Thekchen Choeling, Dharamsala, 24th September 2012 - A group of 102 visitors from Vietnam, about half from the North and half from the South, members of the Vietnamese CEO's Club, had a meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama today, during which he encouraged them to ask him questions. They recalled that it is a year since His Holiness first gave teachings to interested people from Vietnam. On this occasion, however, they said they were looking forward to hearing his advice on how to lead a meaningful life. His Holiness began in his customary way,
“I always have a feeling when I meet people like this that on a human level we are all the same, there are no differences between us. Whether we are Tibetan or Vietnamese, we are all born the same way and when the time comes we die the same way. We have the same kind of emotions, anger, attachment and jealousy, but we also have the same potential to develop love and compassion. Most important, both you and I want a happy life and we have the same right to achieve it. On this sort of level, there are no differences between human beings, so there is no point in our quarrelling with each other.
“ When we insist on emphasising differences like race, religion or ideology the result is divisions that can even lead to our fighting and killing each other, as happened during the war in Vietnam. It is this focus on secondary differences that I believe is why so many of our problems can be seen as man-made. I like to point out that our nature is basically compassionate because we are social animals. What brings us together is love and affection. So, stressing the oneness of humanity is my first commitment; but I don't want to be boring like a communist party leader going on and on. I'd prefer we have a discussion.”