Attending the Newark Peace Summit in New Jersey earlier this month, His Holiness the Dalai Lama led a panel discussion on ethics in education.
According to the Tibetan Buddhist leader’s website, he spoke about how all humans, irrespective of religious affiliation, desire the same thing: to be happy. Attempting to achieve happiness through material gain does not work, as the source of happiness lies within each individual.
We can tap into that source of happiness through education and action — specifically action that promotes peace. “From kindergarten, we have to teach that whenever there is conflict, teaching the use of force is the wrong method. It brings mutual destruction,” he said. “Whenever there is conflict, the immediate thought in our mind should be how to solve this through dialogue instead of how to solve this through force.”
Elaborating on the interdependent nature of the world, the Dalai Lama noted that America’s future depends on the future of other countries, so that destroying others is really destruction of self. (Any kid disciplined for fighting probably knows this fact to be true.) Forgiveness, the Dalai Lama said, doesn’t mean bowing down and letting people do whatever they want; it means separating the action from the actor, opposing wrongdoing without forgetting the humanity of the actor.
When asked if he had a message for the youth of Newark, a city beleaguered by gun violence even as the Peace Summit went on, the Dalai Lama said a message from him wouldn’t help. What’s needed in Newark and other American cities is a long-term plan. In addition to the need to lessen the gap between rich and poor, the Dalai Lama cited the need for the teaching of secular ethics in school. By secular ethics, he explained, he did not mean disrepect for religion, but respect for all religions and non-believers.
What’s your long-term plan for your students? Whether you already have one, or you want help implementing it, we know we can help you teach your students to value themselves and one another, and do their part to make this world a more peaceful place. Check out our training opportunities, or call 800-711-2670.
What do you think of the Dalai Lama’s emphasis on dialogue, forgiveness, and fairness? Add your comment below.