On today's great turmoil

Many of us living at this particular time feel hopeless. The world really does seem to be falling apart. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama assures us our feelings are real. He said, “We have talked a lot about the crisis of contemporary civilisation, the great turmoil, and the problems we are encountering.

What do these arise from? They arise from the lack of loving kindness and compassion. If we focus on this, the benefits of compassion are obvious. Of course, the threat of nuclear weapons is extremely dangerous, but in order to stop this threat, ultimately the solution is compassion, realising that other people are our human brothers and sisters.”

When the testimonies of Tibetan refugees, who had survived torture and brutality in Chinese prisons, was taken in Northern India by film maker and writer Rebecca McClen Novick, she discovered, “Their suffering was undeniable, and yet neither were they vengeful nor were their spirits broken.

They remained radiant and resilient, often expressing compassion for their oppressors.”Their faith in Buddhism had gotten them through ordeals beyond imagining.The living Buddha explains why. He said, “In Tibetan, the word for Buddhist means insider – someone who looks not to the world but to themselves for the source of peace and happiness. The purpose of Buddhism is to relieve suffering; it begins with the premise that all suffering, however real it may seem, is the product of out own minds. Buddhism offers a remedy for every spiritual ailment.

In fact, the language of medicine is often used in Buddhist scriptures as a metaphor for the spiritual journey: The spiritual mentor is the doctor, the practitioner is the patient, the negative mental and emotional states are the illnesses, and the antidotes to those conditions are the teachings.”So, how is the suffering caused by today’s great turmoil going to be stopped? According to our beloved Kundun (the Presence of the Buddha), we must work together with those who have a consciousness of compassion. Out intentions must be to help all beings, not only the victims but the perpetrators as well.

 Our compassion must be developed through studying the scriptures of our own faith and by interpreting those sacred words by going within and letting the meaning come to us in stillness.We must be self-led in putting those teachings into practice. His Holiness has said that the Dharma can be practised without conflict by Christians, Muslims, Jews and Hindus.

“If we want to affect others,” he expressed, “We often think we’ll have the greatest effect by working with or changing organisations. But there is no organisation that is not composed of individuals. Apart from individuals, there are no organisations.

So, it is best to focus on the individuals in the organisation, especially those who bear the most responsibility for it, and try to encourage in them a greater sense of awareness and compassion. If we can bring about a greater awareness of the benefits of compassion for society as a whole, this will be critical as a matter of survival.”

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