Thursday, April 03, 2008

Search for a Global Ethic

In anticipation of the July visit to Pennsylvania of the Dalai Lama, the Bethlehem Public Library is holding a series of discussions of his book "Ethics for the New Millenium", in which the Dalai Lama explores the notion of the development of a universal code of ethics and human rights based on global values.
Tonight's speaker was Dr. Donald St. John, religion professor at Moravian College. He gave an introduction to the life of the Buddha, his search for an end to human suffering and his compassion for all beings, the Four Noble Truths he discovered, and the Eightfold Path to liberation.
In addition to an overview of Buddhism, tonight's theme was also the first four chapters of the book. In these chapters, the Dalai Lama discusses the universal quest for happiness and proposes that our common human experience be the basis for global ethics. Although religions may be diverse, the experience of spirituality including love, compassion, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, and contentment seems to be common to all human beings. He also explains that we are not strictly independent isolated entities, but rather interrelated beings with a complex set of relationships. The interests of any human being is profoundly connected with the interests of the whole. Genuine, lasting happiness is an inner peace deeply rooted in a concern for the well being of others.
I am looking forward to more discussions of this nature. I love hearing diverse viewpoints as we search for a new set of global human values influenced by the traditions we cherish yet moving forward towards a new increasingly interconnected future.


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