A group of nearly 600 mental health professionals engaged with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama during a panel discussion that culminated a special conference about resilience organized by the Tulane School of Social Work on Friday (May 17) during his visit to New Orleans.
The Dalai Lama waves good-bye to a group of mental health professionals at a conference on resilience organized by the Tulane School of Social Work. (Photo by Joseph Halm)
World-renowned trauma expert Margaret Wheatley and research psychiatrist Richard Davidson flanked the spiritual leader of 8 million Tibetan Buddhists during the discussion that ranged from the meaning of life to global warming to how to gain peace of mind.
“Everyone wants a happy life,” the Dalai Lama said. “We are social beings and trust is the basis of friendship. Without trust, how can you have true friendship?”
To gain that trust, he says education is the key as well as being concerned about the well-being of others, a statement that drew hearty applause.
He also touched on the topic of the conference, “Resilience: Strength through Compassion and Connection.” Calling on his 54 years as a Tibetan refugee, the Dalai Lama said if we look at our problems with a focus on the oneness of humanity, it will eliminate many of the man-made problems like war and wealth inequality.
“Too much greed, too much anger, too much frustration is very bad for your life,” he said. “Just to repeat the words forgiveness, tolerance doesn’t make them happen. You have to act.”
The Dalai Lama also talked extensively about global warming, sharing a story about when he and Mahatma Gandhi spoke many years ago and how Gandhi thought “motor cars” were a very serious problem. The key to solving that problem lies with scientists, he said.
“I’m an old-fashioned guru, but (scientists and researchers) are modern gurus,” the Dalai Lama said. “I think in modern times these modern gurus are much more affective than the old-style gurus.”
Joseph Halm is marketing/communications coordinator for the Tulane School of Social Work.