Dalai Lama gives peace a chance in Toronto
With simple humour, his Holiness put on his visor, complaining that “the lights are too bright.” He was greeted by the Toronto Tibetan Community with performances.
His Toronto visit at the Rogers Centre in downtown Toronto was to discuss approaches to world peace.
His main theme was to promote human value and religious harmony. He set a tone of tolerance, “seeing good in every religion."
A crowd filled half the Rogers Center, approximately 20,000-25,000 people. Often, the Dalai Lama sounded much like a grandfather speaking to a grandchild about his past times and wisdom gained through experience.
He told stories in a sea of darkness, as all lights and eyes were on his Holiness as he sat in an oversized chair, often wandering off on tangents, indicating the breadth of experience the Nobel Peace Prize-winning monk has to draw upon. His translator sat to his left, highlighting the key points of the talk and, on one occasion, helping him to where he forgot he left off.
Thinking back to a linguistics course, whether it related to analyzing data for phonemic or allophonic variances, tones and intonation cross-linguistically across dialects, I was told time after time to step back and take a look at the larger picture. A professor could only repeat, “simplify, simplify, simplify...” This was what was needed to hypothesize linguistic rules.
In his Holiness’ talk, he simplified issues. Q&A from emails sent by young people became talking points for the Dalai Lama to offer approaches for world peace. His underlying message, was, again and again that, when it comes to creating a peaceful world, “the main responsibility lies in your shoulders.”
“The human approach to world peace....the basic human nature is to be more compassionate, so the meaning of human approach is having a more compassionate attitude and genuinely considering others as human brothers and sisters, and ANY problem we can then solve [with this mindset]. That’s the human way of approach," he said.
“When there is a conflict, there is also a response from our mind about how to resolve this. This is totally wrong. When we see these problems, we want to solve it. But peace is dependent on our own action. So whenever we face challenges, we must utilize the peaceful method, a peaceful resolution. In the spirit of dialogue [Monastic inter-religious dialogue], one side cannot win and the other side to be left in defeat. In ancient times, through war, it was one side defeated, one side won. But the destruction of your neighbor is a destruction of yourself. So, the only way is through dialogue. We must respect other people and listen.”
“To those who show a positive attitude, you develop concern for their well-being. To those who show a negative attitude, you cannot extend your compassion. Now if that limited compassion is taken as a seed, through the help of human intelligence, it is possible to develop our compassion.”
When it comes to money and greed, his Holiness admitted that we cannot live without money, but yet at the same time, said: “more money, more power, more greed,” creates a lot of fear inside people. Retelling a story of his conversation with a wealthy individual, “that person openly expressed to me that he was unhappy and said that it was difficult to communicate with other people.”
According to his Holiness, that gap in being able to actively communicate is destroyed by greed and a desire for more. “Later people will begin to see inner value and how to achieve a peace of mind. Peace of mind is very important.”