Panel Unites Hearts and Minds: Dalai Lama Calls for Human or Secular Values

Article excerpt

They were the Nobel Trio singing a three-part harmony.

South Africa's Archbishop Desmond Tutu joined fellow Nobel peace laureates the Dalai Lama and Iranian lawyer Shirin Ebadi at the University of British Columbia for a round-table talk on bringing the heart and mind together in education.

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi of Colorado and B.C. native educator Jo-ann Archibald accompanied them.

Michael Ingham, bishop of the diocese of New Westminster, moderated.

Ms. Archibald, of the Salish clan, explained how her people bring heart and mind together in a circle: a circle, she said, has no end so there is always room for one more person. We connect with one another, she added, by joining hands with our left palms turned up to receive our ancestors' teachings and we pass them on to the next seven generations by holding our right palms down.

The Dalai Lama called for "human" or "secular" values that even the irreligious can embrace: values that make us "good," "warm-hearted," and "sensible."

But it is not enough to pray and then lie back waiting for God to solve our problems, said the Dalai Lama; we must solve them, ourselves, using compassion, tolerance, co-operation, communication, religious harmony, exploration, learning, analysis and heart. "We have the potential to develop all these qualities," said the Dalai Lama, but so far modern societies' educators have favoured the mind over the heart.

The Dalai Lama, the exiled Buddhist leader of Tibet, was in Vancouver beginning a 19-day Canadian tour; he received the 1989 Nobel prize for his peaceful efforts to win "meaningful autonomy" for Tibet. China annexed Tibet in 1951.

Ms. Ebadi, who called for universal laws to govern the world, agreed that reason and intellect are not enough to enable humanity to solve international problems.

She asked that people open their hearts to "the all-inclusive force that is the God of the Universe ... When you open up your heart to God the intelligence and the knowledge you have becomes purposeful; that is when you realize how to use them in the service of humanity. Otherwise, intellect without heart is nothing more than an addiction to the problems of humanity. …