The Dalai Lama Center at M.I.T.
A few weeks ago, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology launched The Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values. This is an exciting step forward for the pursuit of internal value systems and broader appreciation of transcendent ethical principles.
In his speech at the Center’s inaugural event, the Dalai Lama brought emphasis to the biological interrelatedness of compassionate dispositions and deliberate cultivation of ethical values. “Open heartedness, compassion — it’s a capacity from birth…It must be possible to increase that.” The Dalai Lama acknowledged that there is an innate level of compassion in human beings that is strictly based upon biology. He noted, however, that this baseline compassion is limited, and in contrast referred to higher levels of human capacity—an “infinite, unbounded tendency toward compassion.” The Dalai Lama asserted that much like knowledge can be increased by education, compassion may be grown from its “biological seed” by deliberate cultivation.
His Holiness suggested our need to bring attention first to the inner world of problems, and affect transformation therein before we will be able to meaningfully affect transformation for the world around us. Before we can realistically hope for worldwide disarmament, for example, the Dalai Lama asserted that we need to find inner disarmament.
Owing to the counter-intuitive nature of so many transformative principles, it is exciting to contemplate the potential for empowerment that might occur as the Center at M.I.T. employs the best tools of intellect and academia in the pursuit of understanding our potential for personal transformation and, consequently, global progress.