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<-Back to WTN Archives While science gets us physical comforts, spirituality brings us mental calm, says the Dalai Lama (TOI)
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World Tibet Network News

Published by the Canada Tibet Committee

Sunday, February 12, 2006

3. While science gets us physical comforts, spirituality brings us mental calm, says the Dalai Lama (TOI)

The Times Of India
February 12, 2006

I believe there is a genuine relation between modern science and internal spirituality. Our bodies are the platform for all pleasure and pain at the sensory level. At the same time, we have a sophisticated mind, which keeps track of things at the psychological level. Between these two, the experience of pain and pleasure on the mental level is superior. One could be physically ill but still be mentally happy and content. In fact, physical pain can be subdued by mental calm.

It is the basic right of all beings to achieve a happy, successful life. Today’s material world is a product of science and technology — both of which bring comfort to humanity. Advancement in science and technology is helping people remedy their problems. Which is why we need to be aware of both. But, can science and technology eliminate pain at the mental level? Unfortunately, modern machines can manufacture everything but a happy mind. And treatment on the physical level can’t change your mental disposition.

I would say, while science gets us physical comforts, spirituality brings us mental calm. With the ever-growing impact of science on our lives, religion and spirituality have a greater role to play in reminding us of our humanity. There is no contradiction between the two. Each gives us valuable insights into the other.

The potential antidote to your stress lies in the mind itself. One must be compassionate to avoid tension. Spirituality deals with the mind. By nature, compassion is the source of inner strength and happiness. It is the extremely narrow-minded and selfcentred person who is always worried about something or the other. If you place your worries within a larger perspective, you will realise just how trivial they are.
This is the 21st century — if there is major progress, there are also major problems. In such a situation, awareness is important, warmth is important. It doesn’t matter whether you believe in God or a next life, we need to create a balance between science and spirituality. If the two remain distant, we’re headed for trouble. On the other hand, only radical, materialistic thoughts point towards all matter and no mind. If we don’t consider the importance of our inner feelings, we will become like machines and lose many precious feelings. We must keep our emotions — they bring colour to life. Training of the mind reduces negative emotions and promotes positive feelings. Which means we have the capacity to reduce negative emotions ourselves.

What is spirituality, anyway? In ancient times, communities remained isolated from each other — be it Indians, Chinese, Arabs — they all developed certain philosophies, thoughts and concepts that made them believe they were the best in every field. In today’s global world, realities have changed. We cannot afford to propagate our own beliefs or run down the other’s faiths. That will only make things complicated.

There are two levels of spirituality — the first deals with basic human emotions. Even medical scientists have begun to realise and accept that the mental element — karuna — is very important for health, happiness and success. At another level, spirituality is your belief in religion. I believe the concept of God was created to increase love, compassion, tolerance and understanding for humanity. Ancient Indians thought of the theory of karma to strengthen basic human values. To believe or not to believe in these theories is totally the choice of the individual.

Once you find your reality through investigation, you must accept it. If one finds a reality that is different from what is written in the scriptures, we should have the liberty to change them. I’m Buddhist. If I refuse to budge from my faith, I should believe the world is still flat. If I stay with religion and away from science, I will be living in an unreal world. There are two extremes — denigration and exaggeration. It is up to the individual to find the levels of reality between these two.

By invoking fundamental ethical principles, I am not advocating a fusion of religious ethics and scientific inquiry. Rather, I am speaking of what I call ‘secular ethics’ that embrace the key ethical principles, such as compassion and tolerance — principles that transcend the barriers between religious believers and non-believers, and followers of various religions.
6. So Long, Dalai Lama: Google Adapts to China (NYT)

Articles in this Issue:
  1. Yadav writes letters to Prez, PM with his blood (UNI)
  2. Dalai Lama calls for world peace, the Buddha way (IANS)
  3. While science gets us physical comforts, spirituality brings us mental calm, says the Dalai Lama (TOI)
  4. Reviews of recent books on faith and values

Other articles this month - WTN Index - Mail the WTN-Editors

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