Dalai Lama says technology gets in way of peace
Published Sunday, September 27, 2009 6:05PM PDT
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama told the 2009 Vancouver Peace Summit Sunday that in order to achieve world peace each of us must first look within ourselves to find inner happiness.
The 74-year-old exiled leader never wavered from his positive message as he spoke to a sold-out crowd of 1,200 at the University of British Columbia.
"Peace gives inner joyfulness. Not only just to survive but also in the mind, there is a much sort of comfort. Much sort of joyfulness."
The Dalai Lama was joined by several notable laureates, including Vancouver's own Eckhart Tolle, in a panel discussion about connecting for world peace.
"I wrote in a book that 100-million human beings had been killed by other human beings in the 20th century. But I was wrong. I was told it was closer to 200-million human beings," Tolle said.
The Dalai Lama expressed concern that technology may be getting in the way of modern peace efforts.
"I think technology may have some benefits for a smart brain, but no capacity to produce compassion," he told the crowd at the summit opening.
EBay founder and fellow panelist, Pierre Omidyar disagreed with the spiritual leader's comments. He says the Internet has lead to greater connectivity between people - something he believes can spur future peace.
The Dalai Lama is the centerpiece of the three-day peace conference, including panel discussions with Nobel Peace Prize winners and spiritual, corporate and social leaders.
Love and Forgiveness
The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu were both presented with the Fetzer Prize for Love and Forgiveness Sunday morning.
Tutu, who injured his back, accepted his award via video link from South Africa.
The longtime activist and cleric said religion has often been used almost diabolically to encourage xenophobia and homophobia.
"I sometimes wonder how people could ever think that God is a Christian," he said. "The spirit of God is wider than any one particular faith."
Tutu's daughter, Reverend Mpho Tutu, accepted the prize on behalf of her father.
She says technology should be considered neutral in the pursuit of peace.
"We can employ technology as a force for good, as a force for drawing us closer together," she said.
Governor General Michaelle Jean sent a videotaped greeting to the summit. She called the gathering a "dazzling constellation of global-change agents."
She says efforts like this are crucial to renew the spirit of peace.
"Yet daunting challenges lie ahead, every day women and men are slaughtered and maimed in armed conflicts," she said.
A spiritual experience for many
Fans waiting outside the summit to witness the incredible spirit of the Dalai Lama in person say they were touched by the experience.
"I'm too moved to speak," one fan told CTV British Columbia.
"I was just standing there waiting to take a photo and not wanting to take a photo because I just wanted to just see him you know and that was a really beautiful thing," Insiya Rasiwala said.
"I feel like I got Goosebumps when he came out," another said. "It's pretty impressive."
The summit will close Tuesday with a discussion on peace-building and women featuring the Dalai Lama, humanitarian Mia Farrow and California first lady Maria Shriver.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Stephen Smart and files from The Canadian Press