(TibetanReview.net, Jun28, 2016) – Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, on Jun 26 morning delivered the keynote speech at the 84th Annual Meeting of the US Conference of Mayors held in Indianapolis in the state of Indiana. He was welcomed on arrival at the JW Marriott Hotel by the Conference President, Mayor of Baltimore, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. He was escorted to the conference platform by the US television personality and news journalist Ann Curry.
The conference was preceded by a screening of two short videos about Mayor Gary Fischer of Louisville, Kentucky, and his initiative to declare Louisville a City of Compassion and Mayor Tom Tait of Anaheim, California, who had made Anaheim a City of Kindness, both under the Dalai Lama’s inspiration.
The Dalai Lama then stepped up to the rostrum and told the gathering of more than 200 mayors: “It’s a great honour to meet so many Mayors of this great nation. I always think of the United States as leader of the free world. It’s a country known for technological innovation. Your principles are freedom, democracy and liberty, and these qualities are related to warm-heartedness, a respect for others and a concern for others’ well-being. These are not slogans but related to a mental attitude. So I hope and believe that this nation can take the lead in building a more compassionate world.”
He said the world needed to address the destructive emotions like anger, jealousy and self-centredness that some historians say had resulted in the violent death of some 200 million people in the 20th century. “We have to cultivate our basic human nature of compassion.”
He referred to the examples of the cities of Louisville and Anaheim and told the mayors that they could make a significant contribution to this endeavors, adding “many other nations will then follow your example.”
American pop singer and actress Lady Gaga reinforced what the Dalai Lama said with an impassioned defence of kindness. “The truly fantastic thing about kindness is that it’s free. You can give and give and receive kindness and the well never dries up.”
Pointing out that Tom Tait had run for his mayoral election on a platform of kindness and won, co-panelist, entrepreneur and philanthropist Philip Anschutz said, “Kindness is something you can all use.”
Before joining the Conference’s Plenary Session the Dalai Lama took part in a conversation with Lady Gaga that was streamed live over Facebook. In his replies to questions submitted through Facebook, the Dalai Lama spoke about the importance of paying more attention to inner values like love and compassion, about meditation, and about gaining hope and self-confidence by looking at things from a wider perspective.
The day before, some 6,500 people from diverse religious faiths attended the Dalai Lama’s public talk on “Compassion as a Pillar of World Peace” given June 25 afternoon at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum’s State Fairgrounds. The event was organized by the Indiana Buddhist Center in partnership with the Center for Interfaith Cooperation and Compassionate Indy.
Earlier that day, the exile Tibetan spiritual leader joined members of the Emory-Tibet Partnership to discuss draft guidelines for Secular Ethics in Education. Experts invited to join the members in the discussion included Daniel Goleman, Linda Lantieri, Mark Greenberg and Kimberly Schonert-Reichl who have done pioneering work in Social and Emotional Learning.
Emory’s Geshe Lobsang Tenzin explained that the proposed Secular Ethics in Education framework seeks to reflect the Dalai Lama’s vision whose guiding principle is compassion. He said the framework covered three sets of skills: self-cultivation, which includes: calming the body and mind; learning to attend; emotional literacy and self-care. The second set involves relating to others, and includes appreciating others; empathy; recognizing our common humanity and social skills. The third set, responsible decision-making, involves: appreciating interdependence and applying critical thinking.
The Dalai Lama left the US for India on Jun 27 afternoon.