India’s long standing tradition of ahimsa must continue forever.
Otherwise the 21st century can turn out to be bloodier than any.
By The Dalai Lama
These days, when I wake up in the morning and start my meditation, I often wonder how many people have been killed and how many children have started to death while I peacefully slept. Violence in the name of the religion is unthinkable. The 20th century was an era of violence that resulted from lack of far-sightedness-giving in to destructive emotions, and lack of moral principles. This was made worse by a belief in the use of force to solve the problems.
We have to stop think if we go on like this, the 21st century will be an era of violence and suffering like the century that went before. For someone who is 82 years old like me, there isn’t much to worry about, but those who belong to the younger generation today need to question whether this is what they want. Much of the suffering we face is of our own making. We have to ask how we can reduce and counter the problems we have created.
Wherever I go, I remind people of the oneness of humanity, this is the essential message of all the major religious traditions. Religion is wonderful. All our religious traditions carry a message of love and need for inner peace. But religion itself has now become a factor in causing divisions among people – leading even to killing. It’s unthinkable, a clear lack of moral principles.
The basis of moral principles is to have a real concern for the well-being of others and an appreciation of the oneness of humanity. Whether science or religion is constructive or destructive depends on our motivation and whether we are guided by moral principles. In the past, ethics were the province of religion. But now out of seven billion human beings more than one billion declare they have no faith.
Even among those who claim to have faith, there are many who lack conviction. Then there are troublemakers who seek to make mischief in almost all religious groups. This is why it is important today to promote a code of secular ethics that can have universal appeal irrespective of whether we support this or that religion. Differences that exist between us, such as faith, race or nationality are secondary in comparison to the fact we are the same as being human and that we all have the potential to be compassionate.