October 12, 2016 – Dharamshala, India
This morning the Gyalwang Karmapa was the chief guest of honor at the opening of the Body, Mind and Life Conference, which took place for the fourth time at the Men-Tsee-khang College’s auditorium. Also present were the special guest, the Minister of Health Choekyong Wangchuk from the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) and Kyabje Kirti Rinpoche along with many important officials from the CTA and the Men-Tsee-Khang. The conference focused on the pervasive problem of depression, looking at it from the perspective of Buddhist philosophy, Tibetan medicine and astrology as well as modern science.
Recalling that he had benefitted from attending Mind and Life conferences with HH the Dalai Lama, the Karmapa mentioned that he had studied some western psychology. On this basis and he suggested, “It is important for Western psychology and the psychology found in the Buddhist tradition to share their good points and learn from one another. In this way, they both can evolve and gain new understandings.”
Reprising a topic he has often discussed, the Karmapa remarked, “These days the material world has undergone a huge expansion. The resulting distractions that keep us constantly busy plus the unrest they create have done nothing but grow, so many people now have mental problems and illnesses.” Relating his personal experience, the Karmapa remarked, “Since I carry the name of the Karmapa, many people come to see me and mostly they bring their problems.” In a lighter vein he said, “When something bad happens, it seems that they all come directly to me.” They present both physical and mental problems, so he helps them as he can with advice and encouragement. From what he has seen, the Karmapa felt that mental problems would definitely increase in the future.
“In general,” he continued, “western science has its own systems for thinking about mental difficulties and for doing research, and it has accumulated a lot of experience. Nevertheless, with this alone it would be difficult to come to a final conclusion or to take on responsibility. Therefore, we should compare viewpoints on these issues and on what can be done as they are found in Buddhism (or the religious traditions that have spread in the East) and western science. These types of cultural exchanges are extremely important.”
The Karmapa concluded, “In sum, we should discuss these issues while keeping in mind the goal of people’s welfare and their physical and mental well-being.” He offered his thanks to the organizers for inviting him and the aspiration that just as they hoped, their efforts would bear copious fruit.[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”13″ gal_title=”The Viewpoints of Both the East and the West Are Necessary:”]