His Holiness shares his views on science and compassion.

His Holiness is jovial and loves to laugh, but is very serious about his messages.

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…


*If you want to learn more about Levi, you can follow his blog!