Monday, March 21, 2016

Dalai Lama Brings Message of Peace, Nonviolence

By Bill Glauber of the Journal Sentinel

Madison, Wisconsin — Dispensing wisdom and radiating warmth, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, told a rapt audience Wednesday that "this 21st century should be a century of dialogue."

As he reflected on the wars of his lifetime, from World War II to present conflicts, the Dalai Lama said "unlike (the) 20th century, this century must be (a) century of peace, of nonviolence."

The "World We Make" event, in the Capitol Theater at the Overture Center for the Arts, was the public highlight of the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader's 10th visit to Madison.

Wearing a crimson robe, black shoes and glasses, the Dalai Lama, 80, eagerly placed on his head a cap that read, "Change Your Mind, Change the World."

"It's practical," he said, peering at the audience with the stage lights beating down.

Richard Davidson, founder of the Center for Healthy Minds and a professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the Dalai Lama's main message to the audience was that "we need to take responsibility now for cultivating positive qualities like kindness and compassion."

"We can all have a positive dramatic impact on the world if we take seriously that we can train our mind to nurture these qualities," Davidson said.

Answering questions from a panel that included Dan Harris, an ABC News correspondent, the Dalai Lama displayed an infectious laugh and a wry sense of humor that delighted the audience. At one point, he provided a long answer and then with a smile on his face asked the questioner, "Do you have further argument?"

"I would never argue with you. I hear you're a very skilled debater with many years of experience," said Soma Stout of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

Again and again the Dalai Lama reflected on how positive change can be made, starting with a single individual who can influence others — "10 people, 100 people, 100,000 people, then millions," he said. "That's the way to change."

"The happiness of humanity is our common goal, our common interest," he said. "Of course we are selfish. Selfish is the key factor for survival."

He was impassioned as he talked about the need for education "so that we can look at things from various angles. From one dimension you can't see fully."

He spoke of how there is an emphasis on love in all religious traditions. And he emphasized the important role parents play in developing and nurturing children.

The Dalai Lama also told a story of a Tibetan who had been imprisoned "18 years in a Chinese gulag," before being allowed to travel to India in the early 1980s. The man mentioned that he faced danger in those years, the Dalai Lama said.

Asked what kind of danger he faced, the man said "the danger of losing compassion toward the perpetrator."

"Practice of compassion is so important," the Dalai Lama said.

Harris, who wrote a self-help book called "How I Tamed the Voice In My Head," sought practical advice from the Dalai Lama.

"I have a 1-year-old," Harris said. "What is the right age to teach him mindfulness and will it stop him from pulling the cats' tails and eating their kibble and drooling on me and pulling the pages from my wife's magazines?"

"As a father, I think you know best," the Dalai Lama said to laughter and applause.

Original link and photo: http://www.jsonline.com/news/religion/dalai-lama-brings-message-of-peace-nonviolence-to-madison-b99684619z1-371584901.html

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