Lesson
12

Compassionate Society

1 of 7

Understanding our reality, the Dalai Lama shows, compels us to tackle not only our own individual problems but at the same time those of society and the world. If our commitment to the ideal of concern for others does not inform social and political policies, our approaches are likely to harm instead of serve humanity as a whole. Universal responsibility demands such an expansive sense of compassion.

For the world to change, each individual must attempt to counter their negative thoughts and emotions and practice compassion for its inhabitants irrespective of whether or not we have direct relationships with them. We must, I believe, take practical steps to acknowledge our responsibility to all others both now and in the future. Ethics for the New Millennium

Does it matter if policies are motivated by compassion or by factors such as economics or national interest?

How might the motivation of compassion affect policies that will affect the future? Will the commitment to compassion affect one's view of the long term vs. the short term?

If you consider your community and nation, what political and social polices do you see that you would say are inconsistent with compassion and concern for others?

In this lesson we look at several areas of social action from this perspective: education, the media, the natural environment, politics and economics.

The Dalai Lama does not offer his views as an expert in these areas and acknowledges that opinions are bound to vary. But he offers them with the aspiration that they stimulate our thinking.

For although it would not be surprising to see a divergence of opinion concerning how they are to be translated into actual policies, the need for compassion, for basic spiritual values, for inner discipline and the importance of ethical conduct generally are in my view incontrovertible. Ethics for the New Millennium