Last week, I had the opportunity (and pleasure) of attending two public talks given by His Holiness, the Dalai Lama (one talk in Ottawa and another in Toronto). I was struck by his warmheartedness and the fullness of his laugh. The following paragraphs describe my interpretation of the various messages presented by His Holiness.
From the time we are born, the affection given to us by our mothers is critical for our development, both physical and mental. There is scientific evidence that links brain development with affection in our early years. Physical affection helps kids grow up healthy. Our bodies respond to affection with a stronger immune system.
Providing affection towards others leads to personal happiness. A corollary to that is self-centered attitudes cause loneliness. Affection also leads to trust, and trust leads to genuine friendship. From the opposite perspective, a lack of affection leads to fear and distrust. In addition, anger, fear, and hatred weakens the immune system and shortens your life. Our physical well being is linked to our emotions.
A healthy, happy community begins with healthy happy individuals. World peace begins with inner peace. Individual affection leads to world peace.
In our global world, we need to realize that destruction of our neighbour is actually destruction of ourselves. The concept of war is out-dated (obsolete), since it leads to self-destruction.
The division of we versus they (us versus them) leads to war.
Conflicts should be solved through dialogue. We should be teaching our children how to dialogue effectively. We should send our kids to spend time living in other countries. This helps them to develop an appreciative understanding of other cultures as well as true friendships. Appreciative understanding helps dialogue and true friendships lead to peace.
A concrete path to world peace is to start by merging the armed forces of the world. As countries sign-on to a unified world-army, there would be no one left to fight. This would lead to dis-armament. The unified world-army would be available to all member-states in the even to natural disasters.
All religions should be respected, including the non-believers. Religions can be categorized as either theistic or causational. That is, religions either believe in a supreme being (gods) or they believe in causal relationships (karma). The best religion for a person is the one that is associated to their culture and family. This is because they are most familiar with it, and as a result they can develop a deeper understanding of it. As for the non-believers, they can choose ;).