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Don Chapman

Aloha, Dalai Lama

The 14th Dalai Lama ended a four-day Oahu visit last week on the Windward side, including Kualoa park and Kailua High School, where he recognized the remarkable Philosophy for Children program, which is helping the school achieve its goal of a ‘compassionate and violence-free campus.’ The monk to the left was part of the Dalai Lama’s retinue

Why did the Dalai Lama visit Kailua High School last week? To recognize the remarkable Philosophy for Children program that is helping the campus achieve the goal of being violence-free and compassionate

After spending four days covering the 14th Dalai Lama’s visit to Oahu, I’ve been asked by friends and colleagues which of the eight opportunities to observe, hear and interact with the Nobel Peace Laureate was my favorite.

From a strictly personal perspective, it was getting to shake his hand – twice! – and to ask the last question he answered from media in his final event here. (See accompanying column.)

But from a global perspective, which is how His Holiness tends to look at things, it was his visit to Kailua High School last Monday. Hard to say who was more uplifting, the Dalai Lama or the Kailua student body, and the Philosophy for Children program that is the bedrock of the KHS curriculum.

Let me put it to you like this: Name all the public high schools in America where the principal can begin an all-school assembly by saying with a straight face, as Francine Honda did, speaking to students:

“Thank you for your compassion, for your ability to think ‘outside’ with yourself and with others, and for your willingness to practice peace and understanding.”

She went on to praise KHS students for learning to “listen with empathy,” which is one of the “Habits of the Mind” that is also a basic part of the school’s core.

And how many high schools are there where the superintendent of schools can ask for a show of appreciation for faculty and staff, as Kathryn Matayoshi did, and students cheer loud and long?

What the John Locke is going on here? Turns out that the home of the Surfriders is also the home of a peace-on-campus pilot program that after five years is resulting in higher grades and fewer disciplinary problems, and higher self-esteem that is genuinely achieved.

It also turns out that what Kailua students are learning jibes very well with the Dalai Lama’s teaching of “secular ethics and morals.” As he emphasized at both his public talks at Stan Sheriff Center and again at KHS: “It is not necessary to be a religious person to practice compassion and understanding. No.”

Thus his visit to the scenic Windward campus at the foot of Mount Olomana that aspires to be “compassionate and violence-free.”

In my thinking, human beings are like flowers. And to make a beautiful garden, you need many kinds of flowers. -Dalai Lama, Bishop Museum,April 14

Three days before the Dalai Lama began his visit on April 13 – perhaps the luckiest Friday the 13th ever in Honolulu – I visited the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Department of Philosophy to learn about Philosophy for Children (p4c).

I left in awe and wonder, and that’s speaking as a guy whose undergrad degree is in education and who spent some time in the classroom before fleeing to a career in journalism. What they’re doing in Kailua is radical, revolutionary, and it’s showing tangible results.

In addition to Kailua High, p4c also is being implemented at Waikiki Elementary, where kindergartners recently sat at a round table with their teacher enquiring on the topic of “assumptions.”

“This is philosophy with a lower-case ‘p,’” says Benjamin Lukey, Ph.D., associate director of the UH Department of Philosophy. “There is an overlap of ideas with the Dalai Lama’s teaching … it’s especially strong in the active practice.”

“This is philosophy as an activity, something you do,” says Chad Miller, who is attached to the university and was recently named Hawaii state teacher of the year for 2012 (which landed him in a photo in MidWeek‘s recent auto show cover story with the electric car he gets to use), and who on Friday flew to Washington, D.C., to meet with President Obama.

In the classroom, it begins with a wonderfully liberating concept, “intellectual security.” Meaning, Miller says, any idea is welcomed at the roundtable of enquiry. And students are given a “Good Thinker’s Toolkit” as a guide to pose a philosophical question – WRAITEC for short: W for what, R for reasons, A for assumptions, I for infer, T for truth, E for examples, and C for counter examples.

“Kids,” says Miller, “can be themselves … they have a voice, and their voice and ideas are heard and respected.”

Italicized student comments here are in response to questions posed by MidWeek.

My initial expression of P for C was totally shocking because other schools I have been to never taught me how to pose great and philosophical questions. I had never been challenged to think a lot about certain things, so when I first learned about philosophical thinking I was totally shocked. I have learned a lot through philosophical thinking because it helps me pose questions for myself that I can follow back on and learn. -Christian Kama, KHS senior, who because of time constraints was not able to ask the Dalai Lama this question in a Q&A with students: “How do you spread compassion and peace to people who don’t want to be taught?”

The real destroyer of peace of mind is fear. Fear develops frustration. Frustration develops anger. Anger develops violence … Self-respect reduces fear. -Dalai Lama, Stan Sheriff Center, April 14

At Kailua High, Philosophy for Children began in 2005 as an after-school elective program – with the goal of increasing understanding of both your own ethnic group(s) and other ethnics, and promoting understanding and appreciation of all. It became part of the KHS course offerings the following year, and the next year Principal Honda declared ethnic studies a graduation requirement for all students, making KHS the first school in the U.S. with such a mandate.

“Philosophy for Children is at the core of ethnic studies,” says Lukey.

“It spread across campus and became a school-wide initiative,” says Miller, adding one of the goals is to educate young people to “be able to think and ask questions.”

And it’s required in the freshman year, to initiate students in p4c principles such as “scratching below the surface” as early as possible.

“The class always sits in a circle,” adds Lukey, who with Miller serves as Philosopher in Residence at KHS, to aid both teachers and students. In the circled “community of enquiry,” the quest for truth while peeling back layers of reality and unreality, and possibility, “became a more rigorous quest” as students adapted to the new way of teaching and learning, and as they grew from freshmen to seniors. Though conversations and questions can be lively, “it’s not a debate,” but a means to “understand themselves and others … to be a good thinker with greater awareness.”

P4C allowed me to share my thoughts with my peers so that we could “get into the deep end of the pool” with discussions that were brought up. Listening to what everyone had to say and how others responded and interacted with each other in an intellectually safe way was the highlight of this experience … Throughout my four years in high school, I noticed that I gradually transformed my thinking and views in order to be a better philosophical thinker. This means that I am better at challenging my thoughts and that I am able to understand “thinking about thinking.” -Sierra Kadooka, KHS senior who presented a student-made Peace Quilt to the Dalai Lama

Fear – some is realistic, some is unrealistic. My favorite word is realistic. -Dalai Lama, Stan Sheriff Center, April 15

The father of p4c in Hawaii is Tom Jackson, Ph.D., a.k.a. Dr. J. The director of the UH Department of Philosophy’s p4c program (and a co-founder of the Hawaii International Film Festival in another incarnation) tells the story of a Kailua student who would walk into a classroom, slouch insolently, announce he didn’t give a bleep about this class or anybody, and who may or may not have dabbled in various substances. Through his introduction to ethnic studies and p4c, his attitude and behavior changed, as did his grades, and his life for the better.

Jackson’s inspiration/mentor is Matthew Lipman, who was disgusted with what he saw in his daughter’s school and wrote a book with philosophical content for sixth-graders, Harry Stottlemeier’s Discovery. He was subsequently fascinated to see students soak up the concepts and discuss them in depth.

“So he said, if it works for sixth-graders, let’s try fifth!” says Jackson.

He did, on down the grades, and it kept working. Thus, Waikiki El first-graders sat down at a round table recently to enquire on the subject of, “What if there were no grown-ups in Hawaii?”

Among the student questions: “What is a grown-up?”

Parents, schools and society, says Lukey, “really underestimate kids.”

Jackson emphasizes that the circles of enquiry “do not try for closure or consensus. We talk about the ‘courage to be confused.’”

Now that I am a senior, I am able to see how much of an impact P for C has had on my thinking process. Freshman year, I would barely scratch the surface on my answers to prompts, though over the years I have learned how to think outside the box. I learned how to stretch my own thinking so that when it came time to bring up my ideas in the actual discussion, we are able to take it even deeper and discover answers that many people probably would not have thought of. The thinking process that was established in me through P for C also helps me in other subjects such as math and science, because it taught me how to think deeper, to use my resources to my advantage in order to obtain the best answer that I can. This program has also helped me outside of the classroom, and through thinking deeper or ‘outside’ helped me to become a better person. For example it has made it easier for me to see from other people’s shoes when they present ideas or express concerns, and allowed me to become more understanding and avoid many conflicts throughout my high school career. -Caitlin Hooker, KHS senior, who asked the first question of the Dalai Lama: “If we lived in a world with no pain and destruction, would we still understand and promote peace? If so what are the reasons for promoting it?”

I don’t know your (Hawaiian) language – ua ua ua – but we can exchange smiles … our eyes show sincerity. -Dalai Lama, in a meeting with native Hawaiian leaders, East-West Center, April 15

“Philosophy for Children also reenergizes teachers,” says Amber Makaiau, Ph.D., who is affiliated with the university and teaches ethnic studies at KHS. “You’re no longer a rote animal.”

Gone are the days when teachers lectured, assigned reading and threw pop quizzes.

The “community of enquiry” used in p4c has spread beyond ethnic studies, and is now used in everything from English to psychology. And teachers, says Makaiau, have formed their own inter-departmental committees of enquiry.

Based on feedback from UH research, teacher reports, student responses and community comments, tweaks have been made to p4c since 2004, the philosophy department working in collaboration with the Asian/Pacific Islander Youth Violence Prevention Center at UH-Manoa and Cal State University-Sacramento.

While there are not currently direct ties between the UH philosophy department and the College of Education, some teachers-to-be drift over – that’s how Miller and Makaiau got involved. “But we’d love it if p4c became a graduation requirement,” says Miller.

He says several schools are interested in adapting the program (but funds and resources are short), and Kuhio Elementary is working with UH to implement p4c there. And Marc Tolentino, who taught at Kailua and is now teaching English at Mililani High, is leading a professional development group for interested teachers.

I was in English class and we all sat in a circle. My thoughts on this were that it was a very weird and awkward way of teaching kids. But I was very interested and began to like it. It was a brand new way of learning in English class. We weren’t just reading a book and doing reading/writing assignments. We would discuss topics and problems in society/the world and voice our opinions. We use these things called “community balls,” which is a ball of yarn that the class makes by introducing themselves, thus this is made by the community. We use this ball to throw to people and whoever has the ball may speak an opinion or answer the question or topic. This made learning for me very good because it got people to be interactive and involved in class instead of just the usual sitting and reading. – Jeremiah Kaahanui-Frankovic, KHS senior, third student to ask the Dalai Lama a question: “In our school, we value learning through confusion. So we would like to know, when you get confused, what thinkers or external sources do you turn to to find clarity?”

I am a Buddhist, but I am not attached to Buddhism. If you are too attached to your race, your country, your religion, it is hard to see the good in others.” – Dalai Lama, Kailua High School, April 16

During my visit to Manoa, I asked about the common assumption that kids today have shortened attention spans because of games and technology.

That, says Jackson, is “a fallacy … It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. What happens then is, schools design curriculums in 10-minute segments … These kids are capable of deep and extended thought.”

They are also capable, he says, of “spontaneous eloquence.”

“It’s so cool when kids have a breakthrough moment,” says Makaiau. “I’ll never forget the day a freshman exclaimed, “I’m a philosopher!”

For the past two years I’ve come to find that the way we learn here, is the most productive way to learn for me. I know that this is a fact because the teachers let us speak and let us find the way to figure out our answers to our confusion. Which gives us the mindset of accomplishment, and that we can accomplish things on our own. We are independent, and can survive by ourselves. When I go out into the world I see it differently. I see it as something I can overcome, or something I can work to overcome, and to show peace while doing it. -Marcus Malepeai, KHS sophomore who asked the second question of the Dalai Lama: “In this time of political unrest, leaders around the world promote many things. However, many haven’t taken action to fulfill their promises. Can words be taken seriously?”

Happiness results entirely in its own causes – it depends on your own actions – physical, mental, psychological. To take the wrong course and expect a good result is foolish. -Dalai Lama, Stan Sheriff Center, April 14

“A happy future is possible,” the Dalai Lama told Kailua students. “But you must make preparations now … Time is always moving, the future is yet to come. You can shape it. But merely waiting for the future is wrong. You must make every effort to make a happy future. You are the generation who has responsibility for the future. My time is now almost ending. Your time is just beginning.”

“Kailua High School students are known as philosophers,” Miller said at the assembly, and urged others to “join our enquiry.”

To see KHS students’ complete responses, go to midweek.com. You will be impressed.

Genesis Of The Dalai Lama’s Oahu Visit

The Dalai Lama’s visit to Honolulu this month has its roots in Vancouver, B.C. Victor Chan, longtime friend of the Dalai Lama and co-author of two books with him, was hosting a peace conference in 2009.

“My original intent was to have Pam Omidyar on the panel with him,” says Victor, founder of the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education. “So we got Pierre instead.” That’s Omidyar above.

The two men hit it off immediately.

So when the Omidyars pledged to give $50 million over five years to charitable causes, they enlisted the Hawaii Community Foundation, a remarkable matchmaking organization for would-be donors and nonprofits. From that came Pillars for Peace, which hosted the visit with HCF.

One of the goals of the Dalai Lama’s visit was to familiarize him with the Hawaiian concept of “aloha.” It also fit well with his emphasis on preserving native cultures and languages.

“We have a great appreciation of all the benefits of aloha from our host culture,” says Kelvin Taketa, president/CEO of HCF. “And there’s something about living on an island – we all understand we rely on one another. And we do a remarkable job, with many ethnic groups living in relative peace. We’re proud of that, but it’s a fragile thing too, something we have to work on with ‘purposeful action.’”

The Dalai Lama is the first of several world peace leaders Pillars for Peace and HCF hope to bring to Hawaii in coming years. Suggestion: Next time, how about Aung San Suu Kyi? -D.C.

Kailua High School p4c Students’ Responses/Questions

Kailua High School Student Questions to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, April 16, 2012

1) If we have all these reasons to be good people (reasons to have compassion, patience, love), then why is it so hard to be a good person? (Caitlin Hooker)

2) In this time of political unrest, leaders around the world promote many things. However, many haven’t taken action to fulfill their promises. Can words be taken seriously? (Marcus Malepeai)

3) If we lived in a world with no pain and destruction, would we still promote peace? Would we know the meaning of peace? (Victoria Gentry)

4) At Kailua High School we value learning through confusion, when you are confused, what thinkers and other external sources do you turn to in order to find clarity? (Jeremiah Kaahaani-Frankovic)

5) Is too much compassion dangerous because it makes us vulnerable? For example, if I gave a homeless person money, but he attacked me because I refused to give him more, did my unbiased compassion make me vulnerable? (Lei Lastimosa)

6) What are the reasons that we as humanity need direction to find peace when peace is within ourselves? (Christian Kama)

7) Is it only at the brink of destruction that we change our ways? If this is true, is religion an excuse to add meaning to our lives? (Marie Garcia)

8) In what ways can we educate our children’s hearts without corrupting them with our own biases and experiences? (RJ Romnick)

KHS Students’ Responses To Three Questions From MidWeek

Editor’s note: MidWeek posed three questions to Kailua High School students, two about Philosophy for Children and a third about the Dalai Lama’s visit to their school. They are too long to include in the print version of MidWeek, but too wise not to share.

Victoria Gentry, 9th grade
Asked the last philosophical question

“If we lived in a world with no pain and destruction, would we still understand and promote peace? And if so what are the reasons for promoting it?”

I’ve always been one of curiosity. Always wondering well “what if.” I’ve grown up in many different places and have been to many different schools here in the U.S, and I’ve seen and have been around so many different ethnicity’s and cultures and customs. But in most places it’s all categorized. Mexicans with Mexicans. Blacks with Blacks. Whites with Whites. But never all together, I mean occasionally yea but majority of the time never. When I first sat in my classroom in a circle with a community ball, I looked around and I saw all different colors. I saw the whites with the blacks and the Latinos and Hawaiians. We were all one. We were all together as one circle. It was a place where no one was judging. It was a place where I felt I belong. I think bringing all the different cultures together and being in that philosophy class is one of the first steps to bringing unity and harmony to this world. Philosophy and ethnic studies class helps us understand each other in ways the internet or television cant. There’s no other way to know each other more than learning from each other as one. I think that’s the point of ethnic studies and philosophy, to learn before you judge.

Philosophy class motivates me. Every time I step into the classroom, I feel I can be me. I feel I can do anything I put my mind too. I feel part of a family. Philosophy has not necessarily changed me, it has added more bravery to my mind set. Its made me expand my borders of thinking and not be afraid about it. Its taught me that no matter who you are or where you come from, you have the right to be you. You have the right to live your life and be who you truly are. Everyone has a story.

After hearing the Dalai Lama speak today, it’s made me feel blessed and overwhelmed. There was one thing that he said to me that stood out when he was answering my question that made me think and realize a lot. What he said was “We are the ones that create the problems, so we are the ones that can solve the problems.” It made me realize that we always try to solve the problems after they become problems and so my question now is, Why is it we cant solve our problems before we make them?

Sierra Kadooka
KHS Senior
Presented Peace Quilt to Dalai Lama

1. What were your initial thoughts when you were first introduced to P4C?

When I was first introduced to P4C my freshmen year, I really enjoyed how everyone respected each other when a person had the community ball. It also allowed me to share my thoughts with my peers so that we could “get into the deep end of the pool” with the discussions that were brought up. Listening to what everyone had to say and how others responded and interacted with each other in an intellectually safe way was the highlight of this experience.

2. What difference has P4C made for you personally and for the school in general?

Throughout my four years in high school, I noticed that I gradually transformed my thinking and views in order to be a better philosophical thinker. This means that I am better at challenging my thoughts and that I am able to understand “thinking about thinking”.

3. After hearing the Dalai Lama speak, how has this impacted you as philosophers?

After hearing the Dalai Lama speak, I agree that we should show more compassion to others. Even though I am a Christian and he is Buddhist, I also agree that we need to spread more compassion and peace to everyone so that we can rely on each other when we need help. If everyone in the world helped each other out, I believe the world would truly be a better place.

Amanda Kaleo
I presented one of the ho’okupu to the Dalai Lama.

1. What were your initial thoughts when you were introduced to P4C?

When I was introduced to Philosophy for Children, I liked the class because it was different from the rest of the other classes I had. We sat in a circle, we had more discussions about what we were thinking and everyone had a chance to speak what was on their minds. The community ball was great way to make sure that everyone was listening and being respectful. It was a safe environment where average high school students could just share their thoughts and ideas about whatever was on his or her mind.

2. What differences has P4C made for you personally and for the school in general?

P4C has really influenced the way that I think about anything now. I am a more philosophical thinker and like to be confused at times. It has taught me to think in a way that challenges my mind and to respect others’ ideas. I think P4C has made our school better because as the program continues, more and more students are changing the way they think and creating a more philosophical environment. P4C allows students to share their ideas with others and together as a class they can really expand their knowledge of a subject.

3. Now, after hearing the Dalai Lama speak, it has made me wonder about what it is that allows him to continue to have compassion for EVERYONE. I mean, it’s only human to get angry because it’s a part of our nature. I’m sure that he probably gets angry but does that compassion still stand? Of course I probably know the answer is yes. He’s 77 years old and he’s been compassionate his whole life. Is that possible?

Christian Kama
KHS senior

My role today was to pose a question to his holiness which I could not ask because lack of time which was, “What are the reasons that we as humanity need direction to find peace when peace is within ourselves?”

My initial expression of P for C was totally shocking to me because the other schools that I have been to never taught me how to pose great and philosophical questions about certain topics. I have never been challenge to think a lot about certain things so when I first learned about philosophical thinking I was totally shocked. I have learned a lot through philosophical thinking because it helps me pose questions for myself that I can follow back on it and learn about it.

The differences that P for C made for me is that it made me really think deep about our conversations that we have in class and that I can challenge my classmates by developing a philosophical question that can really challenge our minds while we discuss about it. P for really helps you to understand about a certain topic a group is talking about. Even though you want a question that can challenge the mind of someone you also want the question to be interesting to where people won’t get bored or doesn’t even want to talk about the question.

After hearing his holiness speak today he has made me see a totally different view of peace and just being humble. He said, ” show a human compassion, not knowing what you will get in return”. What this means is that you should always show compassion towards others accepting nothing in return. You should show compassion to your enemies even though you are not going to accept anything back in return from that person. A question that I would like to ask his holiness is “How do you spread compassion and peace to people that doesn’t want to be taught”

Norma Joy Agbisit
Escorted Dalai Lama

1. When I was first introduced to philosophy I enjoyed it because I like making WRAITEC questions because these questions lead to deeper thinking and deeper discussion about the topic. In our discussion we have a community ball where the speaker has the ball and is the only person who can talk in the discussion. This community ball helps the discussion to be organized and have the freedom to speak our minds and not get judged. My first class discussion in philosophy helped me understand other people’s point of view and I have learned a lot from my classmates and their way of thinking. I also left my class having more knowledge about life than before.

2. Philosophy impacted my life to be an opened minded person and think outside the box. This class helped me to seek answers below the surface and see things in others people point of view. Philosophy impacted Kailua High School to be philosophical thinkers and asked questions in a higher level questions using WRAITEC questions.

3. After hearing Dalai Lama speak today he shared about how we should show compassion towards others because our generation needs to work together to be one; we are the future and the future is in our hands. We need to better our society and being compassionate towards others will bring peace and happiness.

Jeremiah Kaahanui-Frankovic
KHS Senior
Third student to ask the Dalai Lama a question:

In our school, we value learning through confusion. So we would like to know, when you get confused, what thinkers or external sources to you turn to find clarity?

My initial impressions of the “P for C” program was, in freshmen year four years ago. I was in English class and we all sat in a circle. My thoughts on this were that it was a very weird and awkward way of teaching kids. But I was very interested and began to like it. It was a brand new way of learning in English class. We weren’t just reading a book and doing reading/writing assignments. We would discuss topics and problems in society/ the world and voice our opinions on the matter. We use these things called “community balls” which is a ball of yarn that the class makes by introducing themselves, thus this is made by the “community.” We use this ball to throw to people and whoever has the ball may speak out and opinion or answer to the question or topic. This made learning for me very good because it got people to be interactive and involved in class instead of just the usual sitting and reading.

P for C works like this. You start with a question and the students begin sharing what their views and then from one persons perspective, others may begin to “branch off” of that to keep the discussion going and going until, you come to a conclusion. Sometimes there is no clear answer to the questions we ask. So instead we end up asking more questions or discuss what we ended up getting out of the discussion.

After four years of learning this through this process I am deeply grateful that I could learn in a new way. This program has taught me to value other peoples opinions and views on certain subjects. It has also taught me not to judge others just based on beliefs or outlooks, but to ask them for reasoning. It is also taught me to think twice about situations and see both sides before acting. This program also helps you understand people, in turn this gets people to know one another and maybe become friends.

After seeing the Dalai Lama speak to us. My new thoughts and impressions are:

-He seems like a really nice guy who just wants to chill and spread joy and smiles with everyone. Also it would be cool to go fishing with him.

-He spoke about us kids being the generation to change the world, and that we need to prepare in the present (now) to affect the future to better the world.

-After seeing the Dalai Lama speak to us, my new thoughts and impressions are: To spread joy and peace, you can’t just preach about it. You must act.

Marcus Malepeai
KHS sophomore

Asked the second philosophical question to the Dalai Lama:

“In this time of political unrest, Leaders around the world promote many things. How ever, many haven’t taken action to fulfill their promises. Can words be taken seriously.”

Throughout my childhood life, I have always thought hard on things that confused me. The first class I went to at Kailua High School, I felt as if I was already on the same track as the teachers, and that the way we were being taught was so relatable, and easy to understand, that the only place I could move from there was up. Its like I just jumped right in. When I spoke for the first time I felt like I was at home, and that I could just open my mind, and let everything pour out. I find that a very productive way to learn because now that we know what is in our minds, because we spoke it, we are able to change our minds for the better, not by the help of just one, or yourself. But by your peers, and all those around you … The community ball we use is basically a sign of respect to the person who has it. I think that the class is more peaceful with the use of the ball, and that the world leaders should use the idea of a “community ball.”

For the past two years I’ve come to find that the way we learn here, is the most productive way to learn for me. I know that this is a fact because, the teachers let us speak, and let us find the way to figure out our answers to our confusion. Which gives us the mindset of accomplishment, and that we can accomplish things on our own. We are independent, and can survive by ourselves. When I go out into the world I see it differently. I see it as something I can overcome, or something I can work to overcome, to overcome diversity, and to show peace while doing it.

When I heard him speak, I felt that he answered everything in the way I wanted it to be answered. By being a philosophical thinker, we were connected, we were on the same page. He didn’t answer the question like any other. I felt that this guy is very informed. From the past generation, to the present one. He is a true philosophical thinker.

Dalai Lama’s Response To Don Chapman’s Question: Why do some people in the world consider you a dangerous man and your teaching of peace and compassion a dangerous teaching?

A big mahalo to Jon Letman for transcribing the Dalai Lama’s response to my question on his dangerous teaching and why “some people in the world” would like to see him dead. He initially answered playfully, saying in CHina he is called a “demon” and making devil horns with forefingers on his head. HHDL is short for His Holiness the Dalai Lama. -Don Chapman, MidWeek Editor

DC: But what is it about peace that makes people frightened of it, sir?

[interpreter speaks to HHDL, Tibetan cross talk]

HHDL: I think peace is some kind of nowadays becoming one slogan. I think my one experience, I think 1979, I had the opportunity to visit Soviet Union. In Moscow, some sort of Soviet reporters they say, they describe their nation is peace-loving nation. so they want, they love the word ‘peace loving nation.’ this word they try to put on my mouth. i refused. I already visited western world – thirty three countires – so I know, western side a little cautious of something happen from warsaw pact, isn’t it?

Nobody thinking attack on soviet union. hmm? (laughs) Now, I think if you go further, I think ’53 – Korean war. General Macarthur is also decide to enter china, Mmanchuria, or bomb, bombing there. Truman stopped. So this clearly shows this is no sort of intention to attack there. Simply defense. I think very [indiscernible] building NATO defense, like that.

So therefore I generally refuse to repeat that word ‘peace-loving nation.’ They (Soviet) military forces everywhere… and give to Russian people the impression unless we prepare fully, west will attack. So, Russian people, some kind of brainwash. Now if you look today, some problems there. So therefore (tibetan cross-talk), so therefore peace, world peace is something in fashion. While you are preparing all military forces but say “for peace, for peace, for peace.” … Genuine peace must come from, come through inner peace. Full of anger here, how can achieve peace? So we need promotion of oneness of humanity. The others may be different language, different nation, even maybe little difference of system but still human being. We all share same planet. If you go space, from there if you look, there’s no national boundaries. Only continent. All these boundaries man-made.

So therefore, I think once we really see the develop awareness of oneness of humanity through education, then we can really build genuine peace. and one of my dream is whole world demilitarized – very possible. Like Costa Rica – small nation in Central America. No military forces. When I visit there, few helicopters, few (indiscernible) … no big military equipment. So no threat of that small nation. All expenditures for military forces they can utilize for education, economy. While their same neighbors spend a lot of money buy jets, military jets, or tanks …

People now look some African countries. People in many parts of African countries facing starvation. All resources spent for military. So once we achieve demilitarized world, it’s not only a safer world, but also then I think we can utilize a lot of money.

Now, like america, now of course, American military forces a little different, but still America, even every day in Afghanistan, I think [unintelligible] …

And India also, before 1959, no military presence in Indian border. Ihen we call Indo-Tibetan border. Generally peace, it remained like that through through centuries. No check post, nothing. After ’50, then that picture completely change. So I often tell Indian brothers and sisters, genuine good relations between India and China is very essential. With that you can, both sides, you can reduce military forces. That amount of money which use for that, that can use for positive, constructive development – hospitals, schools, both sides. Like that. So we should, I think everywhere, we should keep in our mind, hoping or praying to achieve demilitarized world on the basis of oneness of humanity.

(gesturing to reporter) What you think? Oh yeah (laughs)…

Kelvin Taketa cuts in: Thank you, Your Holiness. Thank you.

DC: Thank you, Your Holiness, for bringing your very dangerous teachings.

Q&A ends

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