C O M M E N C E M E N T
1 9 9 8
From the Commencement address of His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama
You have achieved your goal, and now you are ready to begin another chapter. Now you really start real life. Real life may be more complicated. [You are] bound to face some unhappy things, hindrances, obstacles, and complications, so it is important to have determination, optimism, and patience. If you lack patience, even when you face some small obstacle, you lose courage. There is a Tibetan saying: "Even if you have failed at something nine times, you have still given it effort nine times." I think that's important. Use your brain to analyze the situation. Do not rush through it, but think. Once you decide what to do about that obstacle, then there's a possibility that you will achieve your goal.
We are now entering a new century. I believe humanity during this [past] century has experienced some surprising and great achievements in the fields of technology and science. Other experiences have been awful. In this century, a greater number of humanity have been killed through violence, including war and other forms of violence [than in any previous century]. And I think the ecological damage has been very serious.
But through these experiences, humanity is becoming more mature. I think one indication of that maturity is the evident concern for peace, nonviolence, and human rights. Even in the politicians' statements now, you hear the words "compassion" and "reconciliation."
Peace is now becoming more mainstream. I think these are the signs. Everywhere we hear of unhappy things in every part of the world, but I think there are many signs of hope. In any case, the future of humanity is entirely on our own shoulders. You have completed a good preparation for a better future. You must have what I call a sense of global responsibility.
I feel an atmosphere of spirituality, of belief, of faith, is also very important. Whether you are a believer or a non-believer is up to the individual. It is an individual right. In humanity, however, spirituality with faith is very useful. When we face some problem, the various different religious traditions help us keep our mental peace. Those people who believe, who accept religious value, should implement their faith as part of their daily lives, so that we can really feel the value of a religious tradition--not just on a few occasions in church, when we are not so much affected. Accept religion, and be a sincere practitioner.
Photo by Kay Hinton
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