His Holiness the Dalai Lama Speaks to the Medical Staff at Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, New Delhi
[dalailama.com] New Delhi, India, 20 January 2015 – In response to an invitation from the Director Dr Prof HK Kar and members of the faculty, His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital today. Formerly known as the Willingdon Hospital, it was originally founded in the early 20th century during the British Raj to treat government staff. His Holiness was received on arrival by the Director who escorted him to a packed auditorium where more than 400 doctors, nurses and other medical staff were waiting to listen to him.
Following Dr Kar’s introduction, His Holiness said it was a great honour for him to have the opportunity of speaking to doctors, nurses and other staff who devote their lives to looking after the sick and needy. In his remarks on the theme “Compassion and Ethics” he stressed the importance of inner values, of having a good motivation in whatever you do and the necessity of creating an awareness of secular ethics. He referred to his own commitments to spreading awareness of human values and inter-religious harmony.
“We are all the same, physically mentally and emotionally,” he told his audience. “We all want happiness just like other animals. And we all have a right to live a happy life. However, what differentiates us from animals is our intelligence. Our intelligence and our more powerful brains give us the potential to make others happy besides ourselves. And yet, when we use our intelligence in negative or destructive ways, we create problems such as the organized or mechanized violence that is war. This is why we need to use our intelligence more positively and see ourselves as just as one among seven billion other human beings.
“I am a great admirer of the thought of ancient India. Ahimsa or non-violence gave rise to widespread tolerance and a strong sense of secularism, which in India means cultivating respect for the convictions of all those of religions faith as well as those who have none. In the West, the word secularism is considered by some to be similar to atheism, having no respect for any religion. Ancient Indian philosophy and psychology were deep and profound. If we compare ancient Indian psychology with Western psychology today, Western psychology is just at the beginning.
“India is also a country where the world’s major religions have long lived together side by side. Apart from some occasional unfortunate incidents, by and large there has been significant harmony among religious traditions here. This connects with my life’s second commitment: the promotion of inter-religious harmony. Since all religious traditions talk about love, compassion and forgiveness, they should all be able to live together in respect and harmony. Such an understanding will be of great help to humanity.
“Cultivating a good heart and a positive motivation are very important. We have a Tibetan saying that this doctor is learned but his medicine is not very effective, whereas that doctor, while not very learned, makes more effective medicine because he is warmer-hearted. If you have a genuine sense of concern for others, your treatment will be more successful. The key is to smile and be warm in your interactions. The stern faced doctor treats his patients as little more than machines to be fixed, whereas the doctor who smiles understands the importance of putting the patient at ease. Doctors and nurses are truly admirable in their efforts to help others. I readily speak about compassion, but you people put it into effect. Wonderful.”
His Holiness answered many questions from the audience. Asked if competition between doctors is good or not, His Holiness replied that it depends on the motivation.
“If the motivation is to succeed in order to help others more effectively, it’s good. But if the intention is to reach the top for your own selfish interests, it’s not of much help.”
To a question about whether we should acknowledge one truth, one faith, or many, he said that that the notion of one religion and one truth may be useful at the level of the individual, but in terms of the wider community we have to acknowledge the existence of several faiths and several truths. He also explained that the nature of mind is pure and that the defilements, the disturbing emotions that cloud it are not of the nature of the mind. He said we need to train our minds to achieve happiness, inner peace and good health. The audience clearly enjoyed His Holiness’s talk and showed their appreciation with thunderous applause at the end.