Ethics is foundation of every religion

Government workers who take bribes, doctors who perform illegal procedures, and religious leaders who commit the very sins they urge us not to commit — we need to take a moral inventory of ourselves, perhaps.

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama says, “I question the popular assumption that religion and ethics have no place in politics and that religious persons should seclude themselves as hermits. Such a view of religion is too one-sided; it lacks a proper perspective on the individual’s relation to society and the role of religion in our lives. Ethics is as crucial to a politician as it is to a religious practitioner. Dangerous consequences will follow when politicians and rulers forget moral principles. Whether we believe in God or karma, ethics is the foundation of every religion.”

Some unethical behaviour is easily observed: children growing up in homes where money is worshiped, parents left abandoned in their old age, as well as professionals who lie and cheat. But immoral behaviour hidden from our eyes still erodes society.
The embodiment of compassion explains, “Such human qualities as morality, compassion, decency, wisdom, and so forth have been the foundations of all civilisations. These qualities must be cultivated and sustained through systematic moral education in a conducive social environment so that a more humane world may emerge.

The qualities required to create such a world must be inculcated right from the beginning, from childhood. We cannot wait for the next generation to make this change; the present generation must attempt a renewal of basic human values.”
Some people are doing this; others have done it for years. Perhaps now we should act with a zealot’s determination. The revered lama teaches, “If there is any hope, it is in the future generations, but not unless we institute major change on a worldwide scale in our present educational system. We need a revolution in our commitment to and practice of universal humanitarian values. It is not enough to make noisy calls to halt moral degeneration; we must do something about it.”

A revolution is a process that begins with perception. Old notions die and we take radical action. In this case we start to practice human values consistently. We transmute our selfish desires to acts that benefit others. Love, right action, peace, non-violence, truth….  If we embody these qualities, we can share them with others freely and willingly. We might start to value people places and things in the light of how they help others. If a shop owner, for example, does not treat workers fairly and pays them a pittance, do we really want his karma, his wrong action? No. We shop elsewhere.

His Holiness says, “Since present-day governments do not shoulder such ‘religious’ responsibilities, humanitarian and religious leaders must strengthen the existing civic, social, cultural, educational, and religious organisations to revive human and spiritual values. Where necessary, we must create new values. Where necessary, we must create new organisations to achieve these goals. Only in so doing can we hope to create a more stable basis for world peace.”

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