“In today’s interconnected and globalized world, it is now commonplace for people of dissimilar world views, faiths and races to live side by side. It is a matter of great urgency, therefore, that we find ways to cooperate with one another in a spirit of mutual acceptance and respect.”
This was the Facebook post of the Dali Lama on April 22. (Yes, Virginia, the Dali Lama has a Facebook page.) The Dali Lama is expanding on what Rodney King said so many years ago, “Can’t we all just get along?” It may be hard to believe that these two men from such different backgrounds and cultures would basically think alike. Yet Rodney King, so troubled in so many ways, had a deeper wisdom that transcended his everyday struggle. He knew a fundamental truth: live and let live.
The Dali Lama is saying that we are going to be more challenged than ever. We used to live in small tribes, then small villages, then small towns. Many people never left their birthplaces. No one new moved in next door. Everyone followed the same religion, same doctrines, same leader. But we are truly a global world now. The complexity of our lives is growing. We are no longer isolated on the north American continent. What happens in Syria affects what happens on Main Street, USA.
The people who frighten me the most are the zealots. They BELIEVE they are right. They BELIEVE their God is leading them to do what is best for the world. They BELIEVE that those who don’t share their belief are evil and should be eradicated. To them, there is only one way. To reach their goal, all ends justify the means. Just ask the Tsarnaev boys. I’ve been reading about youth who are being radicalized. It is so easy now, the experts say. The leaders only have to go on You Tube to spread their message. Or Twitter or Facebook to connect.
Which brings me back to the Dali Lama. I hold him up as a positive influence. I see him as a man of wisdom and spiritual connectedness. I am sure there are many who would disagree (the Chinese government for one?). I like to hear what he has to say, and to see his very human reaction to things. I feel he personifies goodness and what is best in humankind. That is who I am. I am also someone who believes that what is yours is yours. I don’t want you to take what is mine, but I certainly won’t be trying to steal yours. And I doubt I would be protecting mine with a gun.
Which leads my meandering mind to the idea of universal background checks for gun buyers. I’m not asking to take my neighbor’s gun away (shudder, shudder) but I feel it’s reasonable to require background checks for gun purchasers, at the least. Not everyone is a responsible citizen. Not everyone is sane. Not everyone is thinking that life is precious.
But it is. Life is precious. I know that.