His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama visited UCSD yesterday and Scripps Institution of Oceanography today. I was honored to serve as the student representative of SIO at the lunch and panel discussion in the Paine Forum. I have not studied his teachings or read his books, but I have listened to some of his lectures. Nonetheless, some of his messages are surprising (i.e., refreshing), and I had to pinch myself to remember that he is a religious leader.
Below I’ve listed some personal ‘take-homes’ from our UCSD sessions with His Holiness yesterday and today regarding climate, cognitive science & compassion:
- Skepticism is necessary because it causes us to question, investigate & develop. Science is the embodiment of both skepticism and progress.
- If one’s teachings conflict with science, perhaps one should change his/her teachings.
- Empathy may be natural and neurological, but we empathize most when we consciously pay attention to others.
- The main barriers to neurological compassion is our ‘skin’ and philosophical compassion is our individuality or ‘soul.
- Nothing & no one is independent; every action we take affects others. It is our moral obligation to ensure our actions don’t cause harm to others.
- Anger stems from natural selfishness and the concept of individuality; in contrast, compassion develops from training & and the concept of interdependence. Selfishness is spontaneous while compassion requires study and practice.
- Hidden secrets and lies create distrust and withdrawal. Honesty and truth create openness, trust and friendship. Even our pets know that.
- Totalitarian/authoritarian people & regimes restrict & censor information in order to control & brainwash. Free societies embrace truth, honesty, and openness.
- The cure for conflict is study. The cure for anger is study. The source of compassion is study. Education is the cure.
Maybe I should go back to school; oh, right…