Home Buddhist space Interreligious ‘We need more effort to promote basic human values’ : Dalai Lama

‘We need more effort to promote basic human values’ : Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama greets the crowd attending the afternoon session of the Vancouver Peace Summit at UBC's Chan Centre on September 27.
The Dalai Lama greets the crowd attending the afternoon session of the Vancouver Peace Summit at UBC’s Chan Centre on September 27.

‘We need more effort to promote basic human values’

– Dalai Lama –


VANCOUVER — The Dalai Lama closed the opening session of the 2009 Vancouver Peace Summit Sunday morning with a call for a global promotion of compassion, and an increased emphasis on the promotion of women to positions of influence.

“Some people may call me a feminist,” the Dalai Lama said quietly to a packed house at the Chan Cenre.

“But we need more effort to promote basic human values — human compassion, human affection. And in that respect, females have more sensitivity for others’ pain and suffering.”

The Dalai Lama’s remarks were made in response to a moderator’s invitation to the five panelists to share what they see as priorities in the quest for world peace. Sunday morning’s discussion, World Peace Through Personal Peace, was one of several being held during the three-day Peace Summit.

The four other speakers were Vancouver-based spiritual writer Eckhart Tolle; Episcopalian priest and daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mpho Tutu; Buddhist monk and author, Matthieu Ricard; and as a last-minute addition, eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyan.

The hour-long discussion touched on topics such as education, self-awareness, compassion, and the role of technology in achieving world peace.

“Real change must start with individuals, then family, then community,” the Dalai Lama said as the session began.

“We really need to embrace the concept of the whole world as ‘we’.”

More than a thousand people attended the Sunday morning event, with Canada’s Gov.-Gen. Michaelle Jean welcoming the crowd and the Dalai Lama via video.

Jean described the gathering of global spiritual leaders in Vancouver as “a dazzling constellation of global change agents.”

She called on the guest speakers and the crowd to use the Peace Summit as a catalyst for change.

“You have a unique opportunity to dream big,” she said. “Please be inspired. The world is counting on you. Peace is within our grasp.”

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu had been scheduled to appear at the event, but was prevented from travelling from his home in Cape Town, South Africa, because of an injured back.

Victor Chan, friend of the Dalai Lama and founding director of the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education, joked that the injury may have been indirectly caused by Tutu’s love of loud music and dancing. Tutu is 78 years old.

Tutu appeared via video to accept the Fetzer Prize for Love and Forgiveness, smiling and laughing as he spoke of an innate goodness shared by all human beings.

“I have seen in the world a great deal awfulness . . . but it is goodness, it is love, it is caring, it is compassion for which we are made,” he said.

“We know in our hearts that many of our problems stem from our disregard of these virtues — the capacity to forgive, the capacity to reconcile, the capacity for caring for our fellow human beings.”

During the panel discussion, each of the speakers was asked to describe their perception of world peace and comment on how they suggest finding personal peace.

“I believe that peace is the opportunity for all to flourish . . . to accord respect and dignity to those we regard as other, those we regard as being across the aisle from us, those we are stretched to love,” Rev. Tutu said.

“As a mother, I’d say it’s helpful if you’re seeking personal peace to avoid two-year-olds with tantrums.”

The Sunday morning event attracted people young and old, from near and far.

Tom St. Clair and his wife, Marra, came from California to celebrate their one-year anniversary at the Peace Summit.

St. Clair has seen the Dalai Lama once before, but he said he wanted his wife to experience it.

“It’s about him, but it’s also about the collective energy of the people,” he said.

“The people who go to see the Dalai Lama all bring a sense of peace and compassion, so all that energy is a really special experience.”

Hoshen Chi, a student at Langara College, said the event was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. He has wanted to see the Dalai Lama since he was 15 years old.

“I want to see what he’s like,” said the 26-year-old. “I’d like to hear what he says about personal peace, because my life is in a bit of turmoil right now.”

Sarita Baldeo has seen the Dalai Lama speak in India and the United States, but was looking forward to sharing the experience with two friends from B.C.

“I get a lot of joy from seeing him,” she said. “I’ve admired him and his work and what he stands for for a very long time.”

On Tuesday the Dalai Lama will speak at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Vancouver, which includes a conversation with Maria Shriver.

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun


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