• The crises of contemporary civilization, the great turmoil, the problems we are encountering—what do these arise from? From the lack of loving kindness and compassion. I believe very deeply that compassion is the route not only for the evolution of the full human being, but for the very survival of the human race.

    In Tibet, there is a lot of suffering under the name of liberation. But if I see the Chinese leaders as human beings, our neighbors, people with a long history and a high civilization, instead of having ill-will, I have respect. Doing this helps reduce negative feelings and gives rise to patience and tolerance. This does not mean that I accept Chinese oppression. I do whatever I can to stand firm against oppression, but I do it without ill will. In the case of an individual, it is quite similar. If there is an unreasonable demand on you, it may require some resistance or countermeasure. But that countermeasure will be more effective if it is not motivated by anger. When your mind is dominated by anger, you become half-mad, and you won’t be able to hit the target.

    Instead of just saying our suffering is our karma, we need to understand what the primary cause is and what the contributing circumstances of our suffering are. In the case of great suffering coming about as a result of social injustice, we can say that the primary cause behind it is the karma of the individuals involved. The contributing conditions that allow that karma to ripen are the social injustices that are evident. So, for example, in the case of the Tibetans, the suffering the Tibetans actually experience arises essentially from their own karma; that is the primary cause, their own actions in previous lives. But the condition that allows that karma to ripen is the Chinese oppression. And so, to fight against conditions of social injustice is most appropriate.

    Foreigners who have visited Tibet often comment that people seem very happy there. I think the happiness and healthiness of the Tibetan people is primarily because Tibetan traditional culture is relatively free of violence.

    The traditional Tibetan culture doesn’t have many images of violence in it. It is not to say that there was never any violence in the homes in Tibet. But, up until the Chinese occupation and the continuing repression that has come with it, violence was rather rare. When it happened, people tended to be amazed. The same was true of divorce in Tibet. It would happen, on occasion, but when it did, people would raise their eyebrows in surprise. That signified that it was an unusual event.