A bit long, so you might want to read it piece by piece.
Transcript of excerpts from the Dalai Lama's speech given in Central Park in New York City, September 21, 2003.
Facing Old Age
So similarly, look some pains -- physical pains -- due to illness, or old age. Now me, too, now belong in that world -- older people. So now mentally, one old person or sick person -- too much frustration in mental level. So that case, on top of physical pain, additional mental pain. And they are always complaining, always resenting -- even some cases blame even your friends.
The other hand, perhaps one believer -- believe God or believe Buddha or karma, then the same sort of physical problems but believe God may have some reasons to create such things. And God as merciful, no reason to give some painful experience, but there must be some reasons. Another one who believe it was Buddha or law of karma, law of causality. Then 'Yes, our painful experience now passing through, correct, but due to my own karma, I cannot blame on other, I have to, sooner or later I have to experience these things.'
So then - same physical experiences - but because of mental attitude, big differences.
Then someone on top of the physical sort of pain, lot of complain, lot of complain -- so additional problem, additional pain. And now, old age. Maybe you consider old age: 'Ah this is great -- many years live on this planet.' So physically, more difficult to move, but mentally, more experience, so feel old age is great. OK, that's one way.
Another: same old person always complain: "My eyesight is now degenerate. My hearing also difficult, movement also difficult." Always complain. What use?
So I think those nonbeliever, I think, they look environment or anything, I think we should look realistically. Now old age, or sick, or eventually death -- if you look realistically, then these are part of our life. So long this body there, old age will come. If you want to live long, old age bound too happen. (laughter)
We want long life -- at the same time, do not want old, old experienced body. That's, I think, nonsense.
Raising Compassionate Children
So human beings we -- our life begins with mothers' milk. So the affection on another -- from mother's side, child's side -- because of biological law - I think. Then if we judge the whole human life at the beginning as I mentioned earlier like that then during school age, the family affection is so important. For well growth of body as well as brain -- very important.
So in order to develop, I think, affectionate, compassionate human society, affectionate, compassionate human family, I think parents have special important role to bring up compassionate child, compassionate children.
If we neglect during that period, I think suffering to the children is immense. All their life, I think, suffer. So in education field and help growth - help the development - and eventually those children who've grown up in the atmosphere, very cold - no affection, then, these children, eventually become. I think. very cold, very cold. So they find very difficult to show other people genuine sort of human, important good quality - to show sense of concern, sense of closeness feeling.
So therefore, we can conclude - human beings basically more gentle, more affectionate. I think child at the beginning of life --of course occasionally some anger - some sort of [unintelligible]. Even I think, my own case.
When I was very small, my mother used to carry me. And one day they say I wanted to go some direction - one particular direction. My mother go outside, different direction. So I pulled my mother's ear. Then, later, my mother told me - [pulls his own ear] mercilessly (laughter). So, you see, a short moment, no longer the compassionate feeling. But that, if you judge, short period - due to some immediate factor. But affection, warmth, that 24 hours in me.
Opening Our "Inner Door"
One occasion, the scientist show his results of his study. Then he told us at that meeting that those individuals who always feel oneself most important - so as expression, as a result of expression use 'me,' 'I,' 'my,' 'mine,' like that – often people who often uses these words, these people have greater danger of heart attack. I think reason behind this sort of finding, I feel, quite clear. More compassionate feeling inside it automatically open our inner door and through that way - find it very easy to communicate with other fellow human being. And not only other human being, but even animals.
And also the moment think about other, or humanity, or world, your mind widen. So, as a result, your own problem then appears not much significant – not like unbearable. But if one think oneself only 'me, me, me,' like that, then your whole sort of attitude, very narrow. So then small problem appear looks very big, very serious, unbearable. I think that's the reasons.
And then also, the more self-centered -- too much extreme self-centered sort of attitude --usually close our inner door - and then very difficult to communicate with other people. I think all behavior - way of talking, way of attitude all become then artificial - and artificial brings more suspicion. Even artificial smile. Some smile, but I think smile above here [motions above the neck], not here [motions to heart]. What use? That artificial smile sometimes bring more suspicion.
So with suspicion nature makes distance from other. Then feeling of loneliness. And human nature - social animal. Your life have to depend on others - fellow human beings. But that attitude - some suspicion toward other fellow human beings - I think - very much against basic human nature. Result: that person experience very uncomfortable.
So the human compassion is not only just a religious sort of matter, this is really a question of our survival.
War Is Outdated
Then look [at] humanity as a whole. Now today the reality - whole world almost like one body. One thing happen some other distant place - the repercussion reach your own place. And particularly in the field of modern economy and environmental issues - our world is just one -- one body. So we have to look all parts of the world all parts of the humanity is part of your life - your self. So that's the reality.
So I often share with my friends: the very concept of war is outdated. Because in the past (clapping) the different communities have independent interests - separate interests there. So more or less independent. So in that circumstances, destroy of your enemy is victory of yourself.
So in ancient times that –way of approach, is also in some extent, although morally speaking very wrong, but practical level, seems some logic. But nowadays, no longer that reality. Destruction of your neighbor as enemy is essentially destruction of yourself. (applause) So that's the reality.
So in spite of these recent events - and also in Europe - basically I feel the different sort of thinking in human mind everywhere I think desire peace - nonviolence - I think very strong. And regarding violence - I think everywhere people now really get strong feeling of "fedup." So the voice [of] nonviolence and also interest towards Mahatma Gandhi's message of 'ahimsa' message of nonviolence now everywhere find. Now some cases not only just idea but a political reality. Look South Africa. So these I think very positive change.
Now I think important while we making effort -- no more violence, no more war. I think war, I think, war -- sometimes our brain conditioned. War is something part of human history and war is best way to express one's own patriotic spirit. Actually war is I think something like legalized violence I feel like that.
How To Counter Terrorism
Terrorist acts not come from guns or explosives - but human brain here plan all these things. Look the unbelievable sort of tragedy in New York. Such things! Actually I think the 12th of September in morning, I got up and someone told me 'Oh, something happened in New York and Washington.' I can't believe. I thought, 'Oh, that person simply…'(Talks to interpreter)
Interpreter: I felt that this person was simply telling a story.
Then I open the news -- BBC news and also BBC television – then I looked. I saw the collapsing of the tower and really some very painful moment - some people showing from the windows - and their desperate attempt to survive. Really, really unbelievable. How it happen? Use civilian plane as a bomb. And full passengers and that plane also very, I think, very carefully calculated - full of fuel [for] distant sort of flight. So these things if not years at least, I think, several months need prepare - calculate or plan. So human brain here, this brain, work that.
So human sophisticate, smart brain sometimes use destructive. So now the question human smart brain in order to use constructively human compassion -- warm heart. That's the only factor to give some kind of guarantee human intelligence lead in positive way.
So now real counter-measure for violence and particularly terrorism, I think, we have to tackle, reduce hatred. These things happen - human intelligence, modern technology guided by human hatred -- now these awful things happen. So now real counter measure - we have to look human negative emotion: how to reduce that. Here real counter measure is promotion of human affection. That, I think, several bases - several reasons - biological basis, scientific research for health – many, many reasons.
So we have to make every effort to promote human affection -- that automatically reduce human hatred.
The Spirit Of Dialogue
Each individual also have I think immense sort of power. Not immediate, but longterm, I think each of you have, I think, important role for promotion of nonviolence and promotion of spirit of dialogue with spirit of reconciliation. If you respect others' right and realize other also part of yourself. Then spirit of compromise very easily can develop. Because their interest is my interest. Therefore I must respect, I must protect their interest.
So I always telling people, compromise now today is, I think, reality. Interest is always 50-50. So therefore compromise - I say 50-50. That's the best way to solve problems. If possible our side 60%, the other side, if skillfully, 40%. (laughs) The other also is quite intelligent. It's very difficult though. Very difficult. (laughter)
So therefore, I think, now my own case. We struggle with government of People's Republic of China -- very important government, very important country. But we respect their right, their interest. So on mutual benefit try to seek some solution.
So similarly, I think, wherever some problems, I think, carry that spirit. It's very essential. So, my point is, while we are opposing violence, war, we must promote effective nonviolent method to tackle these problems. Because so long we human beings remain on this planet, some kind of problems always happen. So from that logic, I think, if we really want no longer any disturbance on this planet, I think we should go. (laughter) That's of course firstly impossible, but secondly, I think, one way we human beings are among the thousands different mammals, I think we human beings most mischievous. But at the same time, we also have the potential to develop infinite altruism. Only human being can do. No other.
So therefore our intelligence utilize, or our ability our intelligence, modern technology, our knowledge of science utilize properly with warm heart – sense of responsibility, sense of community, sense of caring whole world, whole human brothers-sisters, I think we have some reasons to survive on this planet. That's better.
So then finally perhaps I think (speaks to interpreter at length)
Interpreter: In conclusion I would like to make few remarks about the unimaginable tragedy that American people suffered on September 11. Recently when I had an opportunity to participate in an interfaith memorial service at Washington National Cathedral, there while remembering the thousands of victims who suffered on that day I also expressed my thoughts on how to cope with the effects of that tragedy. I personally always find the teachings of the 8th century Buddhist master who once wrote that if the problem and tragedy is such that if there is solution, then there is no need to be overwhelmed by it.
If there is no solution, then there is no point in being paralyzed and overwhelmed by it. So the tragedy is something that Americans as a nation and as a people have suffered. So what is important on the part of those who are living is to respect the memory of the victims, and also to show solidarity to the family members of the victims and try to come to terms with that so that you can insure within your own hearts that you do now fall victim to impulsive emotions of vengefulness and spite.
(Dalai Lama speaks again in his own language)
Interpreter: So in memory of the victims of that event I would like to recite one verse of prayer. While I do that please take the opportunity and join me in the prayer.
Dalai Lama chants prayer
Thank you. (applause) Thank you. Bye bye.