The Dalai Lama Just Tweeted About Education Instead Of Religion And It Has Gone Wildly Viral (TWEET)

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The internationally popular spiritual leader of Tibet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, tweets! Who knew? Early Monday he sent a tweet that has gone viral, retweeted and favorited close to 30,000 times. The surprise is that he believes that education is more important than prayer and religious teachings.

The Dalai Lama spoke at the Vana Retreat Centre Dehradun in Dehradun, India last week:

‘During almost the whole of my life, I’ve been witness to killing and violence. If things continue this way, the 21st century will end up being as violent as the century that went before. Violence always brings suffering and yet no one wants suffering, we all want to live in peace.’

‘Those of us who belong to the old generation who created so many of these problems have a responsibility to indicate what’s wrong and how we may achieve a happier humanity.’

His host Veer Singh referred to him as a “torch bearer of the Buddha’s message.”

‘Brothers and sisters, when Analjit Singh, who has become a close friend, invited me to come, I couldn’t refuse. I really appreciate the work you are doing here and I’m glad to see that people have come from far and wide.’

‘One of the things I’m committed to doing is sharing with others my sense that as human beings we are all the same. I am more comfortable thinking of myself as just one of the 7 billion human beings alive today.’

‘If I were to think of myself as the Dalai Lama, as somehow different from others, it would leave me lonely and create a barrier between me and others.

His Holiness is not caught in the past. During his speech, he mentioned scientists and medical researchers have proof that “basic human nature is compassionate,” and that gives him great hope. He continued, saying:

‘We all come from a mother, even terrorists and merciless dictators. This is an experience that we all have in common.’

In a nutshell, he defined the problem:

‘The problem is that although our basic nature is to be kind, affectionate and compassionate towards others, and we tend to be like that as children, we seem to lose these qualities as we grow up. We no longer feel the need to care about others, exploiting them, bullying them and lying to them instead.’

‘We become inured to others’ suffering so that if a tiger kills someone it’s news, but when there are reports of people killing each other, we are almost indifferent to them.’

His Holiness believes our education system fails us because it focuses on materialistic goals. Religion used to teach us “inner values,” but:

‘Today, however, 1 billion human beings declare they have no interest in religion and of the remaining 6 billion there are many who are either insincere or corrupt in their religious observance, putting it mostly to divisive uses.’

‘I believe that thinking only of your own comfort and peace to the neglect of other troubles in the world is immoral. The time has come for us to consider seriously how to change our way of life, not through prayer or religious teaching, but through education.’

In his speech, he said we need a “system approach to exploring inner values” so that we can “create a more peaceful world:”

‘This involves thinking about the future.’

The Dalai Lama tells us that being short-sighted and narrow-minded results in people living in ignorance, but India with its variety of people, shows us that “different religious traditions can live in harmony, side-by-side:”

‘Just as we observe physical hygiene to preserve our physical wellbeing, in order to maintain a healthy mind we also need to observe emotional hygiene.’

He believes that:

‘Inner disarmament would be the most effective means of gun control and would also be the starting point for a denuclearized world.’

The Dalai Lama also said we need to educate a new generation to use dialogue to resolves conflicts, not violence:

‘If that could be done there would be hope of this becoming a century of peace.’

Featured Image: Christopher Michel via Flickr, Creative Commons License, with some modification.

H/T: The Dalai Lama.