Mindfulness, Relationships

A Dialogue with the Dalai Lama, Continued

ISCS October 31, 2014 Keynote

Science and Society:  An Interactive Dialogue with

His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Yesterday, you read the powerful opening remarks of Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama shared with us during the International Symposium of Contemplative Studies’ (ISCS) keynote.  Those mere 15 min were profound and offered a lifetime of work for each of us.  However, the Dalai Lama spoke for 90 min in entirety.  Here are some of his other gems:

The Dalai Lama intently listening to a question.  ISCS 2014

The Dalai Lama intently listening to a question. ISCS 2014

The Dalai Lama shared his love of science from an early age.  He admitted when he was a small boy he enjoyed playing with toys…for a few days.  After a few days though, toys lost their fascination and he began to wonder about the mechanics of them.  He loved tearing them apart and exploring their inner workings.   He laughingly admitted that at the end of this exploration, the toy laid on the floor totally “destroyed and forgotten.”

He likens that to what he is asking scientist to do.  The Dalai Lama (and now the rest of the world) is fascinated by the brain.  The brain is who we think we are.  As the understanding ourselves changes our brain actually changes. Our thoughts change, our actions change, our being changes.  As a Buddhist practitioner, the Dalai Lama KNOWS the brain changes and can see the impact of a contemplative life.

What he wants to know and share with the world is the WHY.  However, he doesn’t want the scientist treat our brains as he treated his forgotten destroyed toys.  He wants the scientists to go about the brain research with compassion and love.  The Dalai Lama feels science becomes useful in the explanation of the brain’s neurochemistry during contemplation.

A question asked was about how one can quantifies a true and lasting change in the actions of a long-time contemplative practitioner. The Dalai Lama heartily laughs (he laughed, smiled, and chuckled throughout his entire dialogue) and shared a not so appropriate mental image of researchers following a practitioner around for 10-15 years peaking through windows and “spying” to see if the practitioner was walking the talk or merely speaking it.

Then he shared a story that reminded me about a previous blog (click here to read).  The gist of the story and blog is this:  A person is meditating focusing on love and compassion.  Someone enters the scene and interrupts the serenity of the mediator.  In the story, the person meditating (on compassion and love) strikes out at the other person because they have “spoiled” his meditation. The Dalai Lama’s point is that life itself is a meditation.  Scientist can only quantify the changes of contemplation by observing the mediator in the stressing circumstances of life.  Life, unfortunately for scientist, has many more variables than those encountered in the lab.

I can go on for days about the dialogue.  Eventually there will be video snippets online, which I will share with you.  For now, take care of your mental health.  Science has proven your mental health affects your physical health. As you care of your mental health, His Holiness also pleads that you take care of the earth.  Be aware of your actions and the consequence your actions have on the earth.  As the Dalai said, “The earth is ours and it is the only one we have.  We need to take care of it.”

A book for Mothers OR Fathers  wanting to work with the most advanced theories for creating the dynamics you desire in your family

A book for Mothers OR Fathers wanting to work with the most advanced theories for creating the dynamics you desire in your family