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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Dalai Lama

May 2, 2008

By Deepak Chopra
TIME Magazine

Millions of people turn to the Dalai Lama for inspiration, but to whom
does he turn? He and his people have struggled all their lives with the
audacity of hopelessness. Oppression and exile are their daily bread.
Yet the Dalai Lama, 72, remains calm in the face of cruelty. What does
he think of the human race? "We are the superior species on Earth but
also the biggest troublemakers," he once told me.

China's rulers aren't like the British masters of colonial India, and
the Dalai Lama's Gandhiesque nonviolent struggle won't give them twinges
of conscience, leading to Tibet's freedom. If anything, Beijing has
grown more ruthless in suppressing Tibetan aspirations, as we've seen
this Olympic year. And yet he has found a way to think kindly of those
who oppress his people and vilify his name. I found him unwilling to
show any harshness. He said to me, "I don't dislike the Chinese, only
their actions."

To me, the most mystical thing about him is also the most ordinary: the
Dalai Lama is happy. He's happy in the midst of chaos and turmoil. The
most inspiring thing he ever told me was to ignore all organized faiths
and keep to the road of higher consciousness. "Without relying on
religion, we look to common sense, common experience and the findings of
science for understanding," he said. I do the same thing, but I still
marvel at this model of calm and compassion. I'm sure neuroscientists
would love to know what's going on inside that brain.

To whom, then, does the Dalai Lama turn for inspiration? It's not a
person but a place—beyond I and thou, beyond self and nonself. The
wonder isn't that such a place can be found. The wonder is that one man
makes it look so easy.

Chopra, author of more than 50 books on spirituality and medicine, has
met the Dalai Lama several times
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