An extract from His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s book ‘Ancient Wisdom, Modern World. Ethics for the New Millennium’.
Whether visiting one of our schools for Tibetan refugees in India or speaking to student audiences abroad, I am always very happy to meet young people. They have a natural enthusiasm for justice and peace, and they tend to be much more open and flexible of mind than adults. No matter how well disposed towards change we are, we adults undoubtedly find it more difficult. Meeting the young also reminds me that children constitute humanity’s most precious resource. Given that their moral outlook is largely shaped by their upbringing, it is essential to educate them responsibly.
The human mind (lo) is both the source and, properly directed, the solution to all our problems. Those who attain great learning but lack a good heart are in danger of falling prey to the anxieties and restlessness which result from desires incapable of fulfilment. This is because what I call material knowledge can easily be a source of negative thoughts and feelings. Conversely, a genuine understanding of spiritual values brings peace. If we bring up our children to have knowledge without compassion, their attitude towards others is likely to be a mixture of envy of those in positions above them, aggressive competitiveness toward their peers and scorn for those less fortunate. This leads to a propensity towards greed, presumption, excess and, very quickly, to loss of happiness. Knowledge is important, but much more important is the use towards which it is put. This depends on the heart and mind of the one who uses it.