Maribor, Slovenia, 16th May 2012 - Meeting his host, the Mayor of Maribor, Franc Kangler, and his staff this morning, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama recalled how much he had enjoyed his first visit to Maribor in 2010 and how impressed he had been with what he saw of Slovenia. When Mr Kangler proudly told him that, although Slovenia is a comparatively small country, Maribor's football team had beaten both Russia and Serbia here in Maribor, His Holiness remarked that in the field of truth and justice too, size is not always the deciding factor. He recalled that in 1959, the Tibet issue was raised at the UN by Malaysia and Ireland, neither of them large countries. Indeed, he said, it is sometimes smaller countries who are less swayed by economic considerations and more able to stand by their principles.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama meeting with Maribor Mayor Franc Kangler in Maribor, Slovenia, on May 16, 2012.
Mayor Kangler agreed, telling His Holiness that Maribor had had to struggle to become the Cultural Capital of Europe. He added that you have to fight for your rights, but having done so you have to be prepared to shoulder the consequent responsibilities. Next year, when Maribor is the European City of Youth the Mayor said that as a gift to Tibetans the city would like to invite Tibetan students to come to Maribor to join in the events.
Before leaving for the University of Maribor, His Holiness and the Mayor talked enthusiastically about the Slovene language, its dialects and the varieties of language in the region. Arriving at the University, the Rector Prof. Dr Danijel Rebolj was waiting in the light rain to greet His Holiness and had a short meeting with him before escorting him to the auditorium where the Out of the Box Conference – Innovative Ways to Improve the Culture of Living was taking place. His Holiness joined the Rector, Prof. Denis Noble of the University of Oxford, England who he has met before, Prof. Dirk Helbing from ETH Zurich, Switzerland and Prof. Siegfried Grossman of Marburg University, Germany before an audience of about 800.
After observing that on a fundamental level we human beings are the same emotionally and physically, His Holiness declared how pleased he was to join the other scholars to talk and learn from each other. He said that despite his age, he still thinks of himself as a student. He quoted an ancient scholar as saying that even if you are going to die tomorrow it's still worth learning something today. He said that thinking out of the box and finding innovative ways to improve the way we live is not only important, but it is something human beings are peculiarly equipped to do. Education therefore is the key to improvement, we have to think more holistically, not narrowly pursuing our own interests, but understanding that if we neglect the interests of others, ultimately we will be the losers. Therefore, warm-heartedness is the guarantee of our own future.
Alluding to the importance of looking at challenges from a different angle, His Holiness noted that when a tragedy occurs it may provoke frustration and anger in you, but it may also provide you new experience and insight that strengthens your determination. He cited events from his own life, that he lost his freedom at the age of 16 and lost his country at 24. On the one hand it was sad, but on the other it liberated him from what he considers useless formality and enabled him to meet many different kinds of people from whom he has learnt a great deal about the oneness of humanity.
After he had attended an invited lunch with Mayor Franc Kangler, about 2400 gathered to hear His Holiness deliver a public talk on Cultivating Peace of Mind. Commenting on the greater maturity of people in the latter part of a twentieth century, a period during which many people regarded war as unavoidable, His Holiness remarked that great changes had taken place since the fall of the Berlin wall. The ideological conflict of the Cold War came to an end. People began to take much greater interest in preserving the natural environment and acting to stop climate change. Meanwhile, among religious communities there is a much greater acceptance of other spiritual traditions. Therefore, he feels quite optimistic.
Once again His Holiness praised our marvellous human intelligence, the sharpness of mind that enables us to think things through and analyse them. Analysis allows us to judge which of our emotions favour a calm mind and which disrupt it. Through analysis we can come to understand that fear, anger and jealousy undermine our peace of mind, while cultivating a more compassionate attitude to others boosts our self-confidence, which in turn supports a calm mind. Scientists have found that peace of mind is good for our physical well-being, while afflictive emotions like anxiety and suspicion eat into our immune system.
When it comes to discussing the moral principles that reinforce our ability to develop a calm mind His Holiness says he likes to take a secular approach. This is because a large proportion of the world's 7 billion people have little interest in religion and even those who profess to be religious are little affected by it in their day to day lives. At the same time humanity is facing many problems that are a direct result of our lack of moral principles, which is why presenting ethics in a secular context is so important.
His Holiness urged those who will come of age in the twenty-first century to create a better world by cultivating vision, determination and enthusiasm. While he admitted that the UN, political leaders and the clergy may not be able to do much to change the world for the better, His Holiness stressed the need for individuals and smaller nations to seize the opportunity to create a more peaceful, more equitable world. “Don't give in to helplessness or hopelessness” he said, adding, “Every one of you can make a contribution. I may not live to see the results of your efforts, but you surely will. “
Many individuals came forward to ask His Holiness questions, one young woman beginning by thanking him for showing the goodness of smiling and laughter. His Holiness is joined several other Nobel Peace Laureates to discuss why we need dialogue and solidarity in the global crisis at the National Theatre, Maribor.
Source: The office of His Holiness The Dalai Lama.