While searching for answers on how to overcome this unusual circumstance that we find ourselves in and what to learn from it, I stumbled upon the wise words of The Fourteenth Dalai Lama.
What the world seems to need is a human value that His Holiness has always promoted -compassion. He says that it “connotes love, affection, kindness, gentleness, generosity of spirit and warm-heartedness.” It is of universal and timeless value and should be considered a fundamental component of emotional health.
Dalai Lama explains, “In the Buddhist tradition, compassion and love are seen as two aspects of the same thing: compassion is the wish for another being to be free from suffering; love is wanting them to have happiness.”
While that sounds wonderful, how does one feel compassionate? Well, the answer is profound yet, simple.
His Holiness maintains that we are all members of one family – Homo sapiens, the family of Man. All one has to understand and internalize is that we are one people despite our many superficial and perceived differences.
Irrespective of how independent or self-sufficient one feels at the height of one’s glory or prime of youth, it is a fact that we are born helpless and often require assistance and care in our old age. At least in this most basic sense, we need our fellow humans.
Inter-dependence is the law of the universe. In the Dalai Lama's words, "All phenomena from the planet we inhabit to the oceans, clouds, forests, and flowers that surround us, arise in dependence upon subtle patterns of energy. Without their proper interaction, they dissolve and decay." Humans are not above this law.
"Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive."
Our dependence, the reality, and the nature of our interdependence go much deeper than we realize. Despite our material wealth and excellent healthcare facilities, the lack of human connections and positive relationships has taken a toll on our mental health. Humans are social beings that need love, nurturing, and social fabric to grow and thrive.
Compassion Is Self-Serving
There's more than one reason to become a more compassionate person. It is probably the most self-serving of altruistic behaviors! By helping another, one is helping oneself.
Compassion leads to happiness. It is an effective antidote to anger and fear. Its practice will lead to peace of mind, a feeling of oneness with others, and a robust immune system.
The benefits of compassion and compassionate actions are manifold. Such acts and behavior open one up to experiencing life more deeply, meaningfully, and empathetically. It expands the scope of one's identity and broadens one's perspective.
As the Dalai Lama explains, compassion is the key in the current scenario. The pandemic has acted as an equalizer. The virus has not discriminated or played favorites along the lines of class, color, or race.
By showing compassion to our fellow human beings, paying heed to their needs, alleviating their suffering, sharing their loss, we can defeat the invisible microorganism that is testing our resilience and tenacity.
As the medicines and vaccines heal the body, by acting as one family, as His Holiness puts it, by being compassionate, we can regain our sense of safety and shore up our mental health.
- Japan has decided to remove the 1% GDP cap on the defense budget due to China's threat.
- The decision comes after Japan pledged to "bolster its national defense capabilities to further strengthen the alliance and regional security" in a Japan-U.S. joint statement released after a White House summit last month.
- Whether Japan and the U.S. will revise their defense guidelines to take into account a potential conflict in the Taiwan Strait is not yet clear. Japan's Minister of Defense said that though there are no current plans to do so, "We'll need to adjust to changes in the situation and make changes as needed."
- Since the 1990s, Japan's defense budget has remained below 1 percent of its GDP, except in 2010, according to The Nikkei.
- Exceeding 1 percent would be a turning point for Japan's security policy and could cause Beijing to object.
- A senior Australian spy said the main risk was not Chinese spying but that Beijing could order Huawei to disconnect the Australian 5G network altogether.
- The federal government’s cyber spies advised Australia would have had to put 300 separate security measures on Huawei’s equipment to make it safe for the nation’s 5G system. But, they ultimately told the Turnbull government the risk could not be contained satisfactorily.
- Australia was the first country to ban Huawei from its 5G system in 2018, a decision many more have followed.
- Huawei has always insisted that if so ordered by China’s authorities, it would never comply.
- The prime minister, who made the 2018 decision, Malcolm Turnbull, did not believe the company: “One thing you know – if the Chinese Communist Party called on Huawei to act against Australia’s interests, it would have to do it,” he said in an interview. “Huawei says, ‘Oh no, we would refuse.’ That’s laughable. They would have no option but to comply.”
- Turkey's interior minister has gradually ended all practical cooperation between Turkish security forces and the U.S. government since he entered office in 2016, the Middle East Eye reported.
- Suleyman Soylu has suspended joint training programs between Turkish and American police forces, denied early U.S. access to Turkish police intelligence on suspects, and refused to share information regarding ongoing Turkish investigations with American counterparts.
- Turkey-US relations have been in decline over a range of issues. There has been no comment from the U.S. so far.
- Myanmar's military stormed into the town of Mindat, where a local militia group had put up tenacious resistance to the armed forces.
- Much of the population fled into the forest after armed forces bombarded the town with mortars and rockets.
- Mindat's struggle - by a population of fewer than 50,000 people - has inspired protesters across Myanmar, who have been holding daily rallies under the slogan "Mindat Fighting."
- It is one of many towns in Chin State in western Myanmar where people began protesting against the 1 February military coup. The army overthrew the democratically elected National League for Democracy after alleging electoral fraud.
- Like other border states with non-Burmese populations, Chin State has experienced years of systematic abuses at the hands of the military, dating back to Myanmar's independence in 1948.
- The most recent spark that ignited the battle for Mindat was the arrest of seven young activists putting up anti-coup posters in the town.
- According to a Hollywood Reporter article published Friday, the Disney-owned studio Searchlight pressured the American magazine Filmmaker to remove a quote from its profile of Chinese director Chloé Zhao because it was critical of China's authoritarian regime.
- When asked about the inspiration for her first feature film, Songs My Brother Taught Me, Zhao said she identified with the main character — a Native American teenager attempting to flee South Dakota's Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. She, too, hoped to escape the Chinese Communist Party's dictatorial grip as a child.
- She said in the interview, "It goes back to when I was a teenager in China, being in a place where there are lies everywhere," the quote read. "You felt like you were never going to be able to get out. A lot of info I received when I was younger was not true, and I became very rebellious toward my family and my background. I went to England suddenly and relearned my history. Studying political science in a liberal arts college was a way for me to figure out what is real. Arm yourself with information, and then challenge that too."
- Filmmaker magazine removed the quote from its website, but archived versions resurfaced in China following Zhao's win for best director at the Golden Globes ceremony.
- According to The Hollywood Reporter, Chinese officials responded by canceling the local release of Zhao's latest film Nomadland in April and burying the incident by removing all traces of her mention on the internet.
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