Honolulu, Hawaii, 14 April 2012 - Today His
Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke about Educating the Heart to around 9500
students of Hawaii advising them about the importance of inner mental
development for a wholesome education.
As he left the hotel for his engagement, he gave a brief audience to the
small Tibetan community in Hawaii in the hotel’s lobby. His Holiness
inquired about the profession the people were involved in and told them
not to forget their Tibetan identity. He stressed on the importance of
preservation of the Tibetan culture and pointing to a person who was
from Ladakh, he said that the Ladakhis had done much in this effort.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama is welcomed at the Bishop Museum on Oahu, Hawaii, on April 14, 2012. Photo/Brian Tseng/Civic Beat
Thereafter, His Holiness went to the Bishop Museum,
the largest museum in the state and the premier natural and cultural
history institution in the Pacific. On his arrival, he was welcomed with
a special chant. Young children of the ‘Aha Pūnana Leo Honolulu, an
institution set up to promote Hawaii’s culture, sang a song of welcome.
Thereafter, His Holiness went through the museum’s exhibitions. The
Museum was established to house the collection of Hawaiian artifacts and
royal family heirlooms of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the last
descendant of the royal Kamehameha family of Hawaii. It has since
expanded to include artifacts, documents and photographs about Hawai‘i
and other Pacific island cultures. His Holiness asked about possible
influence from other countries in Hawaii’s culture.
At the end of his tour, His Holiness was presented
with a traditional ceremonial hat (which he wore on his head mentioning
that it seemed similar to Tibetan monastic hats), as well as a scarf
specially woven by the staff of the museum.
|His Holiness the Dalai Lama wearing
a traditional ceremonial hat at the Bishop Museum on Oahu, Hawaii, on
April 14, 2012. Photo/Brian Tseng/Civic Beat |
brief remarks at the museum, His Holiness appreciated the gifts saying
he looked upon them as the Hawaii people’s acceptance of him as part of
their community. He said this was a great honor. He referred to the
Hawaiian people as an ancient people with cultural heritage, including
language. His Holiness said that during his travels to Latin America
and Europe, he noticed that the indigenous people there were very
determined to keep their culture and language. He said that in a
similar way the Tibetan people had the same spirit.
His Holiness said that today the world was much civilized. He said
most indigenous culture, including that of the Native Americans and the
Japanese follower of Shintoism, had close feeling toward nature. He
said that this was important adding that the technologically developed
people should learn from this tradition and know that we cannot control
nature or that we are above nature. He said people needed to realize
that our survival depends on nature.
His Holiness also emphasized that the preservation of one’s own
language was very essential. He said language was particularly
essential for a living culture saying that museums were more for dead
culture. His Holiness also said that additionally there was the need
for a written script as mere oral linguistic tradition was not stable.
His Holiness said that hearing about the struggle of the people of
Hawaii in a way reminded him that we Tibetans also were carrying on a
|His Holiness the Dalai Lama
presents Her Royal Highness Princess Abigail Kawananakoa, the most
direct descendant of the last queen of Hawaii, with a Tibetan ceremonial
scarf, during his visit to 'Iloani Palace on Oahu, Hawaii, on April 14,
2012. Photo/Eye of the Islands Photography |
Holiness then went to the 'Iolani Palace, the official residence of
King Kalākaua and Queen Lili'uokalani, who were the last in a long line
of ruling Hawaiian royalty, where he was welcomed by Princess Abigail
Hawananakoa. He spent some time with the Princes inquiring about the
origin and nature of the belief traditions among different communities
Thereafter, His Holiness went to the East-West Center and was
received by its President, Charles Morrison. He had lunch together with
some of the event organizers.
His Holiness then went to the Stan Sheriff Center, a multi-purpose
arena on the campus of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, which is the
venue of his talk to the students. At the Center, the University’s
Chancellor, Virginia Hinshaw, and executive director of the Hawai’I
Association of Independent Schools, Robert Witt, received him. As he
entered the stage, Jack Johnson, an American folk rock musician, was
performing a song. His Holiness greeted the singer and patted his knee
much to the amusement of the gathering.
|His Holiness the Dalai Lama
playfully patting Jack Johnson's knee on his arrival at the Stan Sheriff
Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, on April 14, 2012. Photo/Civic Beat |
his welcome address, Mr. Kelvin Taketa of the Hawaii Community
Foundation said that there was hope that so many students had decided to
spend a Saturday afternoon to attend the event. He talked about the
inspiration behind the initiative of the event and introduced Mrs. Pam
Omidyar. Mrs. Omidyar gave a brief biography of His Holiness the Dalai
Lama and thanked him for an inspiration and a role model for peace.
His Holiness began his remarks by making the case that we were all
same as humans, mentally, emotionally and physically. He recalled that
some of the students who welcomed him on his arrival in Honolulu
yesterday looked like Tibetans and so even physically there was the
He said everyone had the desire to achieve a happy life and that
this was a basic right. He said the very purpose of life was to achieve
happiness and joyfulness. However, happiness should not be understood
merely at the level of physical happiness, he said. Physical happiness
might sometimes bring about mental satisfaction, which in turn brings
|His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, on April 14, 2012. Photo/Civic Beat |
said happiness at the sensorial level was a physical one but mental
happiness was superior and more effective. He explained this by saying
that while physical ailment can be cured by mental peace, mental
disturbance cannot be subdued at the physical level. He thus said there
was the need to pay serious attention to mental happiness. His
Holiness recalled being in the house of a rich American many years back
and while using the rest room, he happened to peep into the medicine
cabinet and found some tranquilizers. He said that this indicate that
wealth was not in itself a solution for mental happiness.
However, His Holiness said that while there was much research about
the external material reality, modern education had not paid adequate
attention to the mental, emotional development until now. He said this
clearly showed that modern education failed to reduce the gap between
reality and appearance in terms of happiness.
Talking about mental happiness, His Holiness said the real destroyer
of inner peace were things like fear and distrust. He said distrust
leads to fear, which in turn leader to frustration and to anger. These
lead to violence and applied at both the national level as well as the
family level. He said trying to tackle these challenges through
violence was not a winnable one and that only through non-violence could
we approach them.
Some of the 9,500 mostly
students attending His Holiness the Dalai Lama's talk in Honolulu,
Hawaii, on April 14, 2012. Photo/Civic Beat
Holiness said that here he was sharing his views based on his
experience. However, although his experience was primarily through his
Buddhist education, His Holiness said that he was approaching the issue
at the human level, without touch the religion.
His Holiness then explained his concept of secular ethics saying
that he subscribed to the definition of secularism as promoted by
ancient Indian thoughts, namely respect for all religions, including
respect to non-believers. He said secular ethics should be approached
through common sense and common ethics and based on scientific findings.
He explained research that showed that when people were calm the left
side of the brain was more active while the right side became more
active when people were filled with anger or hatred, etc.
His Holiness touched on the need to have more self-confidence with a
sense of concern for other’s feelings as a way to reduce fear. He also
talked about having respect for others, including one’s enemies saying
this was not submitting to injustice. He then explained the nature of
compassion and how it was at two levels, one biological and limited and
the other unconditional.
|The University of Hawaii's Stan
Sheriff Center, venue for His Holiness the Dalai Lama's talk in
Honolulu, Hawaii, on April 14, 2012. Photo/Civic Beat |
called for awareness on the value of inner positive thoughts and that
this could be achieved through prayers but through warm-heartedness.
His Holiness said that in this world some portion of the seven billion
human beings did not practice the teachings of their religions although
they consider themselves as believers.
Here he talked about the situation in India saying that although he
love and respected India the attitude of some people who did ritual
prayers but involved themselves in cheating in their daily lives. His
Holiness said the people should either worship god and practice his
teachings or worship money and do what ever they want. There was no
third way, he added. As an aside, His Holiness mentioned here that when
he had called himself a son of India some years back, some Chinese
journalists questioned him on this thinking that he was making a
political statement. However, he had explained his reason saying that
mentally every portion of his brain was filled with the ancient Indian
thoughts of the Nalanda tradition. He said physically, his body was
sustained for more that five decades by Indian rice and dal (lentils)
and by chapatti (Indian bread). His Holiness thought the Chinese
journalists seemed to understand the context thereafter.
His Holiness then talked about his three commitments. He explained
the first one by saying it was for promotion of non-violence and peace.
He said this commitment was at the human level and that there was the
need to develop positive mental attitude. He said his second commitment
was for promotion of religious harmony and this was at the level of him
being a Buddhist. He said all religions have the same message despite
having philosophical differences. They all aimed at making good human
beings. His Holiness said his third commitment was on the Tibetan
struggle. He said after having transferred his temporal authority to an
elected Tibetan leadership last year, he felt a little free on this now.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama answering questions after his talk at the University of Hawaii on April 14, 2012.
Holiness then encouraged the students to think about ways to make life
more peaceful. He said most of the students might be below the age of 30
and so belong to the 21st century. He said his generation belonged to
the 20th century that had passed. He said it was up to the new
generation to shape the 21st century into a peaceful one knowing that
the 20th century was a violent one.
His Holiness explained that wanting the 21st century to be one of
peace does not mean there will not be any problems. However, there will
be better ways to approach these problems, through dialogue and mutual
respect. Therefore, the young students should realize that they have a
heavy responsibility, he concluded.
His Holiness then answered some questions, selected from among 2000
that were received online. To a question on what made him laugh, His
Holiness responded that he did not laugh when he was alone for that
would make people feel that he was mad. His laughter came through his
interaction with people, their friendship and gesture. He said a smile
has no barrier of language or culture.
When asked what he found most peaceful about Hawaii, he said that
although he had been here a few times, this time it has been just a day
and a half. In order to understand Hawaii properly and to differentiate
between appearance and reality he would have to spend a longer period of
time. Nevertheless, His Holiness said he was struck by Hawaii’s culture
and heritage. He said it seemed very peaceful and closely connected
with nature. He said this was important because nature creates humanity
and if it is disturbed there would be problems of ecology, drinking
water, Tsunami, etc.
|His Holiness the Dalai Lama is
presented with a conch shell, and important part of Hawaiian culture, at
the end of his talk at the University of Hawaii on April 14, 2012.|
Photo/Eyes of the Island Photography
another question on how to approach the issue of showing compassion
when there was no reciprocity, His Holiness recalled his explanation of
two levels of compassions. He said in the compassion at the limited
biological level, there might be problems, but genuine compassion was
not dependent on the reaction of the other side or the expectation of
something in return.
His Holiness said that human beings by nature have the capacity to
be good without any conditions. He talked about the childhood stage when
children interacted with each other at the same level without any
consideration of background. Here he recalled the kindness of his
mother, which spoiled him as a child, he said.
He said among students there was the need to develop a genuine sense
of companionship. He competition was good if it is at the level of
wanting to excel oneself and striving for that. However, extreme
competition, which he defined as wanting to excel and in the process
creating hindrance for others, was to be avoided. He advised the
students to generate a sense of brotherhood and trust in their
classrooms as such attitudes as bullying and fighting creates a negative
Following his remarks, three students sang an auspicious song.
Thereafter, His Holiness was presented with a Hawaiin conchshell. This
concluded His Holiness’ program for the day.
On April 15, His Holiness will participate in a panel discussion on
"The Importance of Native Intelligence in Modern Times" and give a
public talk about "Advancing Peace through the Power of Aloha" at the
University of Hawaii.