His Holiness' visit to Atlanta was marked by several events for both the public and students and faculty of Emory University where the overriding theme of the discussions was the Dalai Lama's vision of Secular Ethics.
The discussions of the topic took many forms including "Secular Ethics 101" a presentation and panel discussion oriented around University students and faculty from Emory who sought the Dalai Lama's perspective on how his philosophy applied within the various fields of study at the university.
The largest crowd was at a public talk given by His Holiness at the Gwinnett Center on the subject of “The Pillars of Responsible Citizenship in the 21st Century Global Village and Secular Ethics in Education.”
For the entire morning His Holiness imparted his sense of morality and compassion upon those listening to the discussion. His perspective resonated with those in the audience as demonstrated by the frequent interruptions by applause.
His overwhelming perspective was that because of the growing interconnectedness of everyone on earth people must look within themselves to develop a sense of well-meaning behavior. Use that behavioral trait to embrace our neighbors and treat them in a compassionate, generous manner in order to feel good about themselves, it’s a “wise-selfishness” that allows us to treat those around us with altruism while generating happiness inside ourselves. True happiness originates from within not from surrounding ourselves with material possessions.
It was fascinating to watch and listen to a man who is considered by Buddhists to be the reincarnation of the founding teacher and saint of Tibet. For such a quiet unassuming person, the Dalai Lama has an incredible, awe-inspiring presence about him that is almost tangible.
On Wednesday morning, he led a discussion among students and faculty at Glenn Memorial Auditorium on “Secular Ethics 101” where he answered questions from students of various disciplines about how his philosophies and perspectives on life can influence their fields of study.
Throughout it all, his depth of perspective, sense of humor and his presence provided an incredibly engaging experience for all those in attendance. Remarkable that Atlantans should be so lucky to have the opportunity to hear one of the world's foremost philosophers in person.