Final Talk before Leaving for India

May 16th 2014

Frankfurt, Germany, 16 May 2014 - His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s last talk before returning to India was at the request of the group ‘Friends for a Friend’. Taking his seat before the eighty or so business people, entertainers, teachers and others, he said:

“I really enjoyed my visit here and I’d like to thank the organizers for all they’ve done to make it a success.”


His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at an event organized by Friends for a Friend in Frankfurt, Germany on May 16, 2014. Photo/Manuel Bauer
The group representative replied that they always like to hear from His Holiness and wish to incorporate his advice into their daily lives. His Holiness told them that as human beings we need to pay attention to our emotions. We might find ourselves in situations where we think that anger would bring some energy to bear, but it is better to approach problems with a calm mind. Taking an analytical stance is more useful. This, he said, is what he does.

Asked how to deal with the drive to always want more, His Holiness said it depends to some extent on what you want more of. If it were money for yourself, it would be better to be content, but if it were funds to help society, to help the poor among the 7 billion human beings that would be different. In Germany, with the strongest economy in the EU this may not be a problem. We may notice though that it is because we tend to focus on material things, rather than inner values, that we always want more.

“Something Germany could do is help Russia. If the West had acted more quickly to support Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union the situation might be different today. When I visited the USSR in 1979, they really felt they faced a threat from the West. This was similar to what I observed in Europe on my first visit in 1973, that there was an imminent danger from the East.”

The group representative asked:

“When I leave the room today, I’ll take your inspiration with me, but it wears off. How can we keep it fresh?”

His Holiness replied:


His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at an event organized by Friends for a Friend in Frankfurt, Germany on May 16, 2014. Photo/Manuel Bauer
“Familiarize yourself with what you hear. This is what I do every day, in fact several times a day. For example, faced with the challenge of the pro-Shugden group shouting at me, in a corner of my mind I generate compassion for them because they are doing what they’re doing out of complete ignorance. In this regard analysis is very useful and with it familiarization. Even in dreams I reflect on what I have analysed.

“It’s said ‘If you can practise as a householder you have an opportunity to achieve liberation, but if you don’t practise, even if you live the life of a hermit it won’t make any difference.’ However, those of you who have children have the chance to contribute to the next generation, which is a great opportunity.”

A member of the audience wanted to know if the practice of physical yoga has any benefits for training the mind and His Holiness said that it is good for your physical health, by itself, it is of limited value to mental training. When someone else asked how to get over having a sense of responsibility for having done something wrong, His Holiness said it would depend on your motivation, if that had been positive but things had not turned out as expected it would not matter too much. But if it were a question of things going seriously wrong, of people dying as a result of a mistaken decision, you should try to repair the damage and relieve the suffering.

To a question about euthanasia he said that like abortion it is generally better if you can avoid it, but there may be cases of immense suffering with no chance of recovery where it was appropriate. One important factor is to be able to die with a calm mind.

An audience member asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question during an event organized by Friends for a Friend in Frankfurt, Germany on May 16, 2014. Photo/Manuel Bauer
Asked what advice he would give a group of students, His Holiness remarked that he distinguishes between those who belong to the 20th century and those who belong to the 21st. For those of the 21st century there are still opportunities for change. He said when we find ourselves thinking in terms of ‘us’ and ‘them’, we should remember that all 7 billion human beings belong to one human family. Conflict arises from unnecessary focus on secondary differences. If we can overcome that we can make this a more peaceful century.

About religious differences His Holiness mentioned a woman in Norway a few days ago who expressed discomfort with the idea of there being no creator. He told her to hold to her belief and remember that we are all human beings with a right to lead a happy life.

“Recently in South India I met a Swami, a wonderful man who does great work helping the poor. I told him that Hindus and Buddhists are like twin brothers except that he believes in an ‘atman’ or soul, which is his business, and I don’t, which is mine.”

His Holiness made clear that the idea of one truth and one religion is appropriate in terms of one individual, but in terms of the community we have to accept that there are several truths and several religions.

Another member of the audience asked:

“As Dalai Lama do you see more than I do?” His Holiness exclaimed:


Members of the audience listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at an event organized by Friends for a Friend in Frankfurt, Germany on May 16, 2014. Photo/Manuel Bauer
“No, no, no. Once, at the Albert Hall in London, before several thousand people I said there might be some of you who have come thinking the Dalai Lama has some magical power - which is nonsense. Others may think he has some healing power and if he does I’d like help with this itching on the back of my neck. The next day, I received a tube of ointment that really was of some help. As a Buddhist I may have gathered some benefit from my study and practice in previous lives, but I’m just a normal human being. As for what I can see, since I had surgery to correct the cataracts in my eyes they have become sharp again. I met a BBC correspondent at a point when I’d had one corrected and I told her that now I could see her wrinkles clearly again. She told me she preferred my other eye!”

His Holiness also mentioned that his logical training has sharpened his mind enabling him see contradictions and inconsistencies in, for example, expert scientific presentations. Many American volunteers who have come to teach science to monks in the great Tibetan monasteries in South India have observed this too. They say that even without English or any training in maths, the monks have an acute ability to investigate, ask questions and understand. This is a tribute to Tibetan monastic education.

Finally, a questioner wanted to know, in the light of the impending World Cup, if His Holiness watches football and if he has a favourite team. He replied:

“No interest!”


His Holiness the Dalai Lama receiving the German Speakers Association's Global Award for 2014 in Frankfurt, Germany on May 16, 2014. Photo/Manuel Bauer
Later, the German Speakers Association, a non-profit organization of innovative thought leaders presented their Global Award for 2014 to His Holiness, because he touches and inspires people the world over and has been unstinting in his advocacy for freedom in Tibet. They were followed by Dr Franz Alt who conducted a short interview with His Holiness. He concluded with the quite common question:

“Do you think you will return to Tibet in this life?” the firm answer was:

“Certainly. Of course, if I die this year or next I may not, but if I live for another five, 10, 15 or 20 years, then certainly I will.”

His Holiness is due to fly from Frankfurt with his Lufthansa friends directly back to India today. He will return to Dharamsala tomorrow.
 

Latest News

Tata Institute of Social Sciences - Convocation
September 17th 2014
Mumbai, India, 17 September 2014 - The Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), whose motto is “Re-imagining Futures”, is one of India’s most reputed post-graduate social science institutions. Today, TISS invited His Holiness the Dalai Lama to a Special Convocation at its main campus in Deonar, Mumbai as the Chief Guest.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Convene Meeting of Diverse Spiritual Traditions in India
September 13th 2014

His Holiness the Dalai Lama Expresses Sadness and Concern on the Recent Flooding in Jammu and Kashmir
September 12th 2014

Addressing a Sino-Tibetan Conference
August 28th 2014

An Avalokiteshvara Empowerment Followed by Meetings with the Tibetan Community and Tibet Support Group in Germany
August 27th 2014

Explore