Friday, January 13, 2017

The Dalai Lama on What Matters Most

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The world we live in today may be full of chaos, suffering and never-ending conflicts, and global problems that are hard to solve. We live in this world as an effect or consequence of past life struggles and miseries carried out until the present. The "Law of Karma," which originated in Buddhist philosophy, applies this scenario of the rebirth or a cycle of violence, intolerance, war, and suffering that we see and experience in our time.

What could have happened in the past that humanity continues to suffer at the present time? Why does humanity experience the ill effect of wars brought by differences in beliefs? What shall society need to do to stop the cycle of suffering for the benefit of the next generation? These are some questions on the nature of humanity and the world and how Buddhism plays a significant role in this modern world.

Buddhism is not just a religion but is considered the science of mind. It is philosophical and tries to answer even the most challenging question about life; man's nature and reason for existence. The Dalai Lama, known as the spiritual leader of the Tibetan Buddhist, is a living Buddha of compassion. We can learn from his philosophy and insights about what truly matters in our existence in this world -- the role we need to play for a better life and world.

Noriyuki Ueda, a Japanese anthropologist, would want to seek an answer about the nature of humanity and the world. He had an opportunity to meet The Dalai Lama in Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh, India. He spent two days of quality discussion and interview with The Dalai Lama, which was an inspirational moment to have been granted the great privilege of sitting with a Holy man. It was even more astounding when the interview output was made into a book entitled: The Dalai Lama on What Matters Most.

Like Noriyuki Ueda, I am also delighted to learn more about Buddhist philosophy and The Dalai Lama's perspective on what truly matters. In 2013, Meeting with His Holiness The Dalai Lama in Dharamsala was a blessing. Meeting a compassionate man and a living Buddha was a memorable and meaningful moment in my life. It was only in his book that I first got to know who he is and what is his most significant contribution to this world.

What Can Buddhism Offer? Cultivating a compassionate nature. This is where we are attuned with a caring, loving spirit and an open heart to everyone regardless of race, creed, and social status. We strive to build an altruistic society despite our differences in faith, culture, and political beliefs. This is very notable in today's time when we reach out as brothers in times of difficulty. International aid in times of wars, conflicts, and natural calamities; we have seen how humanity is united beyond borders. We do not consider our personal, religious, or political differences when offering humanitarian assistance. We help everyone: Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and Christians. We are one, and we think of the survival of our dear brothers without hesitation and not through religious affiliations. An altruistic society is brought by a compassionate nature where one has an open heart to help and to serve.

Compassionate anger is another virtue worth cultivating. It may sound negative, but it is a positive approach toward peace and a detached world. Nowadays, people are becoming attached to materialism. People may desire more, becoming rich and achieving more power. However, attachment to these may lead to suffering. Wealthy people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet may be one of the world's most powerful financial assets. However, they use philanthropy to solve some of the world's problems, like poverty. They give massive amounts of their wealth to charities and even pledge to give entirely when they die.  Gaining wealth and giving it away for humanity's benefit is a commendable act of sacrifice and altruism. When many people started praying, these wealthy people gave away with open minds and big hearts.

Love is something we give without any condition; hence the term unconditional love to people and everyone who are good and evil. Showing love to the enemy is a good thing or a wrong move. It results from having an open heart and a greater attachment to peace of mind. In times of trouble, when we can no longer ask for help from the people who used to be closer to us, it may be an enemy who will answer our prayers. Love really works mysteriously. Those who were persecuted, abandoned, and considered an enemy are most likely grateful for the turnaround of events. 

There's always a blessing in disguise, even with our worst enemies. Jesus would not have been the center of Christianity without the role played by Judas, his fallen disciple, and Pontious Pilate, who ordered his death. Also, The Dalai Lama is grateful for the pains and sufferings he experienced since he became more robust and even more powerful and a global inspiration. Love is unconditional; we give it to all, even those we think don't deserve it.

'Enlightened Buddhism For A Modern World' is a calling to humanity. It's not about religion, but a philosophy that may be universal -- applicable to all. Back in 2013, Land of The Tibetans in Dharamsala: Closer to Heaven was my first encounter with the Buddhist people who may have achieved some enlightenment or perhaps on the path of Bodhisattva. I am a Christian, but I aspire for some enlightenment through the teachings of Buddhism. The virtue of peace, love, and compassion is very relevant in today's world, and these are Buddha's core teachings for humanity. Being enlightened is a spiritual gift; we learn to share it with others. What truly matters is our intention. We can achieve global peace and peace of mind, soul, and spirit with an open heart.

© 2017 Del Cusay