Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - This morning His Holiness the Dalai Lama met a group of peace campaigners mostly from Europe. Their leader, Sofia Stril-Rever from France, declared that their hearts were filled with joy to meet him again. She told him that they were inspired by the example he has set in service of humanity. She reported that the group took part in observing the UN endorsed Day of Conscience on 5th April. This occasion is dedicated to establishing fundamental freedoms and human rights for all people without distinction.
Stril-Rever asked His Holiness how good conscience and love can contribute to lasting peace in the world and he responded:
“As human beings we all receive our mother’s love as soon as we are born. As young children we unhesitatingly play with other children without caring where they are from or what they or their family believe. This kind of openness is our basic human nature.
“As adults, too many of us see other people in terms of ‘us’ and ‘them’, basing our discrimination on secondary political or religious differences between us. If we are to contribute to peace among us, we must find ways to acknowledge that fundamentally, as human beings, we are all the same. We share a common experience. We are born the same way and ultimately, we all die.
“Focussing on differences of nationality or faith just becomes an excuse to kill each other. It’s unthinkable. Even animals live together more peaceably. If things are to change, we 8 billion human beings must learn to live together on this planet. We must recognise our common humanity. That’s why, whenever I meet someone new, I always see them as another human being like me. And because of this I recognise that we all belong to one human family.”
In answering questions about the climate crisis, His Holiness remarked that the changes taking place seem to be beyond our ability to control. He reiterated that as human beings we are all the same and we must learn not only to live together but also to work together in our common interest.
“While we still have time,” he added, “it would be sensible to cultivate a sense of brotherhood and sisterhood and help each other. We need to find a way to prolong the basic human love our mother shows us at birth and extend it to others for the rest of our lives.”
Asked how religion can influence the future of the world, His Holiness replied:
“The essence of religion is warm-heartedness. This is what all religions teach, whatever philosophical stance they adopt. Warm-heartedness is the essence: cultivating this is what will help.”