Dalai Lama and Lady Gaga Talk Compassion at US Conference of Mayors
Wrapping up his most recent visit to the United States, His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke before 200 of the country’s mayors in Indianapolis on Sunday, giving the keynote speech, titled “Compassion as a Pillar of World Peace,” at the 84th Meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors.
Before joining the conference proper, His Holiness held a 20-minute interview with pop singer Lady Gaga that was streamed live on Facebook, during which the Tibetan spiritual leader fielded questions gathered from social media on subjects ranging from meditation and mental health to social injustice.
Asked which type of meditation practice he has found to be the most effective, the Dalai Lama explained, “According to Indian tradition, there are two types of meditation: one type of meditation is single-pointed meditation; your mind remains focused on a certain thing . . . just remaining with a clarity of mind. . . . Another kind of meditation is analytical meditation.” He added, “For me, analytical meditation is much more powerful . . . analyzing what the cause is of the suffering.” (Lady Gaga Facebook)
On the subject of helping young people cope with issues such as poor self-esteem, addiction, and self-harm, His Holiness explained that rather than surrendering to materialism, it is essential to realize that “compassion is part of our life. Your mental attitude is [a] key factor. Your mental attitude is sound with self-confidence and foresightedness.” (YouTube)
“Despite it being our human nature to be compassionate, modern education is focused on external and material goals. There are always problems to face, but it makes a difference if our minds are calm. On the surface we may get upset, but it makes a difference if we are able to stay calm in the depths of our minds,” he said. “We are social animals, so our future depends on the rest of the community. Therefore, paying more attention to inner values like love and compassion are the right approach.” (His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet)
Following the interview, the Dalai Lama went on to address the 6,400 people gathered for the conference, during which his message continued to focus on the importance of cultivating compassion and accepting personal responsibility for creating change in the world.
“It’s a great honor to meet so many mayors of this great nation. I always think of the United States as the leader of the free world. It’s a country known for technological innovation. Your principles are freedom, democracy, and liberty, and these qualities are related to warm-heartedness, a respect for others, and a concern for others’ well-being,” the Dalai Lama said to the assembled audience. “These are not slogans but related to a mental attitude. So I hope and believe that this nation can take the lead in building a more compassionate world.” (Phayul)
Throughout his speech, His Holiness made several appeals for global peace, describing compassion as the antidote to anger, frustration, and violence. “Now scientists even say, basic human nature is compassionate,” he noted. “The compassionate feeling toward your enemy, the troublemaker . . . only we human beings can do that.” (USA Today)
“Change in humanity must start from individuals. We created this violence, so we can reduce this violence,” His Holiness emphasized, observing that world peace must start with inner peace. (USA Today)
After the speech, the Dalai Lama was joined by Lady Gaga and businessman Philip Anschutz for a panel discussion on topics that divide society, including race and sexual orientation.
The United States Conference of Mayors is a non-partisan organization formed in 1932 for cities with a population of 30,000 or more, which are each represented by their mayor or another chief elected official. Committees and task forces within the organizations develop policies on which the entire body votes before sending their resolutions to the federal government in Washington, DC.
Interviewed by Lady Gaga Before Addressing the US Conference of Mayors (His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet)
Lady Gaga and Dalai Lama talk kindness (YouTube)
Dalai Lama, Lady Gaga Talk Kindness at US Mayors Conference (NBC New York)
Dalai Lama, Lady Gaga talk compassion with US mayors (Phayul)
Dalai Lama stresses compassion, harmony in Indy visit (USA Today)
The United States Conference of Mayors