–by Dalai Lama XIV (Oct 28, 2011)
Today’s challenges are so great — and the dangers of the misuse of technology so global, entailing a potential catastrophe for all humankind — that I feel we need a moral compass we can use collectively without getting bogged down in doctrinal differences. One key factor that we need is a holistic and integrated outlook at the level of human society that recognizes the fundamentally interconnected nature of all living beings and their environment. Such a moral compass must entail preserving our human sensitivity and will depend on us constantly bearing in mind our fundamental human values. We must be willing to be revolted when science — or for that matter any human activity — crosses the line of human decency, and we must fight to retain the sensitivity that is otherwise so easily eroded.
How can we find this moral compass?
We must begin by putting in faith the basic goodness of human nature, and we need to anchor this faith in some fundamental and universal ethical principles. These include a recognition of the preciousness of life, an understanding of the need for balance in nature and the employment of this need as a gauge for the direction of our thought and action, and — above all — the need to ensure that we hold compassion as the key motivation for all our endeavors and that it is combined with a clear awareness of the wider perspective, including long-term consequences. Many will agree with me that these ethical values transcend the dichotomy of religious believers and nonbelievers, and are crucial for the welfare of all humankind. Because of the profoundly interconnected reality of today’s world, we need to relate to the challenges we face as a single human family rather than as members of specific nationalities, ethnicities, or religions. In other words, a necessary principle is a spirit of oneness of the entire human species. Some might object that this is unrealistic. But what other option do we have?
I firmly believe it is possible. […]
Science and spirituality have the potential to be closer than ever, and to embark upon a collaborative endeavor that has far-reaching potential to help humanity meet the challenges before us. We are all in this together. May each of us, as a member of the human family, respond to the moral obligation to make this collaboration possible. This is my heartfelt plea.
–by the Dalai Lama XIV in The Universe in a Single Atom. The Convergence of Science and Spirituality. 2005
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