5 Big Ideas from the Dalai Lama's Visit


The Dalai Lama came and visited my school-- it was amazing! He is so wise and honestly really adorable. So here are 5 key points he brought up in the talk that were some of the highlights for me.



Religion and virtue are not mutually exclusive. The Dalai Lama said that not everyone in this world is interested in religion-- but that doesn't mean they don't have the same capacity for love, forgiveness, redemption, etc. When we spread a message of bettering humanity, it should not make betterment specifically tied to religion. Doing so only creates deeper fissures between people. It implies that people who have religion are all good and that people without it aren't-- neither of which are true. To better mankind, you have to drop the faith message and just fully back a message of compassion without all the religious strings attached to it. All religions at their core share some deep human values: compassion, respect, forgiveness, inner calm. He believes that faith is a secondary difference and that humanity shouldn't limit themselves or each other on those grounds.


Faith should be felt in the heart and soul. Everyone can learn from other religions and walks of life. You can agree with many ideas from many backgrounds. But at the end of the day, the Dalai Lama said, you shouldn't abandon the religion you grew up with, because on your death bed it is that religion that you will come back to. You can intellectually agree with other religions and even carry some of their truths in your heart, but even then, he thinks, it is the religion you grew up with that will carry you through your final days and return to in the darkest moments. He also said though, that faith shouldn't be blind. He doesn't believe you should take what someone says as law because they are a religious leader, but because you believe it to be true based on experience and observation about the world. Only then do you really believe in it-- otherwise it's just obedience.


The only way we can solve our problems is to study reality. Only when we understand reality and remove ourselves from secondary differences and encumbrances can we see the solutions. The Dalai Lama said that we are divided by too many secondary differences like race, religion, politics, that should matter much less than we act like they do. We must learn to find inner calm and clarity and only then can we truly see reality for what it is, and when we do that, then we can finally put the pieces together to fix our problems.


The true test of compassion comes from extending it not only to friends and family, not only to strangers, but to your enemies. You are not done working on becoming compassionate until you can extend your compassion to those whom you hold in ill-regard. 


Never stop bettering yourself.
Find optimism in the darkest times. Find strength, inner calm, clarity. Never give up. You are never done improving. You will never stop being challenged. Learn to step away from the secondary differences and see what truly matters. These things will take constant work and you will never be done working towards them.


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