Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"our" summer reading

Just started this book, and already it makes so much sence, but i am a slow reader, and I have so many other things to do this is just a small sample from the Introduction.

"Considering others when pursuing our own happiness leads us to what I call "wise self-interest," which hopefully will transform itself into "compromised self-interest" or better still, "mutual interest." Some people think that cultivating compassion is good for others but not necessarily for themselves, but this is wrong. You are the one who benefits most directly since compassion immediately instills in you a sense of calm (nowadays medical researchers have shown in scientitic studies that a calm mind is essential for good health), inner strength, and a deep conficence and satisfaction, whereas it is not certain that the object of your feeling of compassion will benefit. Love and compassion open our own inner life, reducing stress, distrust, and loneliness. I quite agree with a Western doctor who recently told me that those people who often use the words I, my, and me are at greater risk of having a heart attack. When, because of self-centeredness, your view is narrowed to yourself, even a small problem will seem unbearable.

Although increasing interdependence among nations might be expected to generate more cooperation, it is difficult to achieve a spirit of genuine cooperation as long as people remain indifferent to the feelings and happiness of others. When people are motivated mostly by greed and jealousy, it is not possible for them to live in harmony. A spiritual approach may not provide an overnight solution to all the political problems caused by our present self-centered approach, but in the long run it will address the very basis of the problms that we face today, removing them at the root.

The world is becoming smaller now, to the degree that all parts of the world are obviously part of yourself. Thus, destruction of your enemy is destruction of yourself. The very concept of war is outdated. If the twentieth century was the century of bloodshed, the twenty-first has to be the century of dialogue.

If humankind continues to approach its problems from the perspective of temporary expediency, future generations will face tremendous difficulties. Global population is increasing, and our resources are being rapidly depleted. Consider the ruinous effects of massive deforestation on the climate, the soil, and the global ecology as a whole. We are facing calamity because, guided by expediency and selfish interests, and not thinking of the entire family of living beings, we are not taking into account the earth and the long-term needs of life itself. If we do not think about these issues now, future generations may not be able to cope with them."

- His Holiness the Dalai Lama 2006