“Given the scale of life in the cosmos, one human life is no more than a tiny blip. Each one of us is a just visitor to this planet, a guest, who will only stay for a limited time. What greater folly could there be than to spend this short time alone, unhappy or in conflict with our companions? Far better, surely, to use our short time here in living a meaningful life, enriched by our sense of connection with others and being of service to them.” – Dalai Lama XIV
Servant Leaders understand the value of controlling the mind and emotions. Once we can feel compassion and move from unhappy and angry ways of acting, the us-versus-them mentality, then we can live together peacefully. This is what the Dalai Lama argues in the book, A Force for Good: The Dalai Lama’s Vision for Our World, chapter nine, A Century of Dialogue.
The Dalai Lama is quoted as saying, “The initiative must come from the individual. In a change from a warrior-like society to a peaceful one at the worldwide level, the more peaceful world starts with the individual. Why? It takes an emotional change; compassion.”
The Dalai Lama believe it takes three things to create a world that works for everyone;
- Dialogue – does not mean we all agree but we will respect different views.
- Negotiation – does mean forming partnerships of mutual respect and concern.
- Patience – not a foolish patience but one that respects your needs and wishes.
The Dalai Lama told students at San Diego State University about the native chant that goes, “Your bone is my bone. Your blood is my blood.” This attitude is one that reminds us of our profound interconnection and oneness to all of life. We should have an inclusive sensibility for the growing collective challenges we face in the 21st century.
So, what should we do? How do we create meaningful dialogue?
The Power of Truth
The Dalai Lama argues that the world belongs to the people, not to kings, or queens, rulers, or government, and as such, they cannot remain forever. The people will always remain and herein lies the truth. The Dalai Lama speaks of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi’s message of nonviolence as clear examples of the power of truth, sincerity, and honesty.
And the Dalai Lama agrees that nonviolence may take longer to happen, but its long-term benefits are greater than violence. He uses the example of Gandhi and his greatest achievement of showing how nonviolence can be achieved and implemented effectively not only in the political arena but also in day-to-day living.
Harmony Among Religions
The Dalai Lama speaks of harmony among religions by saying, “Those who possess the consciousness of us-and-them attitude on a basis of religion are distorting those beliefs.” What this attitude does is divide us from our essential nature of care and concern for one another with religion in service as hatred to one another. He says that instead of using our faith to build and our resources to transform the world and our personality and character, we impose that personality on religion. The Dalai Lama warns that it become very tricky when people manipulate religion. In the end, the real practice of faith is the practice of love – it’s all the same.
Toward a Century of Dialogue
One way to create a new dialogue is to reach out to those who are receptive, emphasizing the benefits in common for each side. By thinking, speaking, and living as, “us”, we can better enter into dialogue and negotiations that will leave everyone winners.
The Dalai Lama such groups as the Forum 2000, a group of people from diverse countries, cultures, religions, and academic disciplines, who convene once a year to identify key global issues and looks for ways to de-escalate conflicts is a positive step in the direction of compassion and dialogue. These key stakeholders are well-known and respected and come with no hidden agendas willing and able to work as selfless servants for the greater good of society.
The Dalai Lama said that such groups represent a new kind of leadership on the world scene whereby there is no interest or ties to governments but rather to the best interests of humanity. This body would represent the world’s billions of people and its respect would lie in its respect of and the esteem people have for its recommendations for world problems.
Such a group sounds like Servant Leaders to me.
To A New Dialogue,