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My name is Arthur Brooks. I’m a professor at the Harvard business school in the Harvard Kennedy School, where I teach the subject of leadership and happiness, and I as well as everyone joining us today, we are thrilled to be with his holiness the Dalai Lama. the Dalai Lama is a living bodhisattva.
He is the spiritual leader of Tibetan buddhism and the Tibetan people since 1959. He has lived outside Tibet, making his home in Dharamsala, India, from where he joins us today.
The Dalai Lama works tirelessly for the dignity and prosperity of the Tibetan people and brings a message of compassion and love and enlightenment and humility to the entire world in a world that’s torn apart by hatred.
The Dalai Lama is a voice for human unity: over the decades he has become the most recognized religious figure in the world, revered by billions of people and influencing leaders globally.
He has changed countless lives and those lives include my own life. His holiness and I have been friends for seven years. He has been a beloved teacher in my personal journey, as well as my leadership journey.
He has helped me to understand that I am one of seven billion human beings – that we are all brothers and sisters, and that my sacred leadership calling is to lift other people up and bring them together in bonds of solidarity.
You will see tonight in Boston in the morning, of course, in India, how he has taught me these things and how all of us can learn these things as well. In addition to our worldwide livestream audience, we are joined by a group of my students at the Harvard business School from all over the world.
They will be introducing themselves and asking questions later in the program. We’re also joined by Srikanth Dattar, the Dean of the Harvard Business school, Nithin Noria, the former Dean of the Harvard Business School, Douglas eldendorf, the Dean of the Harvard Kennedy School and Len Schlesinger, who teaches leadership and happiness with me at the Harvard Business School. And now now we’ll start our conversation about leadership and happiness with his holiness.
Your holiness, you have taught me almost everything of importance that I know about the science and art of happiness. You’ve taught many years about this subject.
Spirituality is first on the list, so let’s start with spirituality. Yes, what is the importance of spirituality and meditation in attaining happiness?
Firstly, I am great honor and feel very happy.
In having discussion with your harvard university’s professors and my old friend and some students. So now, happiness is, i think very purpose of our daily life, for happy life. If you see that things become really unbearable, then die – worst case suicide.
Even you see without a suicide but mentally unbearable sort of situation, then that really, the will to live, reduce so automatically you see, you will die like that. So, therefore, the self-confidence with hope is the key factor for our survival.
Now uh, usually I sort of expressing or description um, hygiene of physical and hygiene of emotion, hygiene or physical. Is we usually take care now, hygiene of emotion it’s? It’s entirely different on yourself, so that means you see, fear of anger.
You see these mental sort of uh attitude really reduce your life. So mental level – happy and a full self-confidence, but then that mental sort of way of thinking really give us some kind of will.
My life is something meaningful – something useful. That kind of the thinking gives you inner strength. So now healthy mind depends on these mental level. Self-Confidence for that self-confidence with sufficient reason, ultimately, is see peace of mind, and also you see your life as we are social animal.
You are one of the member of the social animal. So by birth you see the taking care of each other. That’s very nature, human nature. So your life, you see, always you see helping others, and then you see you get the feeling of my life.
Uh, really meaningful life as a social animal. This is just extremely selfish thinking. It’s actually against social animal sort of thinking. Social animal by nature take care of your group. Just oneself – always think oneself it’s actually impractical like that.
So therefore I always tell people. Firstly, we need some sense of oneness of 7 billion human being on this planet. We have to live together and individuals future depend on them, one individual, one of the seven billion human beings or city – group like that, so that this is on that level.
You see too much self-centered thinking, selfish is actually against that nature. So extreme, this is selfish way is actually destroying your own or happy life.
Look children at young age. They don’t care.
What color, what races, what nationality, what religion so long as we play together and then you see there is a real sense of community there. I feel once we join school, then not much talking oneness of human being, but rather different country, different religion or different color, and then also you see within same religion, same sort of color, but then the rich and poor.
There are too many distinction, differences, discrimination. So so i feel now today’s world. As I mentioned earlier at the beginning, young age. There is sort of feeling of oneness, then gradually join school.
Then too much emphasis about these differences. Then the oneness of human brother sisters is diminishing, rather my nation, my country or my race, like that. So therefore education is very, very important.
Then the entire sort of world education, difficult to say. but like Harvard University, one famous university – you see, should carry some of these principles. Then show other universities, like that Howard University, very, very famous.
So so I’m very happy to have this sort of opportunity to talk. Then now hear some students, some students or some younger professors. So I would like to take questions. Our students will ask questions in just in just a minute.
They’re ready with a number of good questions. Okay, so i would like to have a more complicated question: okay, a more complicated question so that you help me fully utilize my brain.
If questions just a silly question, then my brain sleep: okay, no silly questions, [, Laughter, ],
Your Holiness. I want to ask you about leadership and and happiness. You have met leaders from all over the world and you’ve given them a lot of advice.
They have a lot of money and a lot of power, but many leaders are not happy people, so this is a hard question, I think. Why are so many leaders unhappy people?
I feel very much sort of depends on our education system – then leadership.
Also, human brothers sisters are basically the same. We are the member of social animal. Now, as I already mentioned, it is through education, we emphasis a sense of oneness of 7 billion human being. We are social animal so that I feel our education not much sort of emphasis on that level.
So then, basically, we really need a sense of oneness of human being , and you see emphasis my nation, their nation, my religion, their religion. These are secondary level, so, basically, we are same human being.
We have to live on this planet together. We all share the same planet, same world and then to this reality, there was the economy and also now climate situation. You see there is no sort of way to make distinction – our nation, their nation. ,
We have to live together and the economy also global economy, then the environment. Now we all share, for example, global warming. We all share same way. So now, unlike I think past century, we can just emphasis my nation, my continent. Now time you can no longer say that. We should say we human beings on this planet.
We simply, you see, have to think we, rather than just my nation like that, so so now today this intelligence, human intelligence, now think for wider way, not just my nation, my people but think about humanity.
Because we have to live together and we all facing same problem: economy, problem, then the ecology problem, these things – so I am emphasizing importance of concept of oneness of seven billion human being.
We have to think entire humanity entire world.
Thank you, Your holiness. When you meet a leader who’s an unhappy person, what advice do you give that person? What advice do you give an unhappy leader so that the leader can be a happier person that’s?
A difficult question? I think some leaders, I think difficulties, I think their own creation.
In my lifetime I met a number of leaders, including religious leaders or political leaders. You see, most case those leaders more open-mind, more liberal, more happier. Is it too much also they thinking oneself, as I mentioned earlier, you see and again, the leaders come from society and leaders.
Also you see through our existing school, so now education system, I think a key factor. We should pay more attention about education, how to educate human brothers, sisters more as a wiser and more open-minded like that.
So this system, the whole education is such the people – entire community. From that kind of education, then certain sort of thinking, more narrow-minded thinking. Then leaders come from that society – same – so we can’t sort of blame each of those individuals, I think whole system.
I feel I always talking our education system must be more compassionate, think, humanity, rather than my nation, my nation, like that. So i hope Harvard University you see, more research, how to develop education system which eventually bring more wiser sort of student, so that’s very important, and then leadership comes from that kind of education – automatically more wiser like that.
Our students here today are the next generation of leaders that want to lift up the world and to bring compassion to people just like you say, which is why this is so important. One of the things that we find is that, even though we’re all surrounded by people all the time, you one time said, we feel lonely.
When we’re, not alone, a lot of people feel very lonely today. Why do so many people feel lonely, and what can we do to help them?
I think that’s your own sort of way of thinking. Otherwise, now with telephone and television, we can reach everywhere.
In ancient time, of course, for example, when we tibetan. inside Tibet, then India very far. Now we become India and open society, and then from here you see a telephone everywhere. So I think, with technology, the oneness of human world now become much more clear.
So I think now, with the technology very, very helpful, you see to communicate each other very easily. Meantime, ultimately depend on one individual mind and attitude.. So I think, for example, like a Tibet in ancient time, in normal, there are really lonely one family, two families like that.
Now today you see big cities, millions of people live together, so their way of life is very much depend on the rest of the community. But mentally those Tibetan who remain lonely, but mentally happy and sense of also the group – very clear.
So they one family feel next family, if I need some help, I can ask. Very strong sense of one community. Without that in big cities, then next to your room, people there, but you do not know and instead it’s not trust it’s fear, distress like that, so this, i think – the Individual mental sort of way of thinking and this society more compassionate society, then the sense of the sense of community easily come not much sort of talking about compassion, just selfish self-esteem, then lonely feeling.
Do you believe, your holiness that to be less to be less lonely that one should be more compassionate toward others? In other words, if i bring happiness to other people, will i become a happier person myself? I remember, i think, the new york business family chicago, you see.
Oh one time you say of course, uh several times we met and they take some group of Tibetan refugees settled in their area and then the reason they told me the Tibetan community, usually you see very friendly and very strong sense of same community, and a more compassionate attitude, so he very much impressed that kind of attitude you see should spread in America. So that’s the main reason he told me he took some I think a few hundred Tibetan settler near his place. So usually wherever is a Tibetan live, you see people also notice more harmony, more compassion, but except a few cases. Otherwise you see very peaceful, very peaceful like that.
So therefore, now in big city, several millions, but mentally lonely like this – in some area. You see people very few, but no not having is a lonely feeling.
Your holiness, what’s the biggest mistake that leaders make? The biggest mistake for happiness that leaders make when they’re leaders of nations or their leaders of companies?
What is the mistake that you see leaders making all the time that you could, if you could correct it, that you would.
I think same community? I think European Union’s leader, you see since they create union, particularly like France, French and Germany in the first world war.
Second, world war, arch enemy, but then after second world war, under the leadership of antara, because arjuna and jugul you see they uh develop. They create union of europe. So those leaders in the european union see they, I think that automatically in their mind, when they say use the word, we immediately human union now. England is so far a little complicated, so they so you see it’s, a more so diversity. A sense of community then mentally also more peace and the sense of we and much stronger like that.
So eventually, I think uh, like european union, eventually should create in Latin America and Africa.
So eventually, I think the whole world should have one union of human brothers sisters. I feel like that.
I cannot see my life lifetime, but hoping so those younger generation. It is your responsibility, think more serious and make some effort.
Your Holiness. Let’s talk to some of our students.
PLEASE WATCH THE VIDEO FOR QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FROM HBS STUDENTS.