The Dalai Lama

Most of our troubles are due to our attachment to things that we misapprehend as enduring entities. The pursuit of objects of our desire involves aggression and competitiveness. Science and technology are not capable of creating lasting happiness. They can only provide the type of happiness that is dependent upon physical conditions. Art makes the minds of the people turn inward. This is particularly helpful for those people whose minds are always being directed outward. (pp70-72)

Today, we, humanity, generally speaking, have reached a very high state of material development and knowledge about material things. At the same time material development, external matters, and external development are now showing us their own limitation. Matter alone cannot provide the full satisfaction or the joys of the individual, or of the community. We human beings have this physical body, as well as our mind. In order to have a happy life and a happy family we have to take care of the body as well as the mind. In this respect, material things usually are just serving a function or giving comfort for physical satisfaction. I think the human being needs compassion right from the beginning, even in the mother’s womb. During that period the mother’s compassionate mental attitude is connected with the unborn child. After the child is born, the next few weeks according to medical scientists, are very crucial for the development of the brain. During that period, simply the mother’s physical touch is a very important factor for the healthy development of the brain. For the current mental crisis in the United States one of the basic contributions to these mental disorders is lack of affection, lack of compassion whether from the family, from parents, or from society as a whole. (p78)

From the Buddhist viewpoint the ultimate creator, or the creative energy is the mind of sentient beings. Not only human beings but other sentient beings also, those beings which have a mind, or consciousness. That is the energy that creates a different environment, on two levels. One is the immediate effect, the other one is the long term effect. At this very moment, due to our minds we are using certain words and performing certain physical actions. We call these verbal actions as well as physical actions. Immediately an atmosphere is created, a pleasant atmosphere or an unpleasant one. This is ultimately created by the mind or the inner energy with action. That part of action we call karma. The action comes from certain motivation. That we call mind. So certain things are created as its immediate effect or result. Then this action or energy creates this particular temporary or present situation and this again gives a chain reaction and creates another condition, another situation. It always goes like this. The long-term pleasant or unpleasant consequences, or results are created in this way. Therefore a Buddhist usually sees himself or herself as the creator. So the good or bad future rests entirely on our own shoulders now. It is entirely dependent on our own behaviour at this time. In order to change the external situation, we must first change within ourselves. If we want a beautiful garden we must first have a blueprint of imagination, a vision. Then that idea can be implemented and then through external action this garden will materialise. So first it must come in the mind. (pp81-82)

Some mental states bring us good things, some bring us unpleasant things, some bring us happiness, or joy, some bring sorrow. So I think the artist has an important responsibility and present these clearly to humanity. Within this century humanity has learned many negative things. We had some very unpleasant, and very, very sad experiences. At the same time we learned good things, because through our tragic experience, through fear and anxiety which are very sad and negative, we were awoken and helped to open our eyes to alternatives. In that sense tragedy and suffering may have a good side. (p83)

Tisdall, C, Wijers, L, Kamphof, I (Eds.)(1990) Art meets Science and Spirituality in a changing Economy. SDU Publishers. Amsterdam.


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