Dalai Lama Quote from Snow Lion Publications

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Dalai Lama Quote of the Week

Global Responsibility
Occasionally I notice that people are making a convenient distinction between ethics on the personal level and ethics on the wider social level. To me, such attitudes are fundamentally flawed, as they overlook the interdependence of our world.

That individual ethics–or rather their absence–can have an impact on the lives of many is powerfully demonstrated by the global financial crisis that began in 2008, the repercussions of which are still being felt around the world. It revealed the way unbridled greed on the part of a few can adversely affect the lives of millions. So, just as in the wake of the 9/11 attacks we started to take the dangers of religious extremism and intolerance seriously, so too, in the wake of the financial crisis, should we take the dangers of greed and dishonesty seriously. When greed is seen as acceptable, even praiseworthy, there is clearly something wrong with our collective value system.

In this age of globalization, the time has come for us to acknowledge that our lives are deeply interconnected and to recognize that our behavior has a global dimension. When we do so, we will see that our own interests are best served by what is in the best interests of the wider human community. By contrast, if we concentrate exclusively on our inner development and neglect the wider problems of the world, or if, having recognized these, we are apathetic about trying to solve them, then we have overlooked something fundamental. Apathy, in my view, is itself a form of selfishness. For our approach to ethics to be truly meaningful, we must of course care about the world. This is what I mean by the principle of global responsibility, which is a key part of my approach to secular ethics.(p.84)

–from Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, trans. by Thupten Jinpa Langri

Beyond Religion • This Week’s Featured Quote!

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