Dalai Lama lauds PM Ardern for compassionately handling aftermath of NZ terror attack

Dalai Lama

New Delhi | Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Thursday praised New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for taking a compassionate approach in dealing with the aftermath of the recent terror attack in her country in which 50 worshippers were killed.

Responding to a question at a press conference here, he also said New Zealand serves as a “living example” for others as to how to respond with calmness and compassion in the wake of such incidents. He also asserted that the 21th century should be the “century of peace and non-violence”.

New Zealand is one example where a country’s leader tried to deal with a “very sad situation” through compassion, he said when asked about the incidents of violence in the last few years in many countries, stemming from hatred.

“She tried to tackle the problem through non-violence, compassion and mutual respect. So, there are methods (to deal with violence). And, although what happened was a very sad incident, there was no further increase in violence,” the Dalai Lama told reporters.

“I really admire the New Zealand prime minister, that lady. She is wonderful. So that is a living example and everyone can learn from that,” he said.

At least 50 people were killed and several others injured in a hate-filled terror attack by a shooter, targeting two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch in March.

The attack sparked global outrage drawing condemnation from leaders and institutions around the world.

After the attack, Ardern’s humane approach in consoling a grieving nation and dealing with its aftermath, including meeting the Muslim community members, was widely praised.

The interaction here was held to announce the global launch in Delhi Friday of a SEE (social, emotional and ethical) learning programme, hosted by the Emory University in the US in partnership with The Dalai Lama Trust and Vana Foundation of India.

“We saw so much violence in the 20th century, two world wars, and so we must deal with our problems now with dialogues and non-violent measures. And, through peace we can achieve it,” he said.

The Dalai Lama lamented that most of the problems the world is facing today is “our own creations”.

“Even the killings we are seeing today around the world, doings of humans only…Our education today is only teaching to be materialistic and not seek happiness. So in education, that horizon of emotion is necessary and compassion in heart to achieve happiness,” he said.

The Tibetan spiritual leader said the world must think to build a more peaceful, more compassionate 21st century.

He also asserted that India is a country that is based on secular philosophy and ethics, and the country has the “potential to help humanity” by combining modern education with the ancient wisdom of the country.

Asked about several youth resorting to drugs or getting addicted on social media seeking happiness, he said, “It all happens because those youth lack inner peace. And they do not know how to find it, hence, do such things…Our modern education is just making people more materialistic.”

SEE learning provides educators with a comprehensive framework for cultivation of social, emotional and ethical competencies that can be used in K-12 education as well as higher education and professional education, the university officials said.

“The programme also includes a segment on building resilience in the face of trauma or violence, and how to deal with it in a calm way so that students do not suffer emotional breakdown or negative impact on their psyche,” said, Brendan Ozawa-de Silva, Associate Director for SEE learning at the Emory University.

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