His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Necessity of Compassion for the Survival of Humanity

On December 9, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was invited to take part in a conversation about the Necessity of Compassion for the Survival of Humanity. Here are some extracts from his lecture.

In recent years, more and more people have been paying attention to what it means to find peace of mind. Prior to this, there hadn’t been much said about the importance of mental peace. However, despite material and technological developments, we still face a lot of problems. If we pay more attention to ways to develop peace of mind our actions will be more conducive to peace. No one want to face trouble, but we have to consider that many of the problems human beings create for themselves have their source in our agitated and angry minds.
Scientists have observed that we are showered with affection from the moment we are born. Our lives depend on the community in which we live, so compassion and consideration for others is a biological necessity.

Warm-heartedness is a key factor in everyone’s happiness. That’s why all religious traditions convey a message of compassion. If you believe in God, you can believe we’re all children of one compassionate father and, accordingly, should be compassionate towards each other. Followers of non-theistic traditions consider that since we live life after life, it’s better to conduct ourselves with compassion.

I speak often about the value of compassion, but if I were also to get angry whenever things don’t go well, it would be hypocritical. Setting a good example is a proper way to serve others.
At a deeper level, we are concerned with two truths — conventional and ultimate truth. Ultimate truth is directly opposed to ignorance. Altruism, which is a reflection of conventional truth, reduces our self-centred attitudes. My own practice is rooted in these two truths. There are certain things we have learned from scientists and some things they have learned from us. The human capacity for analysis is very precious and the deeper understanding of reality it leads to is precious too.
All religious traditions emphasize the importance of loving-kindness. It’s something all sentient beings need. Therefore, warm-heartedness and loving-kindness are what we need to promote. I want to thank all my friends here, my spiritual brothers and sisters, for the work they are doing. I appreciate it. And until my death, I’m determined to make whatever contribution I can to making this a better world.