9 Week Study Course for
"Ethics For the New Millennium"

By His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Study Guide Week Nine
• Chapter 16
• In Closing

Chapter 16 - An Appeal

Key Concepts
In this chapter the Dalai Lama makes an appeal to all of us, in the face of life’s impermanence, to make the rest of our life in each present moment as full, productive and meaningful as possible. To approach death without remorse is to live responsibly in the present moment with compassion for others. Our happiness is inextricably bound up with the happiness of others. If society suffers, we ourselves suffer.

Compassion
is one of the principal things that makes our lives meaningful. It is the source of lasting happiness and joy and is the foundation of a good heart. Through acts of kindness, affection, honesty and justice we not only help others but ensure our own benefit as well. By contrast the more our hearts and minds are afflicted with ill-will, the more miserable we become. We cannot escape the need for love and compassion.

There is no need for religious places or complicated philosophy or dogma for us to practice compassion. Our own heart and mind are the temple. Whether we are religious or not, as long as we have compassion towards others and conduct ourselves with restraint out of a sense of responsibility, there is no doubt we will be happy.

Despair from focusing on the mundane and material. But we are not always happy, even though it should be simple. Why? We shrink from confronting our negative thoughts and emotions. We waste so much of our time on meaningless activity and feel deep regret over trivial matters. We use our abilities too often to deceive our neighbors, take advantage of them and better ourselves at their expense. We take our pleasures where we can and shrink from considering others’ well being on the grounds we are too busy. Inevitably, by being inattentive to the needs of others, we end up harming them. When things don’t work out, full of self-righteousness, we blame others for our difficulties.

Making your life meaningful. Lasting satisfaction and a stable sense of meaning in life come from helping others, not from acquiring objects and sensual pleasure. The Dalai Lama offers these suggestions to be happy and make life meaningful:
• Engage in spiritual practice acting out of concern for others Relinquish envy and let go of the desire to triumph over others Try to benefit others Welcome others with a smile
• Be straightforward
• Try to be impartial
• Treat everyone as if they were a close friend
• If you cannot help others, at least do not harm them
• As you enjoy your visit to this world, help those who are downtrodden and cannot help themselves
• Try not to turn away from those whose appearance is disturbing, ragged or unwell. Try never to think of them as inferior to yourself.

Discussion Questions
1. “In the present moment, conduct ourselves responsibly and with compassion for others” is perhaps a summary of the simple faith the Dalai Lama presents in this book. How does this summarize what you have learned and integrated from your time in studying Ethics for the New Millennium? What would you add or say differently?

2. What practices have helped you to make your own heart and mind a temple, a real home, for this simple faith, the doctrine of compassion? What will you continue as this study circle ends?

3. Why, if it is so simple to be happy, do you and I find it so hard? What are the ways of being that bring despair and unhappiness into your life?

4. Why does the Dalai Lama say that when we are inattentive to the needs of others, we end up harming them? Have you ever experienced this?

5. Describe a time when you could have helped someone and did not do so, because you were too busy, you were uncomfortable in the face of the person’s appearance, or for some other reason.

6. Describe a time someone could have helped you but did not do so because he or she was too busy. How did you feel?

7. The Dalai Lama offers a short prayer that offers him inspiration in his quest to benefit others. What has inspired you? How will you continue to inspire yourself in the midst of your busy life over the coming months and years?

Practice Exercises
1. At the end of each day, recall one way in which you helped someone else.

2. At least once a week, recite the short prayer at the end of this chapter or engage in any ritual of your choice that reminds and inspires you to help others.

The Dalai Lama closes by quoting this short prayer he says brings him inspiration in his quest to benefit others.

May I become at all times, both now and forever
A protector for those without protection
A guide for those who have lost their way
A ship for those with oceans to cross
A bridge for those with rivers to cross
A sanctuary for those in danger
A lamp for those without light
A place of refuge for those who lack shelter
And a servant to all in need




In Closing

Ideas for Closing Practices
1. Go around the circle and say what this study circle has meant to you.

2. Acknowledge others in the circle for their unique gifts and whatever they have shared to make the circle meaningful for you.

3. Has this exploration of ethics changed you? How?

4. Share your wishes and intentions for the future that stem from the learning and growth you have experienced by delving into the concepts from Ethics for the New Millennium.

5. In some way that feels comfortable, dedicate the energy and goodwill generated by your effort together to the benefit of others. What gift would you give the world out of this experience?

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