The Dalai Lama's Peacemaking Activities
In society today, religion is always thought to be correlated with conflict more often than peace. Those aspects and effects of religion tend to be less emphasised or even forgotten completely. In this essay, I will highlight the effect that peacemaking in religion has on a contemporary audience. An example of peacemaking today in religion would be, the Dalai Lama.
Tenzin Gyatso, the fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibetan Buddhists is one of the most worldwide symbols for peace and an advocate for non-violence; an idol for humanity. I will be investigating Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness is committed to encouraging harmony among the world which is so inspiring to me.
Theological / Philosophical Background
It is believed by Buddhists that Dalai Lamas are the manifestation of the Bodhisattva (“enlightened being”) and the patron saint of Tibet. Tenzin Gyatso began his monastic education at a young age and then at 23 received his doctorate in Buddhist philosophy. Politics intervened to shape his life dramatically in 1950, when China invaded Tibet; he was forced to take on political power. After fleeing to India in 1959, he was the highest-profile global spokesperson for Tibet and is widely regarded as a faith and moral figure.
Tenzin Gyatso defines peace as “We can never obtain peace in the world if we neglect the inner world and don’t peace with ourselves. World peace must develop out of inner act… As long as the weapons are left alone in storage, they cannot do any harm. A human being must use them.” He preaches to show his people that good will not come from war and conflict and fighting back, but through refusing to fight in the long run it will ensure a better future.
The Dalai Lama negotiated with the Chinese government and in 1987 he proposed the Five Point Peace Plan. He proposed making Tibet a zone of peace, he halted nuclear weapon production and nuclear waste dumping in Tibet . He wanted Tibet to be “a sanctuary where enlightened people can exist in peace and the environment can be preserved.” All these steps were taken in order to achieve a peaceful solution to reconcile with the Chinese Government.
The Dalai Lama has made frequent appearances at interfaith services and his talk was sponsored by Namgyal Monastery Institute of Buddhist Studies in Ithaca. He has met with the “Archbishop of Canterbury, Pope John Paul II; Gordon B. Hinckley, the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and Patriarch Alexius II, of the Russian Orthodox Church. Dalai Lama in 1989, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent efforts for the liberation of Tibet.” (Multiculturalism and the Convergence of Faith and Practical Wisdom in Modern Society,Pascal, Ana-Maria, 2016) The Committee’s citation stated, ‘The Committee wants to emphasize the fact that the Dalai Lama in his struggle for the liberation of Tibet consistently has opposed the use of violence. He has instead advocated peaceful solutions based upon tolerance and mutual respect in order to preserve the historical and cultural heritage of his people.” (Nobel Prize Media, 2019)
I believe that the Dalai Lama was successful in peacemaking as he dedicated his life in order to achieve world peace, “The light of his vision has attracted not just Tibetans or Buddhists, but people of many faiths and many nationalities.” which proves his goal of achieving peace worldwide.( Dalai Lama Biography, 2019)
As evident in this essay, the Dalai Lama is proven to be successful in peacemaking as he not only dedicated his life to achieve world peace but isI also an advocate for non-violence; an idol for humanity.