On Friday night, I visited the Dalai Lama with Phil Goff and yesterday went with the Parliamentary Lobby group on Tibet, which included MPs from all parties, including Hone Harawira and John Boscowen.
I know there are varying views on Tibet and the role of the Dalai Lama and there are strong convictions about the rights and wrongs of the situation on all sides.
Whatever the basis of the argument may be, I am concerned when I hear about human rights abuses, the oppression of religious freedom and an apparent determination to wipe out a unique culture and language. Additionally, there are significant worries about what is one of the most environmentally strategic and sensitive regions in the world.
These are enough to get me interested in working with other parliamentarians to do what we can to help find solutions.
But I have to confess to another motive for going, probably arising from a stint I had ten or more years ago of practising Tibetan Buddhism. I wanted to hear the Dalai Lama again.
Phil Goff asked him about what he was going to be saying in his talk at the Vector Arena. The Dalai Lama told us that it wouldn’t be about China and it wouldn’t be about religion. It would be about right-mindedness and compassion as the basis for happiness and peace.
He talked about how fear and hate drive many of the problems in the world. He said that truth and honesty could be the basis for a happier life and that love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.
This “simple Buddhist monk” as he calls himself has much wisdom. People forget that Buddhist monks are scholars, with up to 20 years of study.
Here’s a great quote :
“I believe that the very purpose of life is to be happy. From the very core of our being, we desire contentment. In my own limited experience I have found that the more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being. Cultivating a close, warmhearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. It helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the principal source of success in life. Since we are not solely material creatures, it is a mistake to place all our hopes for happiness on external development alone. The key is to develop inner peace.”
His message might sound simple, and even obvious, but perhaps we could try it out.
How about gross domestic happiness?