NEW: Dalai Lama Speaks of Peace, Science + More in Providence
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Brown University President Christina H. Paxson gave a brief dedication to Stephen A. Ogden Jr. '60, a Brown student devoted to the study of international relations who died in 1963 after sustaining major injuries in a car accident. Afterwards, she introduced the Dalai Lama and welcomed him to the stage. His Holiness set the tone before speaking by flipping a Brown University baseball cap onto his head with a smile, removing it to crack a joke about his baldness, and putting it back on.
"We are the same."
The Dalai Lama began the peace-themed lecture by saying that although he is meeting the attendees for the first time, he always feels a sense of knowing people he is just meeting. "Mentally, physically, spiritually, we are the same. Everyone wants a happy life. No one loves suffering. No one loves problems," he said. He elaborated on the need for peace by reasoning that violence brings fear, increasing stress and frustration. Therefore, violence only creates more violence. It cannot be justified, he said, and we must think seriously about how to build a more peaceful world wherein our interests are heavily interdependent. "We are part of humanity. Their problem is my problem. Their happiness is my happiness."
The challenge to youth
The conversation then turned to the youth, those of whom in attendance the Dalai Lama addressed by asking for a show of hands for those under the ages of 30, 20, 15, and 13. His Holiness deemed the youth "the generation of the 21st century" and spoke to a hope that it would be a century of dialogue and compassion. He challenged them to create a better world through peaceful movement and to take responsibility for the environment, a cause close to his heart.
Science and spirituality
The Tibetan leader spent the rest of the lecture expressing his happiness about the fact that science and spirituality are no longer separate, and how he hopes that this trend will only continue in the future. "Scientists are taking interest in inner values and how to deal with emotions. This is a big-time change," he said. People are beginning to feel the limitations of material value and are instead turning to more holistic interests, making us wiser, more tolerant, and more respectful of others' views on controversial issues such as religion.
After taking a few questions from university students, a high school student, and a Brown faculty member, the Dalai Lama cracked a few more jokes, spoke briefly on the importance of hope in the human heart, and left the stage with a suggestion. If the attendees found themselves interested in the ideas he presented today, "Think! Think more, investigate, and share with others."
The lecture will air on demand at 9pm tonight here.
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