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'Calm mind is key to happiness'

I am a son of India, says the Dalai Lama on the first day of the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit. The Dalai Lama also stressed on the importance of a peaceful mind for working towards happiness. In pics
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON NOV 19, 2010 06:50 PM IST

Speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit on the art of happiness in troubled times, the Dalai Lama on Friday said that there are two kinds of suffering in this world - the physical pain and the mental pain.

The physical pain has gone down in the modern times due to economic progress and development of science and technology. However, the same can't be said about mental pain which leads to unhappiness.

These days mental level pain or stress is more due to competition and is more intense in cities like in Kolkata and Delhi whereas in rural areas physical difficulty is more while mental stress is less.

The core of the message the Nobel peace prize winner delivered to the packed Darbar Hall of the Taj Palace Hotel in New Delhi was about finding inner happiness and compassion to promote peace and happiness. Quoting the 8th century Buddhist scholar from Nalanda, Shantideva, the Dalai Lama said, "You cannot cover the whole world's thorns with leather. But it's enough to cover only your feet. Similarly, by controlling your own anger you can overcome your enemies."

Giving the example of a Tibetan monk who spent 19 years in a "Chinese gulag", he said, "When he could come over to India and I met him again, he said he was afraid in the prison. Was it for his life? No, he said he was afraid that he would lose compassion towards the Chinese people. That's the Tibetan way."

Prayers help believers to stay on the path of compassion. For non-believers, which he reckoned made up the majority of the world's population today, "the secular way to warm-heartedness" must come through introspection and lived experiences, he said.

The leader of the Tibetan people also said that prayers alone don't help when it comes to improving the lot of whole communities - for that, concerted action is needed.

"I was in Bihar recently to unveil a Buddha statue… The state's chief minister said Bihar was more prosperous with the Buddha's blessing. When it was my turn I said had it been because of the Buddha then the state would have prospered long ago," said the Buddhist monk.

"The relationship between India and Tibet is one of guru and chela," he said while talking on India-Tibet relation.

"We learnt a lot from Indian scholars. And I always introduce myself to western audiences as a scholar of Indian thought… So we are chelas. But you must agree that we have been reliable chelas," he added with a chuckle.

The questions at the end of the session brought in fresh energy to the interaction.

Hindustan Times editor Sanjoy Narayan, who moderated the morning session, asked the Dalai Lama for a way to address the issue of the disenchantment that seems to be rife among today's youth.

The 75-year-old monk replied, "Our generation belongs to the 20th century, a century of violence during which more than 200 million people were killed. This century is new yet… But whether it will be as violent will depend on the young people of today. If they can shun the hypocrisy and artificial things of the previous generation and enrich their inner wealth, it's possible."

Suhel Seth, co-founder of Equus advertising agency, asked the Dalai Lama on his "succession planning".

To this the Tibetan leader said with a laugh, "It isn't a serious question to me. But the Communist government is looking at it very seriously… It's for the Tibetan people to decide… If I die in the next few days, they may want to continue with the institution of the Dalai Lama. But if it's 20, 30 years later, who knows?"

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