy compassion.”
His Holiness the Dalai Lama



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His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke at an inaugural event for a new institute in his name, the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values. He tempered his provocative ideas about promoting ethics in a secular society with a stream of lively banter. He recalled that he had visited a homeless shelter in San Francisco the other day and told a man he met that he, too, had suffered the same fate after he went into exile in 1959. "I said, 'me too. Homeless'."

Turning to global issues, he framed the two largest issues facing the world as the economy and ecology. These must be solved with compassion toward those we don’t agree with, and by acknowledging their root causes. He rejects the notion that the economic meltdown was caused by "market forces" and instead names the causes as human behaviors--greed and hypocrisy.

He called upon the community to not think in terms of "we and them" and encouraged all of humanity to come forward to solve the world's problems. The only condition that should allow for a "we and them" mindset, he declares, would be if aliens from another planet were to visit the earth. "Inner disarmament can be achieved, external disarmament is difficult.”

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