Promoting Peace with Universal Ethics

Today, there is an exponential increase in the number of young people going through mental health issues. This is a major crisis of today’s world. With this, the question arises how to solve the problem.

We see so many wars, conflicts and terrorist attacks happening, supposedly in the name of religion. Wherever His Holiness the Dalai Lama travels, there are people, educationists, social workers, and medical experts, all asking one question: what is the problem with the world? The world is going through such a crisis with terrorism, corruption, gender discrimination, the gap between the rich and poor, and then youth mental issues. Today, there is an exponential increase in the number of young people with mental health issues – so much so that it has become a major crisis. So, how can we solve these problems?

In the case of mental health issues, we need to ask why there is such an increase in these problems, when modern education is meant to solve such issues. What exactly is the problem? How does it arise? This is the common question asked of His Holiness. Without hesitation, His Holiness says that it’s because there’s a loophole in the modern education system. The loophole is that our educational system is primarily designed to build up intelligence. In a class, if we say that two plus two equals four, then we pass. With the tremendously beautiful heart, altruism and charisma that we might have, if we say that two plus two equals four-ish, then we fail. No one is going to count on the heart! Only the brain is given credence.

This is what is responsible. Developing the brain alone doesn’t guarantee happiness for the world, or that there will be trust and love and compassion amongst humanity. On a practical level, what can be the driving force, the impetus to drive humanity to greater peace and harmony? It is the heart, our human heart.

To ensure that the world can prosper without compromising this heart, wisdom is also needed. Wisdom and heart should go hand in hand. Bearing this in mind, then as an anchor of ethics and morality, what is universal is a compassionate heart. No one denies this. Whether one is a non-believer or religious, educated or illiterate, it doesn’t matter. Everybody rejoices and loves to have somebody showing them affection and concern. Keep in mind that ethics, at the root, is compassion – love and compassion toward others.

The next question is what can we do? How can we promote this? Firstly, centers across the world can help. For instance, at the Center for Ethics and Values at Ramanujan College here in Delhi, a huge project is being conducted under the auspices of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to promote universal ethics.

Then we need to think, in what ways can we act to inspire others to become more compassionate? That should not be in the form of a cult, but in the form of openness, consideration and warmth. We might not be able to bring about a dramatic change in the world, but at least we can try to influence those around us who surely can act more compassionately, but who might not have the idea to do so. How can we influence others? If we are unable to meet with people who can influence the world, then we need to investigate how we can at least spread the word about the importance of compassion, irrespective of who the other people are, particularly among youngsters. After all, hope for the future lies with the young people of today.