In response to the tragic Paris attacks carried out by the terrorist regime ISIS, many people have taken to the internet to circulate the hashtag #PrayForParis, with the intention of spreading love, hope, and help to people affected by the murders. But some more secular activists have criticized the “Pray for Paris” movement for failing to provide tangible solutions.
Surprisingly, one spiritual leader has joined the ranks of people saying “don’t pray for Paris”: the Dalai Lama.
The Tibetan Buddhist leader, whose real name is Tenzin Gyatso, spoke to DW about the Paris attacks and claimed that humans alone will have to stop the violence. Despite his belief in the power of prayer, the Dalai Lama claimed it is the responsibility of people to fix the problems they have made for themselves.
“We cannot solve this problem only through prayers,” said the Dalai Lama. “I am a Buddhist and I believe in praying. But humans have created this problem, and now we are asking God to solve it. It is illogical. God would say, solve it yourself because you created it in the first place.”
The Dalai Lama took his secular argument for ending terrorism even further by suggesting that people should come up with an organized plan based on “humanistic values” to end suffering and bloodshed, not religious practices. While the Dalai Lama admitted that peace may not come any time soon, people may be able to incubate this kind of prosperity for future generations.
“We need a systematic approach to foster humanistic values, of oneness and harmony. If we start doing it now, there is hope that this century will be different from the previous one. It is in everybody’s interest.”
In addition to claiming that people can’t expect help from God, the Dalai Lama claimed that people shouldn’t expect any governments to fix terrorism either. Continuing his advocacy for “oneness,” the Dalai Lama went on to say that people should not be divided by race or country. He blames much of the recent violence on religious faith and nationalism, even calling the disputes “superficial.”
However, the Dalai Lama did reject the idea that the world has only become more violent as time goes on. While many people believe the quality of life and mortality rates across the globe are only getting worse, studies show that things are actually steadily improving every year. The Dalai Lama acknowledged this and asserted that the terrorists like ISIS are among a tiny minority.
“I think that only a small percentage of people subscribe to the violent discourse,” the Dalai Lama said. “We are human beings, and there is no basis or justification for killing others. If you consider others as brothers and sisters and respect their rights, then there is no room for violence… We are one people.”
— i100 (@thei100) November 17, 2015
According to QZ, the Dalai Lama has continued his efforts to encourage peace outside of the Paris attacks by encouraging non-violent agreement between Tibet and China over the issue of Tibet’s independence. The Dalai Lama received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.
Despite the backlash against Islam as a result of the Paris attacks, many Muslims have taken to social media to send messages of peace similar to that of the Dalai Lama, condemning the violence enacted by ISIS. Read more here.
Do you agree with the Dalai Lama? Is praying for Paris a good idea?
[Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images]