Bits and Bites of Everyday Life


From the heart:
Inspiration from the Dalai Lama
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” — The Dalai Lama

By Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair
True North Perspective

Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair is the author of The Neglected Garden and two French novels. Visit her website to learn more

It was a memorable, “once in a lifetime” opportunity! On the 28th of April, Don and I were among the 7000 people who congregated at the Ottawa Civic Centre to greet and listen to the Dalai Lama.

This was the only Canadian stop on the North American leg of his worldwide speaking tour to promote his most recent publication Ethics for a Whole World and bring his message of universal responsibility to all.
He was introduced by actor Richard Gere, a longtime Bhuddist activist. We were informed that the proceeds from ticket sales will go towards Canada’s Tibetan resettlement Project which will offer a thousand Tibetans the opportunity to immigrate to Canada in the next five years.
With his eternal good humour and contagious laughter, his Holiness lost no time in engaging his audience. He first reminded us that we are all born with two sets of emotions: the negative ones such as fear, anger, desperation… and the positive ones such as compassion, patience, mindfulness, generosity… We are also born with the capacity to control and transform negative feelings.
“The practice of patience guards us against losing our presence of mind. It enables us to remain undisturbed, even when the situation is really difficult. It gives us a certain inner peace, which allows us some self-control, so we can choose to respond to situations in an appropriate and compassionate manner, rather than being driven by our disturbing emotions.”
He noted that the 20th century offered new perspectives. Millions of people no longer wanted wars because of the suffering and destruction. There was also a new movement towards ecological responsibility. The Green Party was born. Thirdly, there was a wider, deeper consciousness that included a desire for reconciliation, equality and a growing desire to affect change in a non-violent way.
The 14th Dalai Lama reassured his audience that there is reason to be optimistic as we move forward in the 21st century. Governments must concentrate on reducing the gap between the rich and the poor. The military industry should be reduced so this money can be funneled towards better education. This would free up the military brainpower which could be better spent on environmental issues. Youth could then be encouraged to build a healthier world instead of a self-centered one, because a self-centered attitude only generates fear, anxiety and anger, which in turn breeds violence!
And research! Is it being applied fairly for the greatest benefit of all? For we are one! There are no demarcations! And we are social beings who crave the kind of trust that fosters friendship. Trust creates nurturing and the respect of others’ interests, individual rights and differing views. This may well be the century of dialogue and compassion because lack of it creates loneliness and distrust.
His advice when someone struggles with anger: “Distance yourself and look at the problem from a different angle. Change your mental position.”
“Anger or hatred is like a fisherman’s hook. It is very important for us to ensure that we are not caught by it.” — Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama believes we were meant to live in a rural setting, closer to nature, where there is more community contact. In large cities, the lack of human contact breeds loneliness.
His advice to young parents: Give your children maximum affection and care. Touch is a crucial factor and does wondrous good. When children reach the learning age, teach them about human qualities; instill good moral values.
His advice to governments: These are very uncertain times. Time to share the blessings! Share the wealth. He advised that censorship is immoral and that ethics must be valued. He explains that compassion is biological but often biased and limited. It must then be taken to the second level and become all-encompassing. And this only develops through training. He has faith in the future generation.
The Dalai Lama will continue to inspire and invite us to live a life of mindfulness and warm-heartedness!