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Finding peace in a changing world

Abundant Joy from the Land of Snows – Tibetan New Year Festival

How do you feel about the state of our world? There is much going on in the world today that could cause us to feel dispirited and even hopeless.

So, should we simply switch off? Is ignorance bliss? Of course, disengaging from the world and its problems is not the answer. We can never solve problems by ignoring them – they only become worse if we do.

As His Holiness the Dalai Lama says, we can’t avoid natural disasters, but problems caused by humans must be solved by humans.

Then, how can we solve them? Is it possible to find answers and even happiness in this rapidly changing world?

According to Buddhist philosophy the best solutions generally come about through the qualities of wisdom and compassion. If we observe the world thoughtfully, we can see that if we attempt to solve a problem when motivated by negative emotions, such as hatred, we only make the problem worse. This can be seen from the level of personal problems, right up to international and global problems.

If we meet problems with wisdom, seeing the world as it really is, and through compassion, we have the best chance of solving them in the best possible way. How do we become wiser and more compassionate?

Broadly-speaking, from a Buddhist point of view, we become wiser and more compassionate through meditation. The Tibetan word for meditation is ‘gom’, meaning ‘to become familiar’. That is, to become familiar with positive states of mind, or those states of mind that are a cause of happiness for ourselves and others.

Buddhism has very many meditation methods for achieving a more peaceful mind, and for cultivating happiness-inducing states of mind. A natural result of a more peaceful mind is that we are better able to deal with problems and difficult situations and to make better decisions.

If we are more peaceful and positive, we create fewer problems for those around us, and our positive energy also has a beneficial effect on them.

In this way, we can be a deeply positive influence on those we interact with and our whole community. This gives us our lives much meaning and purpose.

If we have money and power, combined with wisdom and compassion, we can be of enormous benefit to the world. Conversely, if we have money and power but our minds are dominated by negative emotions such as discontent, greed or anger, our money and power will only be a source of more problems, now and in the future.

Humankind is not some kind of abstract entity – it is made up of individuals, like ourselves, so each of us, in our own way, contributes to what humanity is now, and what we will become.

Leading Buddhist meditation and mindfulness teachers from around Australia will explore Finding Peace in a Changing World at the much-loved Buddhist Spring Festival from 10.30 am to 4 pm at the Peaceful Land of Joy Meditation Centre on the weekend of 11 and 12 November.

There will be talks, free meditations for adults and children, a workshop, the Ceremony for World Peace, an exciting new food offer, market stalls, the popular Enjoyment Shop and tours of the magnificent gardens and traditional Tibetan temple.

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