"I believe that to meet the
challenge of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense
of universal responsibility. Each of us must learn to work not just for
his or her own sake, family or nation, but for the benefit of all mankind.
Universal responsibility is the real key to human survival. It is the best
foundation for world peace, the equitable use of natural resources and,
through concern for future generations, the proper care of the
"Whether we like it or not, we
have all been born on this earth as part of one great family. Rich or
poor, educated or uneducated, belonging to one nation, religion, ideology
or another, ultimately each of us is just a human being just like everyone
else. We all desire happiness and do not want suffering. Furthermore, each
of us has the same right to pursue happiness and avoid suffering. When you
recognize that all beings are equal in this respect, you automatically
feel empathy and closeness for them. Out of this, in turn, comes a genuine
sense of universal responsibility: the wish to actively help others
overcome their problems.
"Nowadays, significant events in
one part of the world eventually affect the entire planet. Therefore, we
have to treat each major local problem as a global concern from the moment
it begins. We can no longer invoke the national, racial or ideological
barriers that separate us without destructive repercussions.
"In the face of such global
problems as the greenhouse effect and depletion of the ozone layer,
individual organizations and single nations are helpless. Unless we all
work together, no solution can be found. Our mother earth is teaching us a
lesson in universal responsibility. Good wishes alone are not
enough; we have to assume responsibility."
- Tenzin Gyatso
Dalai Lama of Tibet
Excerpts from Universal Responsibility and our Global Environment.
Photograph: Sunset colors
the sky over the Phuket Islands, Thailand. Photo by Clarence Soh (Singapore).