The coronavirus has upended the lives of human beings everywhere in our world – taking the lives of more than one million people, causing millions more to experience illness and affecting the employment, livelihood, education and freedom of movement of almost everyone on the planet.
In an article in Time in April this year, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama gave his perspective on the disruption and uncertainty we are all experiencing, and how we can draw on our most positive qualities and potential to respond to the pandemic:
We Buddhists believe that the entire world is interdependent. That is why I often speak about universal responsibility. The outbreak of this terrible coronavirus has shown that what happens to one person can soon affect every other being. But it also reminds us that a compassionate or constructive act—whether working in hospitals or just observing social distancing—has the potential to help many.
Ever since news emerged about the coronavirus in Wuhan, I have been praying for my brothers and sisters in China and everywhere else. Now we can see that nobody is immune to this virus. We are all worried about loved ones and the future, of both the global economy and our own individual homes. But prayer is not enough.
This crisis shows that we must all take responsibility where we can. We must combine the courage doctors and nurses are showing with empirical science to begin to turn this situation around and protect our future from more such threatsHis Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama
Throughout the year His Holiness has given a series of online presentations that have brought guidance and support to people across the world. These have included teachings on some of the major texts of Tibetan Buddhism, such as Jetsun Tsong Khapa’s The Three Principal Aspects of the Path and In Praise of Dependent Origination, as well as general dialogues on such subjects as Conflict, COVID and Compassion, and the need for secular ethics to form part of a modern education curriculum.
The fact that so many people have been able to access His Holiness’ wisdom and kindness over the last few months has been one positive outcome, helping us to navigate this difficult time.
All at the Tibetan Buddhist Society thank His Holiness for his continuous compassionate support for our kind teacher, the most Venerable Geshe Acharya Thubten Loden, for our centres, and for all human beings. May His Holiness have a long life, peerless good health and excellent conditions at all times.