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Dalai Lama celebrates 10 years of Action for Happiness

28 Jul 2021 | Action for Happiness

His Holiness The Dalai Lama says community is the answer to climate change, grief and the pandemic.

The Dalai Lama has emphasised the importance of community as a way to tackle global problems. At a special audience held to mark the 10th anniversary of Action for Happiness, the Tibetan spiritual leader answered questions on happiness, compassion, grief, young people, climate change, mental health and the pandemic. He told the virtual gathering that "community is the basis of happiness and a successful life". 

Af H Event With Dalai Lama 1000

> Watch the Dalai Lama event video here

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"I appreciate the work by members of the Action for Happiness community to create a happier and more compassionate society. This is what our world needs" ~ Dalai Lama

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The Dalai Lama is a global thought-leader on happiness and compassion and is seen by many of his supporters as a living embodiment of compassion, wisdom, and equanimity. He has made several interventions during the pandemic, including urging political leaders to take climate breakdown seriously and encouraging people to get vaccinated. 

The consistent message he gave to the special audience was that separation by race, nationality and religion are outdated modes of thinking. Such notions should be secondary to the oneness of all human beings on earth. He said "we are social animals, one individual's survival depends on the community… affection, warm-heartedness and taking care of each other is the key factor" and that "a sense of brotherhood and sisterhood will develop a truly peaceful society… so we can build a concept of oneness of seven billion human beings". He said that this transcends religion and that he hoped we could learn to live together on the planet to solve the most significant crises we are facing today. 

When asked about climate change, the Dalai Lama noted it was beyond our individual control but said that by uniting with a sense of "sisterhood and brotherhood" for all humans, we could feel supported to act in the world. He spoke of the recent floods in Germany and said, "when things are difficult, people come out and help each other, this is human nature, combining our intelligence and warm-heartedness will create a much safer world and a much happier world."

MW On Zoom Screen With DL V 2 1000

Dr Mark Williamson, Chief Executive of Action for Happiness, said

"As His Holiness reminds us, we can't be happy or live a fulfilling life if we try and do it alone. The pandemic has brought some people together, but many others have been isolated, and we have also seen increased division, particularly online. Today is an important reminder that happiness comes from community, mutual support, good relationships and being together. Our members are taking action daily in their local communities to create more happiness, and the pandemic has made this work more vital than ever."

When asked about his relationship with Archbishop Desmond Tutu and how to bridge racial and ethnic divides, the Dalai Lama again spoke of the need to find common ground instead of division. He said that "different religions, different circumstances are secondary, basically we are human" and that despite having different faiths, Tutu "is a brother and we can all develop loving-kindness and respect to all humanity regardless of religion or belief". 

DL Laughing 1000

When asked about grief and loved ones lost during the pandemic, The Dalai Lama was moved by people's loss and spoke of the importance of community in recovering from grief. He said that "we may lose one individual, but community carries the oneness.. all your neighbours should give trusted friendship and community". He expressed grief can be an opportunity to seek guidance and be grateful for those still in our lives. For example, if we lose a husband, we may still have a brother or sister. He also spoke of the importance of legacy and honouring our relatives by carrying them forward in how we live our lives. 

When asked about the difficulties healthcare workers faced during the pandemic, the Dalai Lama said no one should feel guilty for needing rest or taking care of themselves. He said: "for people who are really dedicated to serving other people, taking care of themselves is also indirectly helping serving others" and to help as many people as possible they should "keep a fresh mind and think about your own rest and physical comfort" when needed.

When asked how we can support children's mental health in the pandemic, he suggested that "education should teach inner peace.. and include warm-heartedness". He urged the younger generation to retain a "hopeful optimism" despite the world's challenges and think of themselves as the "same humanity, living together" and working to solve the world's problems together.  

The Dalai Lama said:

"Happiness comes from our actions and warm-heartedness. I appreciate the work by members of the Action for Happiness community to create a happier and more compassionate society. This is what our world needs"

 

Notes to Editors 

For interviews, further comment and information, please contact: Sarah Vero Head of Communications Action for Happiness: 07414639227 sarah.vero@actionforhappiness.org

  • A recording of the live stream is available on the Dalai Lama's Youtube channel.

  • The special event to celebrate 10 years of Action for Happiness, including highlights of the Dalai Lama conversation plus other special guests, is available on the AfH YouTube channel.

  • Action for Happiness is a UK Charity with over 270,000 members and over a million followers online. Its patron is the Dalai Lama. It has no commercial, political or religious affiliations. Anyone can join Action for Happiness by pledging to create more happiness and less unhappiness in the world. 

  • AfH promotes the Ten Keys to Happier Living underpinned by the latest research in positive psychology. It also provides daily actions people can take to be happier and kinder through its app and online calendar, which millions of people use.

  • Throughout the pandemic, AfH has supported its members to meet in online groups to talk about happiness and mental health. It's flagship 8-week Exploring What Matters course has been run in over 250 locations and attended by thousands of people. It also hosts regular online webinars with leading thinkers on happiness, wellbeing and mental health, supports a network of Happy Cafes and provides resources for schools and organisations.

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