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MESSAGES: ON FINDING MEANINGFULNESS IN YOUR LIFE

                                                                                            


TO LOVE IS TO COEXIST:
FINDING THE COMMON GROUND IN 
THE QUEST FOR WORLD PEACE AND
RELIGIOUS COEXISTENCE


THE LAW OF GOD AS GIVEN BY JEHOVAH - EXODUS 20:3-17
I    Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
II   Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, or serve them; for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
III  Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
IV  Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.  Six days shalt thou labour, and do all they work; but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
V   Honour thy father and thy mother; that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
VI   Thou shalt not kill.
VII  Thou shalt not commit adultery.
VIII Thou shalt not steal.
IX   Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
X    Thou shalt not covet they neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.
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MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS
POPE FRANCIS
FOR THE CELEBRATION OF THE 
WORLD DAY OF PEACE 

1 JANUARY 2015

NO LONGER SLAVES, BUT BROTHERS AND SISTERS

http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/peace/documents/papa-francesco_20141208_messaggio-xlviii-giornata-mondiale-pace-2015.html

 

1. At the beginning of this New Year, which we welcome as God’s gracious gift to all humanity, I offer heartfelt wishes of peace to every man and woman, to all the world’s peoples and nations, to heads of state and government, and to religious leaders. In doing so, I pray for an end to wars, conflicts and the great suffering caused by human agency, by epidemics past and present, and by the devastation wrought by natural disasters. I pray especially that, on the basis of our common calling to cooperate with God and all people of good will for the advancement of harmony and peace in the world, we may resist the temptation to act in a manner unworthy of our humanity.

In my Message for Peace last year, I spoke of “the desire for a full life… which includes a longing for fraternity which draws us to fellowship with others and enables us to see them not as enemies or rivals, but as brothers and sisters to be accepted and embraced”.[1] Since we are by nature relational beings, meant to find fulfilment through interpersonal relationships inspired by justice and love, it is fundamental for our human development that our dignity, freedom and autonomy be acknowledged and respected. Tragically, the growing scourge of man’s exploitation by man gravely damages the life of communion and our calling to forge interpersonal relations marked by respect, justice and love. This abominable phenomenon, which leads to contempt for the fundamental rights of others and to the suppression of their freedom and dignity, takes many forms. I would like briefly to consider these, so that, in the light of God’s word, we can consider all men and women “no longer slaves, but brothers and sisters”...

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VIEWS AND QUOTES OF HIS HOLINESS THE 14TH DALAI LAMA OF TIBET EXCERPTED FROM VARIOUS ARTICLES AND WEB SITES:

http://www.dalailama.com/news/archive/2015/01
http://tibethouse.us/index.php?option=com_content&id=3&Itemid=5

" FOR AS LONG AS SPACE ENDURES AND FOR AS LONG AS HUMAN BEINGS REMAIN, UNTIL THEN MAY I TOO ABIDE TO DISPEL THE MISERY OF THE WORLD:    BY SHANTIDEVA"


"...I DESCRIBE THE SITUATION IN TIBET AS SOMETHING LIKE THIS: ONE ANCIENT NATION, WITH A UNIQUE CULTURAL HERITAGE, IS NOW PASSING THROUGH SOMETHING LIKE A DEATH SENTENCE: A VERY CRITICAL, A VERY SERIOUS SITUATION...I WANT TO THANK THOSE SUPPORTERS WHO FINANCIALLY OR IN SOME OTHER WAY, ARE HELPING TIBET HOUSE AND ASK YOU TO PLEASE CONTINUE..."

ARTICLE EXCERPT:  EXPLAINING A HUMAN APPROACH TO WORLD PEACE AT PRESIDENCY UNIVERSITY - 
JANUARY 14, 2015



"...He mentioned that as he was on his way to the University this morning he was thinking about what he might say about ‘A Human Approach to World Peace’. It struck him that thousands of years ago human beings must have had various ways of solving problems and conflicts among themselves. Then they developed weapons, beginning perhaps with knives and arrows. This trend has culminated today in weapons of immense destructive potential. They were developed by scientists with the finest brains and the highest education, which, while it may not have been their intention, is focussed on refining the means to kill. 

“We must change this inclination to resort to the use of force, employing weapons, to solve problems. Differences are bound to arise between us, but we must find ways of resolving that are peaceful and not destructive. Even on an individual level from time to time we encounter conflicts with others, but we have to try to find ways of resolving them through dialogue. In the same way, we need to find ways of solving problems on family, community, national and global levels by talking them through. By implementing ahimsa, non-violence, we have the opportunity to avoid violence and develop a more human approach to resolving conflicts peacefully...”


ARTICLE EXCERPT: HIS HOLINESS THE DALAI LAMA CALLS ON THE MISSIONARIES OF CHARITY  - JANUARY 13, 2015

"...His Holiness next drove to the headquarters of the Missionaries of Charity where he was received at the Mother House by the Superior General of the Order, Sister Mary Prema Pierick. He greeted well-wishers as he went in. Inside the Mother House, which today is a place of pilgrimage dedicated to the memory of Mother Teresa, some hundred sisters and guests awaited him, gathered around the Mother's tomb. The sisters sang hymns of praise as His Holiness and Sister Mary Prema paid their respects before an image of Mother Teresa.

In her introductory address the Superior General recalled His Holiness's previous visit in September 2005 and remarked: 

“What a joy it is to have His Holiness amongst us once more in the Mother House.”

She said that what the world needs more than ever is peace and quoted Mother Teresa as saying: 

“Peace begins with a smile.” 

In his welcoming remarks The Archbishop of Kolkata mentioned how providential was His Holiness’s visit to the Missionaries of Charity, calling it a true gift for Christmas and the New Year. 

“And yet peace is not something we celebrate only because of the season. His Holiness is a perpetual apostle of peace." 

He went on to say that in a world torn by war owing to people's greed and mistrust, simply to see His Holiness’s smiling face is to know that peace is possible. He thanked His Holiness “for bringing your peace to us.”

His Holiness briefly addressed the gathering:

"Sisters and brothers, I am happy to be here once again, this time not at your invitation, but of my own accord.” 


His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the Missionaries of Charity's Mother House in Kolkata, West Bengal, India on January 12, 2015. Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
Everyone present expressed pleasure at his spontaneous visit with laughter and applause. His Holiness spoke admiringly of the way the Sisters serve humanity, particularly by caring for the poorest of the poor. He also recalled the one brief occasion on which he met Mother Teresa, describing her as an exemplary person, who revealed to others the true practice of love through her charitable activities. He said that although she is no longer physically among us, her spirit lives on as does the spirit of Jesus Christ and Buddha Shakyamuni. His Holiness urged the gathering to continue serving people, especially the poor and needy in that spirit. He asked all those present to consider that they were working for the entire family of 7 billion human beings with the aim of making this 21st century an era of peace..."








ARTICLE EXCERPT:   RECIPIENT OF THE SANTOKBAA AWARD - JANUARY 2, 2015

"...He outlined his commitments to promoting human values and inter-religious harmony, to encouraging a sense of the oneness of humanity and our need to think in terms of global responsibility...He also acknowledged that as a Tibetan he feels driven to preserve the culture of peace, compassion and non-violence that Tibet derived from India...

He stressed that the idea that there is only one faith and one truth may hold good for the individual, but in terms of the community, it is out of date.  The reality is that there are several faiths and several truths.  What is required is mutual respect...

His Holiness was asked how he would deal with putting a stop to the trade in arms and drugs.  He said:
...While we pray for peace, the lucrative arms trade is a wrong line of business.  Similarly, because the functioning of the human brain is so marvelous, anything like intoxicating drugs, that impair its function is harmful...

We should also explore ways to limit the use of pesticides and artificial fertilizers, seeking more organic farming methods in the interest of health...

He referred to his three commitments:
as a human being to the promotion of human values in the interest of general happiness;
as a Buddhist monk to encouraging harmony and mutual respect among religious traditions, which all convey a common message of love, compassion,
tolerance, contentment and self-discipline.
And finally, as a Tibetan, he said he's interested to preserve the knowledge and culture Tibetans received from the Nalanda tradition in the 7th and 8th centuries.  It involves knowledge of the mind that is rich and deep, and while most accurately expressed in the Tibetan language, remains useful and relevant today...

He reiterated that all the major religious traditions have the potential to help humanity through their teachings...

Asked about ethics in business, he said that whether any human activity is ethical or not depends on the motivation.  If we are driven by a concern for the well-being of other people, our actions will be ethical.  In addition to a positive motivation, we need wisdom to be able to assess the situation..."






ARTICLE EXCERPT: ONE DAY IN PUNE - DECEMBER 31, 2014

"At a recent World hindu Congress in New Delhi I mentioned that prayer and worship by themselves are not enough...
I regularly encourage Buddhists I meet to be 20th century Buddhists, which means- study, develop understanding...

He suggested that in addition to this, parachial thinking only thinking of your own state, is out of date.  Instead we have to think of the whole world, the whole of humanity.  Our economies are interdependent, but, equally important, as social animals we naturally depend on others...

Another unique consideration about India His Holiness said, is that it is the one country where all the world's religions exist and live together in harmony.  Indigenous spiritual traditions thrive alongside those that have come from elsewhere...He said that wherever he speaks in different parts of the world, he cites the Indian example that different religions can live together...

In this context, 1 billion of the world's population of 7 billion claim to have no faith, yet are still part of humanity.  There has to be a way to reach out to them.  At a meeting of Nobel peace laureates in Hiroshima some years ago, there was a lot of talk about praying for peace.  When it came to His Holiness's turn he said if world peace depended on prayer it shoud already have been achieved.  What is required is that we take action  It is human beings who crate violence, so human being will have to put a stop to it.  His Holiness pointed out that the proper demarcation between what is and isn't violence is not so much the physical action as the motivation behind it.  World peace can only be built on the basis of inner peace...

You must try to combine ancient Indian values with modern education, His Holiness advised...

Taking questions from the audience, His Holiness answered how we can connect with each other in the modern world by pointing out that children are simply open to each other.  We need to find ways to limit the self-centredness, aggression and narrow-mindedness that set in as they grown older.  Asked how to develop inner peace through meditation he clarified that there are two types of meditation, shamatha, or single-pointed concentration and vipasyana, or insight.  He said he finds the latter, which involves analytical meditation, to be much more powerful and effective...

Dear brothers and sisters, this is how I always begin.  It has become quite clear that many of the problems we face are manmade and come about because we focus too much on secondary differences between us, such a faith, nationality, status, caste and so forth  The remedy is to remember that we are all the same as human beings...As human being like this we have a right to be happy, so it is wrong to divide them into them and us...

We are social animals: we need friends.  Friendship is based on trust and the basis of trust is concern for others' well-being.  Self-centredness undermines trust and distrust leads to fear, frustration and anger  If I only think of myself, I'm full of stress and anxiety...

When I look out into an audience I see other human beings.  People like me with potential for good and bad.  I have a potential for irritation, but if I give into it, my peace of mind is lost.  To tackle disturbing emotions like this we need to understand the way our mind and emotions work...

His Holiness declared that compared to the highly developed insights of ancient Indian psychology, modern psychology is just starting out.  He said we all want to live a happy life, but we tend to seek it in sensory experience.  We see the source of happiness as being in material things, when what we really need is peace of mind...

Deepen your knowledge, but be citizens of the world..."



ARTICLE EXCERPT: Robert A F. Thurman, Newark Peace Education Summit [May, 2011], introducing His Holiness the Dalai Lama:

"...His Holiness is consistently ranked by international polls among the top ten most popular leaders in the world, even though he has lived in exile for over fifty years.  His popularity may be due to the fact that, through he is a humble man without a country, he speaks the truth to the armed power of most world leaders that violence only begets violence.  Force can never bring true peace, true peace is founded on justice and compassion, outer peace can only come from inner peace, inner peace can only come through understanding, and understanding can arise only from realistic, spiritual, and ethical education..."




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BOOK EXCERPT: Robert Thurman, Why the Dalai Lama Matters 72 - 75 (2008).

"...In 1985 in Bodh Gaya, the city in India famous for being the place where the Buddha attained enlightenment, I witnessed the Dalai Lama speaking to more than a hundred thousand Tibetans from Tibet, during a break from the Kalachakra initiation and teaching he was giving to them and a hundred thousand more Tibetans from exile communities and from ethnically Tibetan Indian Himalayan areas, such as Ladakh, Sikkim, and Arunachal.  He spoke to them of his deep compassion for them and the sufferings they had gone through, losing family members, lands, and property, and being tortured in prisons and labor camps. He himself wept as he recited the litany of their ordeals.

     And then he launched into the Dharma, specifically the great Indian philosopher Shantideva's superb teaching on the conquest of anger and hatred; on how the enemy is our greatest teacher, giving us the supreme teaching on tolerance by harming us and so giving us the chance to practice it under duress and pain; on how the greatest challenge is not to hate that enemy no matter how horrible the injuries they have dealt us.  And then he connected that with the Tibetan struggle for freedom, their fight to regain their land and self-respect.  He insisted that this struggle with their own hatred and wish for revenge against their enemy ---this conquest of their inner demon of violence and anger ---was the true liberation struggle.  This would also have the practical effect of bringing the world to their side.  This heroic self-conquest would make them victorious, not only in the long run by the fact that eventually they would have their freedom again, but also in the short run, that no matter how much suffering their oppressors inflicted upon them, they would not add to it by tormenting themselves with rage, anger, and hatred that would destroy their minds, their health, the deep spirituality of their bodhisattva vow, and their spirit of enlightenment.

     He offered them such a powerful teaching that it had most of them in tears.  They saw that he was not just sitting back and giving them some routine teachings, and that, though he himself had not been physically in Tibet with them undergoing the thirty years of agony they had suffered, he was with them with his powerful compassionate awareness, that he had felt the blows and the torments.  They also understood the teaching, knowing full well that anger against anyone, inner hatred, even justified, is a sure destroyer of one's own internal happiness and peace of mind.  I was deeply moved that these people ---mostly simple farmers and nomads who were not highly educated in spiritual practices ---so well understood this most exalted teaching, a message needed by all of humanity so caught up in violence and rage.  These people still could aspire to practice it and could conceive of a kind of heroic resistance to oppression that involved overcoming one's own inner oppressors, such as anger and hatred.

     This is the great leadership the Dalai Lama has given his people.  His accomplishment cannot be overestimated; he has inspired a tough-minded, courageous, intelligent, and fierce people to resist genocidal oppression by developing their internal fortitude and maintaining non-violence as their campaign.  He has dissuaded them from turning to violence and terrorism as almost any other people in the world would have and as many others have done in similar circumstances.  In fact, their achievement was not perfect:  Tibetan warriors did fight for over a decade as guerrillas (with a low level of support from CIA until betrayed by Henry Kissinger and President Richard Nixon), against the Dalai Lama's instructions, but admittedly with his admiration for their bravery.  Occasionally there are riots here and there, and individual Chinese are sometimes beaten or killed during agitations that sporadically occur.  But overall, in spite of massive oppression, Tibetans have maintained the nonviolence the Dalai Lama has asked of them. The greatness of this achievement cannot be overstated.

     Nowadays the world is spinning out of control in a "war on terror," which is endless in principle because violence simply breeds more counter-violence.  Then to our amazement, we encounter a people who eschew terrorism and violence from the beginning, before they have gotten anything external out of it.  While they are still under the gun of oppression, they make peacefulness and gentleness their method as well as their goal, and we sit back blinking uncomprehendingly and say, "What have they accomplished?"  As if the violence we deplore, we are vowed to fight against, can only be met with more violence, even though we see it does not work and only produces more violence.  And yet we despise the real method, which does work, which is for all involved to free themselves from inner as well as outer violence, and thus ultimately disarm their enemies..."

     
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BOOK EXCERPT: Geshe Michael Roach and Lama Christie McNally, The Diamond Cutter 83 (2009).
THE FINE QUALITIES OF THOSE ON THE PATH OF COMPASSION:

String Of Precious Jewels

[ by the Indian Master Nagarjuna]


I’ll tell you briefly the fine qualities

Of those on the path of compassion:

Giving, and ethics, patience, and effort,

Concentrating, wisdom, compassion and such.


Giving is giving away what you have,

and ethics is doing good to others.

Patience is giving up feelings of anger,

And effort is joy that increases  all  good.


Concentration’s one-pointed, free of bad thoughts,

And wisdom decides what truth really is.

Compassion’s a kind of high intelligence

Mixed deep with a love  for all living kind.


Giving brings wealth, a good world comes from ethics;

Patience brings beauty, eminence comes from effort.

Concentration brings peace, and from wisdom comes freedom;

Compassion achieves everything we all wish for.


A person who takes all seven of these

and perfects them together will reach

That place of inconceivable knowledge,

No less than the world’s protector.

























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