HomeArticlesE.S. Dalai Lama XIV: Ecology and the human heart

“We are part of humanity, so we should take care of humanity.
And if this is not in our power, then we should at least do no harm.
Dalai Lama XIV.

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama is a well-known personality not only among the adherents of Buddhism, but also among the wider population of the planet. This great Man devoted his whole life to promoting high moral values, finding true inner harmony, respect for the environment, fighting violence and ignorance. His words are widely known: “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness." It is difficult to find a more generous person who has endured exile from his country, left thousands of ward citizens behind him and at the same time retained fortitude, compassion and a cheerful disposition.

Not only religious or political topics are touched upon in his speeches around the world by His Holiness. Among the most important issues for humanity, he refers to environmental protection. We will gradually share with you videos from conferences and meetings on this topic. In the meantime, I would like to give an excerpt from the book of E.S. Dalai Lama's "My Tibet", which reveals to us his attitude to the issue of ecology:

“According to Buddhist teachings, the natural environment and living beings living in it are closely related. Some friends assure me that aggression is at the core of human nature, but I do not agree with them. If we consider various animals, such as those that must hunt for food, such as tigers or lions, we see that nature itself provides them with fangs and claws. Peaceful animals, such as deer, eating plant foods, have a milder disposition, smaller teeth and no claws. Based on this logic, we humans have a non-aggressive nature. As for the question of human survival, people are social animals; and to survive, we need support. Our survival depends on other people. This is the law of nature.

Since I deeply believe that people are naturally kind, I think that we should maintain a peaceful relationship not only with human beings like ourselves, but also, and this is very important, extend this attitude to the entire natural environment. It is our moral duty to take care of the environment as a whole.

In addition to questions of morality, there is also the question of our own survival. The environment is important not only for our generation, but also for future generations. If we recklessly overexploit the environment, even if we get immediate financial or other benefits, in the long run it will bring suffering to ourselves and future generations. A change in the environment leads to a change in climatic conditions. Significant climate change affects the economy and many other aspects of life. They greatly affect our physical health. So preserving the environment is not just a matter of morality, but also a matter of our own survival.

Therefore, in order to achieve success in the protection and conservation of the natural environment, it is first of all important that people themselves find inner balance. The misuse of the environment, which has already done so much harm to human society, was the result of an underestimation of the importance of the nature around us. We must help people understand this. It is necessary to teach people that the environment is directly related to our own good.

I always talk about the importance of compassionate thinking. As I mentioned above, even from a selfish point of view, you need other people. Therefore, if you develop concern for the well-being of others, share in the suffering of others and help them, in the long run, it will benefit you. If you think only about yourself and forget about others, you are doomed to failure. This is also something like a law of nature.

Everything is pretty simple. If you don't smile at people, if you have a frown, people will smile back at you, right? If you communicate with other people in a very sincere, open manner, then they behave in a similar way. Everyone wants to have friends and does not want to have enemies. The surest way to make friends is to have a good heart, not just money or power. Friends of money or friends of power are something else, they are not real friends. True friends must be friends of the heart. I always say that those friends that appear when you have money or power are not real friends. They are friends of your money or power, because as soon as you lose everything, these friends are also ready to leave you. You cannot rely on them.

Genuine friends will be there in success and failure - they always share your sorrows and difficulties. Anger will not help to make such genuine friends, nor will a good education and intellect help in this. True friends are attracted by a good heart.

Think carefully: if you really need to show selfishness, then why not do it wisely, without limiting yourself to narrow limits? The key point here is a sense of universal responsibility, which is a true source of strength and happiness. When we, without any concern for future generations and the future, exploit all the resources at our disposal: trees, water, minerals, we make a mistake. But if we act with a sense of our shared responsibility, our relations with our neighbors, both at home and internationally, will benefit as well.

Another important question: what is consciousness, what is mind? In the Western world, for the past one or two centuries, the focus has been on science and technology, which deals mainly with matter. Today, nuclear physicists and neuroscientists say that while closely observing particles, the observer in the process of obtaining information has a certain effect on them. Who is the observer? The simple answer is a human being, a scientist. How is the process of obtaining information from the observer? With the help of the brain. We can call it many different things: mind, brain or consciousness, but there is a relationship between mind and brain, and between mind and matter. I think this is important. I think this relationship could be discussed in a dialogue between Eastern philosophy and Western science.

It so happened that today we, human beings, are very actively involved in the events of the outer world and neglect the inner world. we also need peace of mind to the same extent . There is no pill that you can swallow to make your mind quiet, you can't buy peace of mind in the market. When you come to the supermarket with even millions of dollars, you can buy anything, but if you ask to sell you peace of mind, they will laugh at you. And if you ask a doctor for real peace of mind, and not for ordinary sedative pills or injections, the doctor will not be able to help you.

Even today's sophisticated computers are unable to give you peace of mind. Peace must come from the mind itself. Every person strives for happiness and pleasure. But if we compare physical pleasure and physical pain with mental pleasure and pain, we see that the experiences associated with the mind are superior in intensity and impact to those associated with the body. Therefore, it makes sense to learn certain methods of strengthening inner peace, and for this it is important to know as much as possible about the mind. When we talk about the preservation of the environment, it is related to many other issues. The most important thing is to have a genuine sense of universal responsibility based on love, compassion and clear awareness .”

Translation by Yuri Puchko.

The article was published on July 6, 2015, the 80th birthday of the 14th Dalai Lama.



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