Pray Is Not Enough For Humanity
The Dalai Lama lead a prayer event for the victims of the Orlando shootings recently. Prayer is a great way to unite humanity in a time of grief and to offer support to the families and communities left devastated after such tragic events and from a Buddhist perspective can also help to positively influence the reincarnations of the people who died.
However the Dalai Lama has also said that paying alone is not enough. “We cannot solve this problem only through prayers. I am a Buddhist and I believe in praying. But humans have created this problem, and now we are asking God to solve it. It is illogical. God would say, solve it yourself because you created it in the first place.”
He goes on to say more wise words by cutting through layers of squabbling and stating that a systematic approach is needed to uphold humanistic values.
“We need a systematic approach to foster humanistic values, of oneness and harmony. If we start doing it now, there is hope that this century will be different from the previous one. It is in everybody’s interest. So let us work for peace within our families and society, and not expect help from God, Buddha or the governments.”
Again, slicing through all the illusive tactics of the blame game, he says most of the issues are superficial. Today more than ever we need to unite and agree upon values and ethics so that we can all live in a safe world where every last person is protected and has rights and can live a dignified life. This is the idea behind the ground breaking document in 1948 United Nations declaration of human rights to be a recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family as the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. As the Dalai lama says:
“Furthermore, the problems that we are facing today are the result of superficial differences over religious faiths and nationalities.We are one people.”
The Dalai Lama has also called for agreed upon universal moral code based outside of religion and national differences:
“All the world’s major religions, with their emphasis on love, compassion, patience, tolerance, and forgiveness can and do promote inner values. But the reality of the world today is that grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate. This is why I am increasingly convinced that the time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics beyond religion altogether.”
We Are All One Race
The idea that every human being is equal is something which in our hearts we all know to be true. Unfortunately the media do not report all incidents of violence equally. The shooting in Paris and Orlando will get none stop media attention for weeks and months but violence and shootings in Sudan or Palestine barely rate a mention. If we are to truly move into a new era of humanity and not return to the dark ages of unimaginable violence an horror we need to protect the lives of all our brothers and sisters around the world. To start we need to accurately portray and represent the victims of violence an suffering all around the world.
Violence is violence. Terror is terror. It would not be ok for any American to see air strikes throughout Orlando destroying entire towns and cities claiming to be bringing to justice the people or organisations behind the shooting. But that is exactly what has happened in Syria and other places. The pictures of devastated cities due to NATO carpet bombings is horrendous and the causalities are insurmountable. This is not acceptable and should be seen as stupid act of violence and terror regardless of the justifications and rationalisation for such violence. Let’s agree we cannot bomb violence and terrorism out of existence.
We may not be able to agree on religion or what started the violence, or what or who God is but we must agree upon some basic fundamental human values like violent aggression is wrong, torturing people is wrong, taking people’s homes is wrong, whether these homes are taken by Israeli occupiers, corrupt banks or bombed by foreign countries we all have human dignity and need a place to live. Lets start there.
This is a huge discussion that smarter people than myself have tried to engage in but it is a discussion we must have as a collective to move forward as a human race and values we must come to agree on. Moral relativism claims there is no absolute right and wrong, but these discussions must be left to the philosophical debates in class rooms and not find there way into our policies.
A Shared Vision For Humanity
Ethics are not a philosophical luxury or a religious system they are a human necessity. A real society is based on shared values and a shared vision of the future. As John Lennon said let’s “imagine all the people living life in peace.” or as Michael Jackson says – “free the world, make it a better place for you and for me and the entire human race.” Compassion for all beings is needed more than ever with systems and leaders that express that compassion and united humanity. As the Dalai Lama says:
“It is in everybody’s interest to seek those actions that lead to happiness and avoid those which lead to suffering. And because our interests are inextricably linked, we are compelled to accept ethics as the indispensable interface between my desire to be happy and yours.”
I don’t want to take sides or blame anyone; that’s the start of the problem and what keeps us entrenched in war and violence. Essentially ‘othering’ people is the problem. Seeing another group of people as intrinsically separate from ourselves – the foreigners, the aliens the different people and unfortunately humans can easily fear and react to difference. But if you value living in a peaceful world and recognise our shared humanity you must see the sameness in all people. The same smile, the same wish to be happy and free and the same blood that gets spilt when we bleed. We must start by seeing our sameness not our differences.
Lives matter, black, white, Asian and Arab. All children’s lives matter and all elderly lives matter, everyone! Until we can see the sameness and shared humanity in every last person on the planet there will be justification for the divides between the rich and poor, between religions and between nations. It’s time we lifted ourselves, our media and held our representatives accountable to uphold humanity’s bold start in 1948 of a shared vision of peace and freedom and live up to the sanity of the human rights declaration. Let’s elect compassionate leaders. No excuses, no spin and no justifications, lets agree all lives matter and start to move ourselves and our institutions toward a peaceful, loving and humane way of being in the world.
Written by Chad Foreman
Chad Foreman has been teaching meditation since 2003 and is determined to bring authentic meditation practices into the lives of millions of people. Chad is a former Buddhist monk and spent 6 years living in a retreat hut studying and practising meditation full time. He is now a fully qualified meditation teacher with the Australian Institute of Meditation and has designed a unique 21 day meditation challenge to guide people gradually from the basics of mindfulness and relaxation to profound states of awareness. Click Here to learn more about the 21 Day Meditation Challenge.