I usually agree with the Dalai Lama, and have gained much from listening to him. One of the things I enjoy about Tibetan teaching stories are that there is so much Nature in them and a deep respect for all living things. Yesterday, the Dalai Lama was credited with the following:
“We have to think and see how we can fundamentally change our education system so that we can train people to develop warm-heartedness early on in order to create a healthier society. I don’t mean we need to change the whole system, just improve it. We need to encourage an understanding that inner peace comes from relying on human values like, love, compassion, tolerance and honesty, and that peace in the world relies on individuals finding inner peace.”
I do not believe that "Love, compassion, tolerance” - are exclusive to humans. Inner peace comes from nature not culture. Until we accept that peace is a natural state - and humans are just a tiny speck of what is or can possible get there - we will continue to seek answers to the wrong questions in the wrong places.
Culture can never provide, at any price, what Nature freely teaches all who stumble into her domain. Nature gives us life and death, but Culture turns us away from her, not to teach or heal, but to feed itself.
Because we can no longer simply walk away from the hut and find ourselves surrounded by nature, and no doubt most Americans today would be scared shitless in such a place, it is still where we come from, and will always remain so. Despite the best culture can do to divert us, the air we breathe, the food in our gut, even our bodies begin and end with nature.
If we are to find inner peace, our center will be rooted in nature, deep in living soil warmed by the sun, and moistened by soft rain. If we are rooted well enough in nature, this relationship might keep our hearts warm as we wander among those who have lost or never found peace, as they spin in the vortex of human constructs.
We are never alone; infinite proof of this finds our senses, but it is up to us to read them. Humanity seeks to serve itself by filling our senses with noise – diverting us from peace, truth and warm heartedness. Searching for inner peace in Culture, or by promoting as human what is easily found in nature, are quest and thinking that fail at dead ends.
The often missed apex of Culture is the gate out, and I am sure the Dalai Lama sits close to it. If he had just left the word ‘human’ out of his statement I would have no complaint.