Dalai Lama's Millennium Message
by Dalai Lama
Many people seem to be excited about the new
millennium, but the new millennium in itself will be nothing
special. As we enter into the new millennium things will be the
same; there will be nothing unusual. However, if we really want
the next millennium to be happier, more peaceful and more
harmonious for humankind we will have to make the effort to make
it so. This is in our hands, but especially in the hands of the
We have had many experiences during
this century - constructive as well as extremely destructive
ones. We must learn from these experiences. We need to approach
the next millennium more holistically, with more openness and
farsightedness. If we are going to make the right kind of
efforts to make the future of the world better, I believe the
following matters are of great importance.
engaging in material progress and taking care of physical
well-being we need to pay equal attention to developing peace of
mind and thus taking care of the internal aspect of our being.
2. Along with education, which generally deals only with
academic accomplishments, we need to develop more altruism and a
sense of caring and responsibility for others in the minds of
the younger generation studying in various educational
institutions. This can be done without necessarily involving
religion. One could therefore call this 'secular ethics', as it
in fact consists of basic human qualities such as kindness,
compassion, sincerity and honesty.
3. This past century
in some ways has been a century of war and bloodshed. It has
seen a year by year increase in defense spending by most
countries in the world. If we are to change this trend we must
seriously consider the concept of non-violence, which is a
physical expression of compassion. In order to make non-violence
a reality we must first work on internal disarmament and then
proceed to work on external disarmament. By internal disarmament
I mean ridding ourselves of all the negative emotions that
result in violence. External disarmament will also have to be
done gradually, step by step. We must first work on the total
abolishment of nuclear weapons and gradually work up to total
demilitarisation throughout the world. In the process of doing
this we also need to work towards stopping the arms trade, which
is still very widely practiced because it is so lucrative. When
we do all these things, we can then hope to see in the next
millennium a year by year decrease in the military expenditure
of the various nations and a gradual working towards
demilitarisation. Human problems will, of course, always remain,
but the way to resolve them should be through dialogue and
discussion. The next century should be a century of dialogue and
discussion rather than one of war and bloodshed.
need to address the issue of the gap between the rich and the
poor, both globally and nationally. This inequality, with some
sections of the human community having abundance and others on
the same planet going hungry or even dying of starvation, is not
only morally wrong, but practically also a source of problems.
Equally important is the issue of freedom. As long as there is
no freedom in many parts of the world there can be no real peace
and in a sense no real freedom for the rest of the world.
5. For the sake of our future generations, we need to take
care of our earth and of our environment. Environmental damage
is often gradual and not easily apparent and by the time we
become aware of it, it is generally too late.
of the major rivers flowing into many parts of south-east Asia
originate from the Tibetan plateau, it will not be out of place
to mention here the crucial importance of taking care of the
environment in that area.
6. Lastly, one of the greatest
challenges today is the population explosion.
are able to tackle this issue effectively we will be confronted
with the problem of the natural resources being inadequate for
all the human beings on this earth.
We need to seriously
look into these matters that concern us all if we are to look
forward to the future with some hope.
About The Author
the Dali Lama through the Department of Information and
International Relations Central Tibetan Administration,
Dharamsala - 176215 H.P. INDIA. Telephone no : 0091-1892-22457,
22510, 24662; Fax no : 0091-1892-24957