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The Dalai Lama spoke at the 2014 Heart-Mind Summit organized by the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education. He was speaking to an audience that had come together to "be the village", to take responsibility for what he calls "educating the hearts of our children".
Our care for others, says the Dalai Lama, is rich and powerful when we are young. We see no differences between those around us and ourselves. We care for others as we would care for ourselves. He believes that somewhere down the line as we go through school and enter adulthood we lose this innate sense of compassion. He wonders why.
He argues that in the past, this perhaps made sense. Practically, it may have once been wise to focus on yourself rather than others as a matter of self-preservation. But the Dalai Lama believes that this time has passed. Today, not only is it unecessary to think only of yourself – we don't face the same day-to-day dangers we once did – but it is imperative that we build a deep caring for others.
The Dalai Lama says this begins at home and in the schools. He believes parents and educators have a unique ability to nurture the positive human qualities children are born with – affection, sense of community, a sense of social responsibilty.
He knows it can't be done with a flip of a switch, but the Dalai Lama suggests that if even one person takes this message of "educating the heart" into his or her everyday life, then that one person can turn into 10, then into 100 and so on. He believes we all have the power to start this ripple effect.
The Dalai Lama paints a powerful picture when he says this is not just a well-intentioned ideal. It is the very essence of the "survival of humanity".