Monday, November 3, 2008
The Path To Freedom
I've just finished this book. It's extraordinary and taught me a lot about the Dalai Lama's life, Tibet, and much more. I highly recommend it. Here is a a bit from the chapter titled From East To West. Enjoy.
Overall I have found much that is impressive about western society. In particular, I admire its energy and creativity and hunger for knowledge. On the other hand, a number of things about the western way of life cause me concern. One thing I have noticed is an inclination for people to think in terms of 'black and white' and 'either, or', which ignores the facts of interdependence and relativity. They have a tendency to lose sight of the grey areas which inevitably exist between tow points of view.
Another observation is that there are a lot of people in the West who live very comfortably in large cities, but virtually isolated from the broad mass of humanity. I find this very strange - that under the circumstances of such material well-being and with thousands of brothers and sisters for neighbours, so many people appear able to show their true feelings only to their cats and dogs. This indicates a lack of spiritual values, I feel. Part of the problem here is perhaps the intense competitiveness of life in these countries, which seems to breed fear and a deep sense of insecurity.
For me, this sense of alienation is symbolised by something I once saw at the home of a very rich man whose guest I was on one of my trips abroad. It was a very large private house, obviously designed expressly for convenience and comfort, and fitted with every kind of appliance. However, when I went into the bathroom, I could not help noticing two large bottles of pills on the shelf above the hand basin. One contained tranquillisers, the other sleeping pills. This was proof, too, that material prosperity alone cannot bring about lasting happiness.