His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, spoke in front of nearly 8,000 students, faculty and alumni at the University of Miami on October 26, 2010 about the “Quest of Happiness in Challenging Times.” The Dalai Lama is a Buddhist leader of religious officials of the Gelug branch of Tibetan Buddhism.
He wore his red Tibetan iconic robes, wore dark glasses and before speaking inhaled and exhaled short breaths. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama met with young students inserting humorous remarks about the bright future of the new generation. “You are the people that need to create a new world, a happy world, a peaceful world. That is your responsibility,” he exhorted.
He explained in almost psychological terms the influence of brain and negativity. “If your knowledge is used by negative emotions then it could be destructive.” He spoke about violence in society and how certain technological advancements are considered innovative, but at the same time can instill hatred and anger. Such an advancement is the harnessing of nuclear technology.
In this century, the concept of war is outdated and peace doesn’t mean that the problems are ignored. “It means dialogue.”
His Holiness motioned excitedly with his hands reiterating that although differences might exist between nations, problems need to be discussed. It needs to be genuine and out of respect.
“Prepare your mind and your heart with knowledge and skill,” was his advice to students. He also urged to cooperate through communities and instill trust.
“You must extend your heart open, your spirit.”
And with trust one can achieve a “happy life” which is what most people desire. The common thread of religions is that it teaches compassion, love and tolerance.
He related that medical scientists are exploring the relationship between a healthy body and mind. He spoke about the immune system and how it’s related to the mind. Furthermore, he related the importance of meditation in creating prosocial behavior and improved health. In secular terms, he called it “mindfulness training” and pointed out that 200 public schools have adapted it for students.
At the end of the talk, he opened dialogue for questions. One of the questions by a student from Hong Kong asked about the pursuit of happiness. “You need self confidence which is the basis of courage.”
He related that attachment to a particular religion can cause people to become narrow minded, but not to confuse attachment with faith. “Faith affords you hope.” All religions carry the message of love.
“Many people feel heads of state are untouchable and inaccessible, but the way he [the Dalai Lama] reacted to us was unexpected,” said student government President Christina Farmer.
After his North American tour, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, will return to India. He has been living in exile 1959. During a consultation with the Nechung Oracle, he was given an explicit instruction to leave the country.