On the west lawn of the US Capitol Hill, this Saturday, people celebrated something very unique: Peace. With the spiritual leader Dalai Lama leading the dialogue, it turned out to be one of the most inspiring talks that I have heard in a long time. His key message was this: We can achieve world peace through inner peace, and that compassion and love for one another are not only good but also essential for our own personal success. The talk was part of the Kalachakra celebrations in the nation’s capital.
Drawing on his own experiences in exile and early childhood, the Dalai Lama kept the audience spell-bound with his insightful words of wisdom.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu sent in his recorded message saying: “The Dalia Lama empowers you to celebrate peace. He also teaches us that each one of us can create peace, one person at a time. When this happens, there is a ripple effect. And when millions and millions of us take this step, no power in the world can ignore it”.
Re-affirming the fact that we are all human beings and that commonality should bind us together, he asked us to reflect more on our actions; and joking with the young ladies present in the audience, he said: “ Those of you who wear cosmetics, please also focus on “inner beauty”, which is far more important than external beauty”. He also pointed out that all religions focus on peace and harmony. Islam, Christianity, and Buddhism and any other religion focus on these values.
“When it is inner-beauty, there is happiness, and the relationship with a person lasts, if not; there may be companionship for some time, but eventually it will fall apart”, he said. Thus, achieving world peace through inner peace.
“My second commitment as a human being is to achieve harmony. I firmly believe that all humans have the same potential to achieve peace. We are all gifted equally”.
The Dalai Lama also praised the United States for its democratic values, freedom, and individual liberty. “Your forefathers promoted freedom, democracy, and rule of law. Now, we are bearing the fruit of that, and I am able to speak with you freely here”. He also urged people to talk “heart to heart” without any barriers.
“Concern for others is the key. Trust brings friendship. A genuine smile that conveys this love and affection can transform our relationships. Too much of a self-centered attitude does not help. We are social animals and we must remember that our success and happiness depend on others. I have been speaking with several “mind scientists”, who point out that anger kills a man, and those who are compassionate end up not only living more fully but also more happily”, he added.
He pointed out to the global issues facing us: Global warming, Conflicts, and financial crisis and said that the 20th century was one of violence and it is time we make this 21st century one of dialogue. In the remainder of his speech, which kept the audience spell-bound, despite the sweltering heat, he shared tips on maintaining a calm mind, living objectively without fear, and as one with everyone around us.
I must admit, I went in a skeptic, and came out a believer.