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dalailama.jpgWhat happens when one of the most revered spiritual leaders in the world visits two of the most revered educational institutions in the world?  Wisdom, that’s what.

This week, the Dalai Lama visited Harvard University and MIT with the message that being smart is not at all the same as being happy.  I commend to you Michael Paulson and Jim Smith’s fine Boston Globe article about the visit. From their article:

[The Dalai Lama] joked about Harvard’s reputation, saying: “Some of my friends in the East once told me Harvard is so famous,
even just to walk in that place is something sacred. That is too much,
I think. Foolish people, or silly people, can walk [through] easily.”

At another point, he observed: “There are very smart scholars,
professors . . . full of feelings of competition, full of jealousy,
full of anger. . . . I don’t mean disrespect.”

He said, as he often does, that compassionate feelings appear to be
a biological component of human beings – he cited the early connection
between children and their mothers – and said those feelings need to be
cultivated, not only by families, but also by schools.

He noted that Buddhist monks have weathered imprisonment in Chinese
prisons with less apparent psychological damage than that experienced
by veterans of the Iraq war, and said, “More compassionate persons, in
spite of traumatic experiences, their mental state is still calm.” And
he attributed some youth violence to a lack of “compassion, or
affection, in family, or society.”

But he suggested that “Warm-heartedness” is difficult to teach.

For more on the Dalai Lama, explore this gallery of his quotes on peace, or this one of artistic renderings inspired by the spiritual leader.

What do you think of his idea about the difference between intelligence and happiness?  How does it resonate with you?

(image via: http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Buddhism/2008/09/Walking-with-the-Dalai-Lama.aspx?p=5)

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