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Dalai Lama takes part in conference on happiness in Sydney, Australia

His Holiness the Dalai Lama with fellow panelists on stage during the Happiness & Its Causes conference in Sydney, Australia on June 10, 2015. (Photo courtesy/Rusty Stewart/OHHDL)
His Holiness the Dalai Lama with fellow panelists on stage during the Happiness & Its Causes conference in Sydney, Australia on June 10, 2015. (Photo courtesy/Rusty Stewart/OHHDL)

(TibetanReview.net, Jun12, 2015) – The Dalai Lama on Jun 10 took part in a Happiness & Its Causes Conference at Luna Park, the amusement park at the foot of Sydney Harbour Bridge, Australia, before an audience of 1700. The co-panelists included British comedian and mental health activist Ruby Wax and writer on happiness Gretchen Rubin. Well-known Australian radio presenter Richard Fidler introduced him to the audience.

The Dalai Lama said modern education was oriented round a materialistic way of life and wondered whether this was really an adequate basis for a happy society. He added that in British Columbia, Canada, guidance about the importance of warm-heartedness had been introduced in all schools.

Co-panelist Barbara Fredrickson explained her team’s work examining the physical effects of different kinds of happiness. She distinguished between hedonic well-being, which stems from the pleasure one gets from a satisfying yet superficial experience like eating delicious food, and eudaimonic well-being, which comes from thinking that one’s life has a purpose and that one is making a contribution to society. And she said that doing good, having meaning and purpose was associated with better health.

Co-panelist Professor Paul Gilbert, who has pioneered research into compassion and initiated Compassion Focused Therapy, suggested that we are at our most flourishing when we experience and feel we are cared about, wanted and valued, and when we care for, help and value others. Co-panelist Dr Sue Knight, chief evaluator of the Primary Ethics trial in NSW schools and creator of the Primary Ethics curriculum that currently involves 29,000 children from KG to class 6, suggested that it was through the development of well-reasoned and ethically-grounded thinking that education fulfils its individual and social goals. Co-Panelist Charlie Scudamore, a visionary educator and Vice Principal at the Geelong Grammar School, said he represented every teacher who wanted to help children change their lives, who wanted to make the world a better place.

The Dalai Lama gave his remarks after each presentation and concluded being convinced that through education it was possible to change the world for the better. “I don’t expect to live to see the result in the next 20 years or so, but this is very good, wonderful, thank you,” he was quoted as saying.

After the conference, the Dalai Lama had lunch with members of the Australian Parliamentary Group for Tibet at the Sydney airport and shared time with his old friend Rev Bill Crews. He then flew to Brisbane.

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