In a new piece for Time magazine, the Dalai Lama shares his thoughts on dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, writing that we must combine courage with science to meet our unprecedented challenges.
Drawing on his wisdom as the head of Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama says the spread of the virus demonstrates how the world is interdependent and we all impact one another.
“The outbreak of this terrible coronavirus has shown that what happens to one person can soon affect every other being,” the Dalai Lama writes. “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.”
Prayer not enough
A revered leader of the Tibetan people—as well as a Nobel Peace Prize and US Congressional Gold Medal recipient—the Dalai Lama has lived in exile since the Chinese government annexed his homeland of Tibet in 1959.
In his Time article, the Dalai Lama writes that since he learned of the coronavirus outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan, he has been “praying for my brothers and sisters in China and everywhere else.”
But, he adds, it will take more than prayer to get through this.
The Dalai Lama applauds the courage doctors and nurses have shown during the pandemic and calls for combining that with empirical science to get past the outbreak.
He also says we should look out for people facing homelessness, isolation and other difficulties while cities and countries shut down.
“This crisis shows us that we are not separate from one another—even when we are living apart,” he writes. “Therefore, we all have a responsibility to exercise compassion and help.”
Confronting climate change
In the article, the Dalai Lama calls for international cooperation to address future challenges.
He writes that we must take action to prevent climate change and other dangers.
“This pandemic serves as a warning that only by coming together with a coordinated, global response will we meet the unprecedented magnitude of the challenges we face,” he writes.
He ends, “At this time of uncertainty, it is important that we do not lose hope and confidence in the constructive efforts so many are making.”
The Dalai Lama is the first Nobel Peace laureate to be recognized specifically for his commitment to environmentalism.
To this day, he remains a steadfast advocate for climate action in Tibet, where the rapidly warming habitat is putting the entire world at risk.
Dalai Lama’s leadership
The Time story is only the latest message His Holiness has shared about the pandemic.
On March 30, he published a message saying it’s normal to feel fear and anxiety at a time like this but that we should use “human ingenuity with determination and courage to overcome the problems that confront us.”
The Dalai Lama wrote that message in response to requests for advice he received from people around the world.
His new article in Time is already receiving a warm reception on social media:
THIS is leadership “I have been stressing ‘emotional disarmament’: to try to see things realistically & clearly w/o the confusion of fear or rage. If a problem has a solution we must work to find it; if it does not we need not waste time thinking about it” https://t.co/V7TdDxS4oz
— Magda Szubanski AO (@MagdaSzubanski) April 15, 2020
“This crisis shows us that we are not separate from one another—even when we are living apart. Therefore, we all have a responsibility to exercise compassion and help.” Wise words on #coronavirus from His Holiness the @DalaiLama https://t.co/IUinmGpahq
— Josh Rogin (@joshrogin) April 15, 2020
— Emma Barker (@emmajune) April 15, 2020