The Dalai Lama Says: Take a Break From Technology

Goodlifer: The Dalai Lama Says: Take a Break From Technology

“I think technology may have some benefits for a smart brain, but no capacity to produce compassion,” Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama told about 12,000 devoted fans at the opening session of the 2009 Vancouver Peace Summit. In a panel discussion about peace, the Dalai Lama, using the technology of a tiny microphone attached to his ear, said it is compassion and awareness that will lead to peace, and that peace starts first with individuals, goes to the family level, the community, and then on to leaders.

The Dalai Lama is surrounded by security as he arrives at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver for a panel discussion. Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward.

The Dalai Lama is surrounded by security as he arrives at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver for a panel discussion. Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward.

Ebay founder, and fellow panelist, Pierre Omidyar disagreed with the Dalai Lama’s comments about technology, saying the Internet has enabled us to discover that people around the world have much more in common than first believed and that can lead to peace.

The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu were both presented with the Fetzer Prize for Love and Forgiveness at the summit. Tutu issued his thanks via video (good use of technology) from South Africa because of an injured back and apologized for not being able to attend the summit. His daughter Reverend Mpho Tutu accepted the prize for her father and said she believed technology could be considered neutral in the quest for peace. “We can employ technology as a force for good, as a force for drawing us closer together,” she said.

The Dalai Lama is the star attraction for the three-day conference that will see Nobel Peace Prize winners and spiritual, corporate and social leaders gather to talk about world peace. Other summit participants include Kim Campbell, former prime minister of Canada, Mary Robinson, the first female president of Ireland and a former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Nobel prize winners Betty Williams and Mairead Maguire and authors Eckhart Tolle and Sir Ken Robinson.

The Dalai Lama laughs as a feedback problem with the microphones persists prior to the start of the panel discussion. Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward.

The Dalai Lama laughs as a feedback problem with the microphones persists prior to the start of the panel discussion. Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward.

Climate change has largely replaced peace as the main challenge facing humanity today, but that doesn’t mean it has become less important. Quite the contrary. As we are facing a changing world, with global scarcities of food, water and energy, a mind-set of compassion and peacefulness is crucial to our survival. We can make the world a better place if we do it together. Connecting face to face with other people inherently brings out compassion in all of us. Text, IM, Skype and e-mail are great ways of expanding networks and horizons and making the world a smaller place, but they only go so far. As someone who is forced to spend the greater part of my days glued to a monitor, I make a point of shutting down on the weekends — leaving the computer off and doing “real-world stuff” like cooking, yoga, taking long walks without purpose, knitting and sewing, and, most importantly, talking to my loved ones. It’s rejuvenating.

More than ever, people are craving spiritual guidance, said summit organizer Victor Chan. “All of us really need to have a moment in time when we slow right down and start reflecting on some of the finer things in life, the more fundamental things in life, and this is something the Dalai Lama is very good at getting people to think about,” he said.

The 14th Dalai Lama. Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward.

The 14th Dalai Lama. Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward.

The 14th Dalai Lama, whose name is Tenzin Gyatso, frequently travels to the West, spreading Buddhist teachings and promoting ethics and interfaith harmony. He is the author of several books on spirituality, peace and happiness and was in 1989 awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. This is His Holiness’ third visit to Vancouver in five years, he has a large following in the area and was in 2006 given honorary Canadian citizenship.

“Although he has such a huge following, so much of that comes from him being such a personable individual,” Brenda Eaton, chair of the Dalai Lama Centre for Peace and Education, told CTV News this week. Even for a divine incarnation, it pays to be nice.

Follow the Vancouver Peace Summit live online at CTV British Columbia.

Top photo by Jonathan Hayward, THE CANADIAN PRESS. The Dalai Lama greets the crowd prior to a panel discussion with the Reverend Mpho Tutu, in Vancouver, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2009.

[via CTV British Columbia]

About author
A designer by trade, Johanna has always had a passion for storytelling. Born and raised in Sweden, she's lived and worked in Miami, Brooklyn and, currently, Ojai, CA. She started Goodlifer in 2008 to offer a positive outlook for the future and share great stories, discoveries, thoughts, tips and reflections around her idea of the Good Life. Johanna loves kale, wishes she had a greener thumb, and thinks everything is just a tad bit better with champagne (or green juice).
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