Lara, aged 16

From your point of view, who embodies action for peace and how? Inspire yourself with a personality or someone from your entourage.

The Dalai Lama is the temporal and spiritual leader of the Tibetan people; he received the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award, the Raoul Wallenberg Congressional Human Rights Award and the Nobel Peace Prize. He is a man who embodies actions of peace. The Dalai Lama is a Buddhist and a guru; he is thought to be the reincarnation of a series of many spiritual leaders, chosen specifically to enlighten the lives of other humans. I am very inspired by his personality, role in society and actions. “How can we expect to find happiness and meaning in our lives when the modern world seems such an unhappy place?” says the Dalai Lama, in the book ‘the art of happiness in a troubled world’, by Howard C. Cutler. I agree with this statement: how can we embody actions of peace and be peaceful when our surroundings suffer from war all the time? People tend to analyze the negative things in their lives instead of focusing on the positive ones. I have chosen to write my essay about the Dalai Lama, of whom I am greatly inspired by; my reflections and opinions are based on his sayings and teachings.

War: when a human who has no self-control over his behavior does not get what he wishes for or seeks, and reacts with violence. This could be in a one-on-one argument, or one country against another. When humans do not understand each other or have no respect towards one another, it causes problems. The Dalai Lama says ‘the best way to overcome difficulties is to rely on human understanding and respect’. People need to learn how to respect each other. One of the main teachings of Buddhism is to reach inner peace. If everyone reached inner peace, it would be a world with no one needing to hurt each other, and without jealousy, which is a cause of war. War is caused by conflict, which is generally triggered by a simple misunderstanding, and all we need is respect and a determination for peace to overcome this state of anger.

Many people look at life simply, seeing everything as either black or white. Other people look at life from another point of view and see shades of grey. Every peaceful action leads to peace. But what is peace? Is there a state that the world could attain and be one hundred percent peaceful? If people were more open-minded and accepting of each other, this would be an action that embodies peace. ‘The only true guardian of peace lies within: a state of concern and responsibility for your own future and an altruistic concern for the well being of others’, says the Dalai Lama. If everyone reached a state where they felt peaceful within their own definition of peace, and others accepted it, then we would reach our goal.

Humans have basic needs that fulfilled does not lead them to wish for more. These needs and qualities are tolerance, compassion, acceptance, kindness and love. ‘Without basic human qualities such as love, compassion, and kindness, we cannot survive. They are essential to our own peace and mental stability,’ quotes the Dalai Lama. A human who feels loved and is able to love will feel more happy and peaceful than a human who lives without it. If people were more curious about their environment they would feel more relaxed and at peace with it, which would help them feel more understanding of other cultures and environments.

Having peace of mind will help one embody actions of peace. If you learn to be tolerant, and take the time to understand and respect people, you will be on the path leading to peace of mind, meaning you feel comfortable with your mind and body. ‘This peace of mind is central to what we are looking for in life. It determines the attitude we have towards the world, and towards our neighbors and our enemies too.’ Attitude. That is the answer. Everyone needs to adopt a better attitude towards his or her surroundings, and not take anything for granted. Taking things for granted, and not being grateful, leads to unhappiness and disappointment. You never know how much something means to you until you lose it; this is a famous quote and very true. If everyone made a small effort, and took the time to analyze what they truly wanted in life, no one would choose war. But many people do not have the patience to make this decision. People say they have patience, though most do not wish to acknowledge the fact that they don’t. Many people want what they want, and the fastest yet cruelest way to get it is by hurting and killing. It is hard to understand someone’s mind that works like this. Several people will blame this on a lack of education, when it really comes down to the way one feels about him or herself, furthermore a way to take out one’s frustrations. Individuals and cultures are frustrated because they think that they need what other cultures have in order to be happy.

According to Buddhism and the Fourth Nobel Truth, there is an end to suffering, ‘The path to the cessation of suffering’. This path is based on self-improvement, and leads to the end of the cycle of rebirth. It is believed that every time you are reincarnated, it is to undergo karmic conditions. The goal is to be enlightened; then you will have broken the cycle of rebirth. Once you reach this stage you are in Nirvana, where everything is peaceful and perfect. Many Buddhists try to reach this stage my meditation: clearing your mind of thoughts. If everyone tried to embrace the values of tolerance, acceptance and compassion there would be worldwide peace. I am impressed that the Dalai Lama has devoted his life to educating, lecturing and helping humanity throughout the world to come to peace with itself; a life dedicated to attaining peace.

In conclusion, the Dalai Lama represents peace, and I am very inspired by his work and teachings. He has changed many people’s lives, he has helped numerous countries and his beliefs are well-rounded and very interesting to study. Buddhism fascinates me; I find it interesting since it is linked to nature and it’s approach to humans is remarkable. The Dalai Lama believes that everything is connected; we need to be at peace with nature and with our environment, not only with each other. Instead of attacking and destroying our environment we need to respect and listen to it. Too many people see the environment as hostile, which takes away from feelings of peace. If humans worked together cooperatively towards a better world, in love and kindness, acceptance and respect, we would reach a state of peace throughout the world.

About UN News Geneva

Sharing entires to the United Nations Peace Essay competitions run by the Information Service in Geneva in 2011
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