From the beginning of human civilization feeding ourselves has been an objective of survival. Today the world faces poverty and starvation, people dying from hunger, children eating from garbage. Poverty causes life threatening disease and social conflict between rich and poor and discrimination and dominations from the stronger to the weaker in all levels in society. Injustice, corruption and wars are ever present and we face increasing climatic disasters, knowing that mankind has contributed to this. In many cities, pollution blocks our view of blue sky and greenery, breathing polluted rather than clean air.
To be human is to seek a solution. And so, we seek to understand the root causes of these world dilemmas.
Is it not possible that the solution lies in the application of an ethical response to all kinds of social issues that affect not only our humanity but our environment, the animal kingdom and our whole universe?
Secular ethics provides a moral, ethical model for the whole world. Surely it can provide an ‘antidote’ for the root causes of our world dilemmas. Secular Ethics is an inclusive approach to embrace our shared human inner values. It is not dependent on any particular religion. It respects all human beings (believers/non-believers), all communities, all cultures and all religions. It is based on common sense, common experience and scientific evidence. The foundation of secular ethics is laid by compassion and common humanity.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama, expresses a global vision for an ethical world through secular ethics. In 2000, he launched his book "Ethics for the New Millennium" which explains the ethics of restraint and the need for discernment and many other important concepts. The global community has started to understand his vision. In 2012, his book "Beyond Religion" was published inspiring the global community to act on one shared vision. These publications form the core resources of secular ethics. More recently Ayur Gyan Nyas and Emory University has developed Secular Ethics in education curriculum which has spread to several dozen countries hoping to adopt the curriculum in modern education globally.
The secular Ethics programs in Tong-Len Charitable Trust is carried out in joint partnership with The Dalai Lama Trust.
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Creating a Happier world
Layard opened the conversation by asking His Holiness how we can make our hearts warmer.
“We are well-equipped from birth to be warm-hearted and to take care of others,” he replied. “Our very survival depends on other members of our community. From the moment we are born we depend on our mother’s affection. Becoming familiar with being taken care of when we are young prepares us to look after others when are able to. Being warm-hearted and taking care of each other is a natural thing to do.
Our Happiness, Our Health, Our Future
“Real world peace is rooted in finding peace of mind. Anger, jealousy and frustration easily become a source of violence, therefore we need to strengthen the sense of compassion that is our basic human nature. As I said before, in the past we really only paid attention to our local community, whereas now we have to take the whole of humanity into account.
“We must focus on finding peace of mind, remembering that compassion is the foundation of genuine peace. As human beings, we have the same kind of face and the same kind of mind. Because we have so much in common, we have to find a way to live together side by side in a peaceful, happy world.