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"For a happier, more stable and civilized future, each of us must develop a sincere, warm-hearted feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood."

Ethics & Values: The Dalai Lama is a nice nag

June 17, 2009

by Mike McLellan / Ethics & Values

Tracy Press

June 17, 2009


I greatly respect the Dalai Lama. He is a major force for world unity.


Having said that, much of what he says is just the same as what I told my children and my parents told me. Actually, it pretty much sounds like nagging.


If we are honest, and honesty is necessary here, discussing ethics and values constitutes a good deal of niggling and irksome harassment. This is not a job for the timid.


The Dalai Lama is anything but timid.


What is there to add to “be nice,” “play fair” and “don’t steal from others”?


This is what I have been saying all along. Alas, still no Nobel Peace Prize for me.


The Dalai Lama would be the first to admit that wisdom is more simple than complex. Ethics is common sense put into practice.


It is not enough to be a character — you need to have it, too.


It is true that my parents did not have the glow in their eyes that the Dalai Lama has when they said, “Hit your sister and you will be grounded until adulthood.”


There was not the same benign smile on my lips when I passed along commandments to my offspring.


But the golden rule is still the golden rule, no matter what language. I taught it. I try to live it.


It is not easy. I would rather do unto others before they do unto me, rather than doing to them what I would like done to me. It is a subtle, but significant, difference.


Sure, the Dalai Lama is not only ethereal — he is down-to-earth. This is a major feat. He is a kind man who lives out his wisdom. This must be the key to his success. That and the fact that he is very smart.


Actually, one can make a case for the benefits of nagging. Most of us do not listen well and need people to remind us of what good behavior is. Grant that it is irritating, but it works much of the time.


I might be a statistic if it were not for my mother. She warned me every time I left the garage in my car to “be careful.”


Sometimes, we need to be nagged. Sometimes, it works.


• Mike McLellan can be contacted by calling and leaving a message at 830-4201 or e-mailing him at

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