The Dalai Lama Speaks Out about Paris Attacks
In the wake of last Friday’s coordinated bombings and shootings in Paris in which 129 people died, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, a longtime vocal peace advocate, has called on individuals to take personal responsibility for bringing about peace in the world, rather than looking outside for help from God or governments.
The 1989 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, a symbol of compassion and humanitarianism for millions of followers across the world, has repeatedly emphasized the need for non-violent solutions in conflict resolution. His voice in the wake of the Paris attacks joined a growing chorus of religious leaders and peace activists across the globe to express sadness at the events, including such prominent members of the Buddhist community as HH the Gyalwang Drukpa, Kalu Rinpoche, Dilgo Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Jack Kornfield, and Sharon Salzberg.
Speaking from India, His Holiness condemned the terror attacks in the French capital, saying, “Violence is a reaction by short-sighted, out-of-control people. At 81, I believe it cannot be resolved through prayers or government help. We have to begin the change at individual level and then move on to neighborhood and society.” (Phayul.com)
“People want to lead a peaceful lives [sic],” His Holiness told German state-run broadcaster Deutsche Welle in an interview. “The terrorists are shortsighted, and this is one of the causes of rampant suicide bombings. We cannot solve this problem only through prayers. I am a Buddhist and I believe in praying. But humans have created this problem, and now we are asking God to solve it. It is illogical. God would say, solve it yourself because you created it in the first place.”
The Dalai Lama observed that the escalating violence we are witnessing is merely an extension of the cycle of wars and destruction perpetuated in the 20th century. “We now see a spillover of the previous century’s bloodshed in this century,” he continued. “If we emphasize more on non-violence and harmony, we can herald a new beginning. Unless we make serious attempts to achieve peace, we will continue to see a replay of the mayhem humanity experienced in the 20th century. We need a systematic approach to foster humanistic values, of oneness and harmony. If we start doing it now, there is hope that this century will be different from the previous one.” (Deutsche Welle)
He noted that giving precedence to the blind pursuit of wealth and economic growth over moral principles would only lead to further trouble and instability at a global level. However, His Holiness maintained that peace, compassion, and religious tolerance are still achievable goals, providing people are willing to learn from the past.
“I think that only a small percentage of people subscribe to the violent discourse. We are human beings, and there is no basis or justification for killing others. If you consider others as brothers and sisters and respect their rights, then there is no room for violence,” he said. “The problems that we are facing today are the result of superficial differences over religious faiths and nationalities. We are one people.” (Deutsche Welle)
Dalai Lama on Paris attacks: 'Work for peace, and don't expect help from God and governments' (Deutsche Welle)
Dalai Lama, Tibetan PM condemn Paris attacks (Phayul.com)
Buddhist communities, figures respond to Paris attacks (Lion’s Roar)
His Holiness the Dalai Lama is Chief Guest at Lovely Professional University’s Fifth Convocation (The Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama)