(July 8, 2002): Tibetan Buddhism

Read: Excerpts from An Open Heart (Vreeland, Dalai Lama; 65-79).

Guest Speaker next week: 6 pm—please try to be here on time.

Advice: Take as many notes as you can during class, in preparation for your next week’s written assignment!

By July 15, write (1-100 pages): A comparison of Tibetan Buddhism, as it emerges from your readings, guest lecture, class discussions, to similar aspects of any other religion of your choice. For your paper, here are a few items to consider from your text:

65/ Upon being recognized as the reincarnation of the thirteenth Dalai Lama at the age of two . . .

67/ The Buddha then propounded the four Noble Truths: the truth of suffering, its origin, the possibility of its cessation, and the path leading to that cessation.

70/ If we have positive mental attitude, then even when surrounded by hostility, we shall not lack inner peace.

70/ I think that it is wrong to expect that our problems can be solved by money.

71/ If we looked down at the world from space, we would not see any demarcations of national boundaries. We would simply see one small planet, just one. Once we draw a line in the sand, we develop the feeling of "us" and "them." [instructor’s comment: that is, nationalism is a dangerous disease]

72/ When we face problems or disagreements today, we have to arrive at solutions through dialogue. . . . One-sided victory is no longer relevant. We must work to resolve conflicts in a spirit of reconciliation and always keep in mind the interests of others.

73/ We must also care for our environment. This is our home, our only home! . . . I think our blue planet is very beautiful and dear to us. If we destroy it or if some terrible damage occurs because of our negligence, where would we go?

73/ Another problem we face today is the gap between rich and poor. . . . On the global level as well, we see rich nations and poor ones. . . . It is not only morally wrong, but practically it is a source of unrest and trouble that will eventually find its way to our door.

74/ One of my elder brothers, who is no longer alive, would tell me of his experiences living in America. He lived a humble life and told me of the troubles, the fears, the killings, theft, and rape that people endured. These are, I think, the result of economic inequality in society. It is only natural that difficulties arise if we must fight day by day in order to survive while another human being, equal to us, is effortlessly living a luxurious life. This is an unhealthy situation; as a result, even the wealthy—the billionaires and millionaires—remain in constant anxiety.

77/ Imagine that your neighbor hates you and is always creating problems for you. If you lose your temper and develop hatred toward him, your digestion is harmed, your sound sleep goes . . . If, in spite of his injustices, your remain calm, happy, and peaceful, your health remains strong, you continue to be joyful, and more friends come visit you. Your life becomes more successful. This really brings about worry in your neighbor’s mind.

Source:  Dalai Lama.  An Open Heart.

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