Lauren Murphy | Asst. Photo EditorCommon Ground for Peace
Dalai Lama opens One World Concert with charm, humor
The Dalai Lama opened the One World Concert with the boyish charm and humor that became his hallmark throughout the two-day Common Ground for Peace Symposium.
“I’m not much interested in music,” he said, followed by prolonged chuckles from the packed Carrier Dome audience of approximately 24,000.
The spiritual leader of Tibet was onstage to kick off the One World Concert, a star-studded musical spectacle that served as the symposium’s finale. During his one-hour talk, the Dalai Lama brought brevity and lightness to weighty subjects, such as universal peace, solidarity and teaching morality in education. He shied away from politics, and instead adopted a more sentimental approach, discussing his childhood and personal experiences with honesty and candor.
While the Dalai Lama isn’t an avid music fan, he appreciates music’s capacity to communicate messages of peace and solidarity, far and wide, and said he would stay up past his bedtime to enjoy the concert. Keeping with the concert’s hopeful message, the Dalai Lama punctuated his talk with hearty, soulful laughter throughout. At one point, the icon of peace whipped out an orange Syracuse University visor, much to the audience’s delight.
But the jovial and lighthearted moments were accompanied by serious, thought-provoking ones, too.
The Dalai Lama said he has observed more than 60 years worth of violence and feuding, often a product of humankind’s own creation. Instead of focusing on the commonalities that unite humanity, we emphasize divisive secondary differences, he said.
“We have to think more of sameness, of oneness of humanity,” he urged, drawing on his own experiences.
Being shown affection from youth and to one another is crucial. Anxieties and fears tend to lurk in those who lack affection or care from parents at a young age, the Dalai Lama said. While his mother was an illiterate, uneducated farmer, she instilled in him the fundamental, lifelong guiding principles of compassion and kindness.
The concept of finding personal well-being within ourselves, not through material gain, was another common thread woven throughout his speech.
“Happiness or inner peace is in our self. Not on money, not on power,” he said.
Calling on his own experience, the Dalai Lama discussed the significant amount of loss in his own lifetime.
“My life, age 16, I lost my own freedom. Age 24, I lost my own country,” he said, referring to China’s occupation of Tibet.
Instead of harboring potentially volatile emotions such as anger and attachment, the Dalai Lama said he has managed to rid himself of them to find inner-calm and tranquility.
“You should not consider tolerance and forgiveness as a sign of weakness,” he assured the audience.
The Dalai Lama also broadened his talk to incorporate the importance of morality in education. While the Dalai Lama emphasized the significance of religion, he conceded that religion will never be universal. But education can be, he said. He proposed science and reason as a secular way of instilling morality in youth.
“The real, existing modern educating system is lacking about moral education,” he said.
The audience communicated their agreement with thunderous and adamant applause and cheers.
In addition to his call for using the education system to teach morality, the Dalai Lama said now is the time to reverse the hatred that’s haunted the past. The Dalai Lama said he remembers the 20th century as a generation marred by warring and bloodshed.
“The 20th century, through violence, through war — civil war — over 200 millions of people killed,” he said. “The 20th century become century of bloodshed, century of violence.”
The time for the 60- and 70-year-olds — his generation — to undo these conflicts has come and gone. The possibility of a peaceful future lies in the hands of 20- and 30-year-olds, the Dalai Lama insisted.
Before being ushered off to raucous applause and making way for the concert’s musical acts, the Dalai Lama called upon the youth in the audience to work toward a more peaceful existence.
Said the Dalai Lama: “The later part of the 21st century will be better place if you make effort now.”
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