Life as we know it today is nothing like life a century ago. Globalization and technological innovation has made communicating across borders possible, yet not necessarily easier in terms of human values. A constant fundamental challenge is upholding ethical obligations to each other in a fast-paced society.
This was the focus of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet’s public lecture at San Diego State University. The “Compassion Without Borders” symposium — which also included shows at the University of California San Diego and the University of San Diego on April 18 and 19 -— touched on issues of ethics, peaceful relations with neighboring Mexico, science and environmental sustainability.
The events marked the Tibetan monk’s first visit to San Diego. Tickets for the lectures sold out merely hours after being released to the public on Feb. 22. SDSU students fortunate enough to grab tickets spent $10 each, though hearing his teachings was invaluable.
Speaking to the crowd, His Holiness told young people to care about each other and strive to lead honest lives, because they have the potential to make this century more joyful.
Highlights to ponder:
Look at interpersonal relationships through the eyes of a child.
Young children play together without considering factors such as race and ethnicity, family background or religious faith. They treat each other like brothers and sisters. But when individuals become more educated and the mind gains sophistication, we sometimes prioritize self-interest, asking, “What can they do for us?” Instead, remember childhood ideals of compassion.
Do not work so hard to make a living that family and friends are neglected.
The amount of money, education and even physical strength that an individual attains throughout a lifetime means little at death. What will be important, however, is being surrounded by loving friends and family. That raw human affection, feeling close to others, is necessary for a successful life.
Make it a civic responsibility to exercise a sense of concern for all people.
Each person has the potential for greatness and destruction. Answering to fear, jealousy, anger and frustration often leads to negative actions. By practicing compassion, we can shine positive light on others to do the same. Even your enemy and people unrelenting of their hurtful actions deserve forgiveness. Positive attitudes will yield healthy minds, he said.
Train your mentality to think past physical levels of comfort.
Substances often serve as an escape from harsh realities. But it only temporarily silences anxiety and worries because drugs and alcohol cannot subdue the mental levels of pain or bring genuine inner peace. In order to develop mental happiness that may help build altruism, we need a strong sense of self. Take individual stands to recognize your worth and help others to recognize theirs.
Spend less time with technology and more time exercising your brain.
Mediums like television, radio, newspapers and the Internet have made information more accessible. Even social media helps fosters relationships. But it is a double-edged sword when people spend the entire day in front of the TV or computer. Don’t forget to exercise your mental capabilities in traditional ways such as merely sitting and thinking, reading a book or engaging in conversations in-person with friends and family.
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