happier world

Creating a happier world: Warm-heartedness and intelligence

In addition to our interdependence, we face the serious challenges of climate change and global warming that we can only meet if we act together and help each other.
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Lord Richard Layard, Professor at the London School of Economics and founder of ‘Action for Happiness’, wanted to know the secret of making good relationships.

“I believe that all seven billion human beings alive today are essentially brothers and sisters,” His Holiness, the Dalai Lama replied. “To think only of ‘my nation’, ‘my people’, ‘my group or community’ is out of date. This narrow thinking too easily leads to conflict. In our interdependent world, we have to think instead of the oneness of humanity. We have to consider the wider community because we have to live together with each other. This is why we have to try to educate others to appreciate that humanity is one family.

“In addition to our interdependence, we face the serious challenges of climate change and global warming that we can only meet if we act together and help each other.

“We are social animals. If someone is angry with you, it’s important to remain warm-hearted towards them. Today’s enemy may become tomorrow’s friend. If they behave negatively towards you and you are hostile in return there’ll be no end to the trouble between you.”

Lord Layard recalled His Holiness telling him that founding an organisation to promote greater happiness was not his job. However, he agreed to be the Patron of Action for Happiness. Layard asked if he had a message for the movement’s members. His Holiness laughed and told him:

“Your organisation is based on cultivating a peaceful, warm-hearted attitude towards others. It’s wonderful and so practical. It shows there is hope for the future. We can create a happier world and happier humanity. It’s wonderful. And I think your members have already discovered that we are much happier when we’re helping each other.”

Professor Layard handed over to Dr Mark Williamson, the Director of Action for Happiness, who was to co-ordinate questions for His Holiness from members of the organisation. “It’s a pleasure to see you again,” Williamson began, “I have very happy memories of our time together in London in 2015.” He introduced the first questionnaire that asked what can be done for children who have become depressed due to the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

His Holiness acknowledged that the pandemic has been very serious across the world. Crucial medical research is going on. But as far as children are concerned, the most important thing is to reassure them with care and affection. That reassurance will bring them peace of mind and make it easier for them to be hopeful and optimistic.

He told a woman grieving over the death of her husband that although she’d lost him, she still had the support of the rest of the community and that maybe in time she’d find another husband.

His Holiness advised a young man concerned about how to remain compassionate and hopeful in the face of threats such as racism and climate change that it is human nature to be warm-hearted. However, besides warm-heartedness, we also have to use our human intelligence. Recognising the brotherhood and sisterhood between us is the basis for maintaining a happy community.

“As we’ve seen recently in the floods in Germany, Belgium and other parts of Europe,” His Holiness remarked, “it’s wonderful that when things are difficult, people help each other. Acting on the basis of warm-heartedness and intelligence is the way to create a safer, happier world.”

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso is the spiritual leader of Tibet. Since taking asylum in India in 1959, His Holiness has become a global advocator of peace, compassion and happiness. He is the first Nobel Laureate to be recognised for his concern for global environmental problems.

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