The 14th Dalai Lama launched his three-day Global Compassion Summit Sunday at the Honda Center in Anaheim with a speech and dialogue about the transformative power of creativity and art.
Nobel Peace laureates and thousands of the Dalai Lama’s followers were in attendance. A string of celebrities including Josh Radnor, George Lopez, MC Hammer and Randy Jackson were also present. Television personality and journalist Ann Curry was the main speaker at the event.
The event began with introductions and short speeches from the laureates and celebrities, commemorating the Dalai Lama’s birthday.
“He [Dalai Lama] may be a simple Buddhist monk, but he is the most rocking, compassionate simple Buddhist monk I know,” said Anti-landmines campaigner and Nobel Peace laureate Jodi Williams.
“We won’t be happy until everyone is happy,” explained Professor of Buddhist Studies at Columbia University Robert Thurman before greeting the Dalai Lama a happy birthday.
The Dalai Lama was also presented an eight-foot-high birthday cake at the end of the long string of introductions and short speeches from the laureates and celebrities.
After the presentation of the cake, the Dalai Lama gave his speech regarding compassion.
He opened his speech describing his perceptions when arriving at Anaheim, “the city of kindness.” The Buddhist monk reported that everyone in the stadium showed genuine peace, love and compassion than “just for show.” The Dalai Lama proceeded to make the stance that peace is achievable in his lifetime.
The monk emphasized that a desire to have a more “compassionate world,” but stressed the necessity of hard work in order to achieve it. He proceeded to highlight that compassion is not biased towards a particular race, religion, or belief.
The Dalai Lama also emphasized the moral responsibility of every human being in order to achieve a more compassionate world. The monk argued that one must first care for the individual or self, then the family, then the community in order to make the world more compassionate.
The Buddhist monk also touched on the issue of religion. The Dalai Lama emphasized a desire for religious harmony. The monk explained that there are various religions and beliefs throughout the world, but all generally emphasize the same message of peace, tolerance and understanding.
After his speech, the Dalai Lama answered various questions in a dialogue from the Ann Curry and the other laureates and celebrities on the stage.
Curry opened the discussion with, “Why do you care so much about compassion?”
Responding to Curry’s first question, the Dalai Lama recounted a Tibetan Buddhist prayer, but was quick to emphasize the duality of prayer and action.
“There are many religions [in] the world. They have the values of love, forgiveness, and peace. So? You have to do something, otherwise its hypocrisy,” explained the Dalai Lama.
The Buddhist monk emphasized that he wants to create a more compassionate world. Action rather than excessive preaching would achieve that goal.
“As long as suffering remains, I remain,” said the Dalai Lama before proceeding to the next question.
Curry continued the dialogue with the following question, “What can we, the people, do?”
The Dalai Lama first emphasized mastery of compassion and reality. The mastery over a peaceful mind would become the path to a healthy body.
The monk continued to highlight the importance of taking action “constantly and tirelessly…so at the time of death more people remember what you did.”
George Lopez also posed the following, “How can social media be more positive?” The comedian also stressed the issue of adverse criticism on the Internet.
The Dalai Lama responded by stating, “there is nothing wrong with criticism.”
The monk recalled a time when his educational tutor had a whip or some type of object in order to keep him concentrated on his studies. He proceeded to state that harsh and constructive criticism out of love and concern is peace. However criticism out of hatred and jealousy must be moderated.
The Buddhist monk explained two leading mental facilities: intellect and emotion. During moments of criticism, the mental facility of intellect must be at work, analyzing the criticism and what can be done to improve. However the facility of emotion must be calm.
The Dalai Lama likened this situation to the ocean. The waves may be chaotic at times, but underneath them is serenity and calmness.
Randy Jackson and MC Hammer proceeded to speak about compassion and the arts.
Hammer stated that one’s spirit comes or expression reveals itself in art. Jackson proceeded to say that being compassionate is a choice.
“Writing a compassionate lyric is a choice…I once heard Jay Z, instead of talking about the streets and the hood, talk about the Illuminati,” explained Jackson.
The music producer emphasized that performers should not be afraid to use their influence as artists to change the world and their listeners.
Among one of the final questions in the dialogue, a question was raised about the issue of the negative lifestyle portrayed in the media.
The Dalai Lama explained that such a lifestyle begins in education. The monk argued that proper education deepens values and they further deepen one’s culture. The individual must be educated and experience in order to cling to his or her values.
“They [billionaires and the wealthy] are unhappy with their life, but they are educated…this shows that education is not adequate…it [education] must give mental comfort,” said the Dalai Lama.
At the end of the dialogue, the audience of 18,000 gave the Dalai Lama a standing ovation.
The speech and the dialogue closed the first day of the Dalai Lama’s three-day Global Compassion Summit in Orange County.
The Dalai Lama will continue his Global Compassion Summit at UC Irvine, speaking about education, experience, and leadership.