In a two-day return to Long Beach, the Dalai Lama was met by a crowd of around 10,000 people who flocked to hear his message of world harmony in a speech entitled Peace of Mind in Troubled Times at the Long Beach Arena Saturday.
At the event sponsored by the Tibetan Buddhist temple, Gaden Shartse Thubten Dhargye Ling, the Dalai Lama shared with the audience his wisdom on how to cultivate generosity, humility and equanimity in the world, touching upon the need for universal ethics.
“Everybody is equipped with the potential of compassion,” said the Dalai Lama to the audience. “[At] a young age these values are still fresh.”
However, as people get older they live in an atmosphere that creates too much competition and creates distrust, he said. The basic human values of generosity and compassion remain dormant, he said.
“Then the other negative emotions, such as competition and desire to achieve, desire….breed aggressiveness, these become demons of our mind—emotion. That’s why I think on this planet [we need to be] simple human beings,” he said.
A major portion of the problem humanity is facing is essentially our own creation, said the Dalai Lama, as violence is created from negative emotions.
“… Unexpected violence comes back…. sometimes in school.” The desire to attain wealth is its own form of violence, he said, breeding negative values of competition and aggressiveness, which translate into our global planet and economy.
“[They] are manmade problems,” he told the audience. It’s important for attaining peace of mind that people not pay serious attention to “not being poor and getting rich,” he said.
During his speaking conference at the Westin Hotel on Friday, the Dalai Lama shared his insights often imbued with humor, as well as a message of responsibility for media.
Because we all begin life the same way, dependent on the care mostly of our mothers and the nourishment of her milk, no matter how powerful we are individually we still need others, he said.
"So therefore I consider basic human nature is more compassion, more gentleness," the Dalai Lama said.
He then spoke of his three main commitments, the number one being awareness. Emphasizing the vital role media plays in bringing awareness to important issues such as poverty, one that requires a worldwide commitment, he said even tragic news is an opportunity to identify the causes of problems.
"Media has responsibility to make clear what's really going on," the Dalai Lama said.
He then related his second commitment to harmony among the world's religions.
He praised common themes in most religions of compassion, tolerance, forgiveness, self-discipline and contentment but also said that hypocrisy occurs when religion is practiced improperly.
"Religions, not only in the past but even today, sometimes causing divisions or even conflict," the Dalai Lama said. "So we need special effort to generate harmony."
To keep a peaceful mind in troubling times, the Dalai Lama said the answer lies in science and not religion, pointing to recent findings by neurologists that indicate how people feel is integral to their overall well-being, and moreover, the overall well-being of society.
Using India as an example of secular policies governing a people who, individually, are very religious, he said that separating mental and emotional health from religious doctrines is the best way to create a healthy society.
"So therefore, through the secular education field, we must find a ways and means to educate from kindergarten up through university about moral ethics, not based in religion," the Dalai Lama said. "That way it can be universal. If you base these things on religion ... they're never universal."
His third commitment to the Tibetan people was accomplished in 2001 with the successful election of political leadership in Tibet, a move that ushered the Dalai Lama into semi-retirement for a decade, which become a full retirement last year on May 29, 2011.
"So my secret that night -- very unusual deep sleep," he said, emitting guttural laughter.
On a more serious note, when asked by about two recent self-immolations in Tibet, he declined to comment directly on what he called a very sad and very "political issue," but urged those in media to scrutinize what some may consider a sort of incendiary cry for help.
"So if people really feel something very sad, [they must] investigate what's the reasons and causes," the Dalai Lama said.
At least 1.5 million Tibetans have been killed and/or tortured since Mao Zedong invaded Tibet in 1949 in a campaign to “liberate” the people from Lamaism, with many more displaced, he said.
At least a few events have demonstrated a more positive outlook for Tibetans in the future, Dalai Lama said, including the dismissal of certain Chinese hardliner officials and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's warning in a press conference March 14 that China is in need of political reform.
"These things show there's more open-minded leaders, seems we're gaining the upper hand, so there's hope," Dalai Lama said.
Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster announced Friday that a tree was to be planted in Rainbow Lagoon Park in honor of the Dalai Lama, who he called a symbol of human hope.
"It will be there as a symbol of what you mean to this city and it's appropriate that [as] somebody who helps give life to human beings you are honored," Foster said. "You've brought so much more to us."
Thanking him, Dalai Lama gave Foster the gift of a white shawl or khata embroidered with Tibetan script wishing happiness upon the wearer. He also presented a khata to State Senator Lou Correa, who on behalf of his constituents, bestowed upon Dalai Lama framed CA Senate Resolution.
"What it is, it's a humble symbol of our appreciation of the people of central Orange County thanking you for your work on the betterment of humanity throughout the world and for peace throughout the world," Correa said.