Educating The Heart: The Dalai Lama Talks to our students in Oahu – Last month in Honolulu, on April 14th 2012, His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke about, ‘Educating the Heart’ to over 9,000 students, advocating the importance of inner mental development for a wholesome education.
The 14th Dalai Lama is the spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhism and a Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist. The event was opened up by Jake Shimabukuro (who is a phenomenal ukulele player, try and catch him at the annual ukulele festival at the MACC if you can). Jake did something very poignant to emphasize the message of Simplicity by removing one string from his ukulele. He played with only three, showing that with only three strings, there was still a lot he could do. He concluded that to make music, you must first create it inside, before you can bring it outside.
The Dalai Lama would elaborate on this concept later in regards to happiness being created from within. He said everyone has the desire to achieve a happy life and that this was a basic right – the very purpose of life is to achieve happiness and joyfulness. However, happiness should not be understood merely at the level of physical happiness sought from possessions and power (which can be achieved with good grades, good job), but should come from a place of inner peace, connectivity, and compassion.
His Holiness explained that we are all the same as humans; mentally, emotionally, and physically. “You are my brothers and sisters, and I speak to you from that place, because we are all the same.” He commented that some of the Oahu students looked like Tibetans, and so even physically there was sameness.
He said among students there was the need to develop a genuine sense of companionship. Competition was good if it is at the level of wanting to excel oneself and striving for that. However, extreme competition, which he defined as wanting to excel and in the process creating hindrance for others, was to be avoided. He encouraged the students to generate a sense of brotherhood and trust in their classrooms and to quell attitudes of bullying and fighting, which creates a negative atmosphere. He went on to explain to the students that there are two levels of compassion: the biological compassion that we feel for our family and friends (our ohana) – and then a compassion you can extend to strangers, and even to your enemies. This genuine compassion was not dependent on the reaction of the other side, or the expectation of something in return. This was the true art of compassion.
With his message he was not only reiterating the importance of educating the mind, (the Dalai Lama obtained a PHD equivalent in Buddhism while still a teenager) but emphasis should also be on educating the heart, especially using the art of compassion, empathy, and trust. This would help shape the 21st century into a more peaceful one, with hopefully lot less violence than the last.
Image Credit: www.dalailama.com