His Holiness is jovial and loves to laugh, but is very serious about his messages.

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama visited UCSD yesterday and Scripps Institution of Oceanography today.  I was honored to serve as the student representative of SIO at the lunch and panel discussion in the Paine Forum.   I have not studied his teachings or read his books, but I have listened to some of his lectures.  Nonetheless, some of his messages are surprising (i.e., refreshing), and I had to pinch myself to remember that he is a religious leader.

Below I’ve listed some personal ‘take-homes’ from our UCSD sessions with His Holiness yesterday and today regarding climate, cognitive science & compassion:

  • Skepticism is necessary because it causes us to question, investigate, & develop.  Science is the embodiment of both skepticism and progress.
  • If one’s teachings conflict with science, perhaps one should change his/her teachings.
  • Empathy may be natural and neurological, but we empathize most when we consciously pay attention to others.
  • The main barriers to neurological compassion is our ‘skin’ and philosophical compassion is our individuality or ‘soul.
  • Nothing & no one is independent; every action we take affects others.  It is our moral obligation to ensure our actions don’t cause harm to others.
  • Anger stems from natural selfishness and the concept of individuality; in contrast, compassion develops from training & and the concept of interdependence.  Selfishness is spontaneous while compassion requires study and practice.
  • Hidden secrets and lies create distrust and withdrawal.  Honesty and truth create openness, trust and friendship.  Even our pets know that.
  • Totalitarian/authoritarian people & regimes restrict & censor information in order to control & brainwash.  Free societies embrace truth, honesty, and openness.
  • The cure for conflict is study.  The cure for anger is study.  The source of compassion is study.  Education is the cure.

Maybe I should go back to school; oh, right…

About Levi

Immersed in a PhD program that defines, rules & schedules my life; in a good way.

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