Class VIII Interviews His Holiness

(kind of)

Ancient Wisdom, Modern World & The Wayfinders coversThe students of Class VIII have been doing some really impressive, high-level work recently: dissecting the intricacies of pretty advanced texts, and grappling independently with complex ideas that renowned scholars also find themselves caught in the throes of.

The activity you’re about to peruse nests into our current unit on human’s relationship with their environment, the evolution of culture as site-specific, sustainability-fostering adaptations into those webs of interconnections, and the essential question at the heart of any educational project: what, consequently, are the knowledge, skills, and perspectives we privilege and work to develop?

The students spent a few weeks reading an abridged version of anthropologist Wade Davis’ lecture “Season of the Brown Hyena,” the first in his five part series “The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World,” paired with the first chapter of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Ancient Wisdom, Modern World: Ethics for the New Millennium.

The kids have done a remarkable job picking apart these really rather complex texts. To further engage with the authors’ main ideas, and the subtle distinctions in their angles, they spent the last week scripting a joint interview/dialogue between these two thinkers.

Please enjoy some excerpts of their carefully perceptive re-presentations below:


How are we all similar?

Wade Davis (WD): We all are similar because we all came from Africa by the DNA our looks different.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama (HHDL): I agree. We all need happiness.
WD: I agree; without happiness we cannot do anything.
HHDL: When we have suffering, we should share to other people that we could solve the problems.
(Kangyur Sangpo, Tenzin Drolma ‘B’, Tashi Tsomo)

WD: We all are made up of same blood, one flesh, and we can talk and we can think.
HHDL: All people need happiness.
(Dorjee Chozom and Langa Tsering)

HHDL: Even we are poor or rich, educated or uneducated, gender, religion, or another we all desire to be happy and to avoid suffering like if we are rich and technology even we felt of suffering and sorrow in our life.
WD: People in San didn’t get available of water ten months in a year and they have to survive their life in very dangerous condition and they also have suffering of water.
(Leki Norbu and Phurpa Lhamu).


Why is it important to see that different facets of humanity are the same at our core?

HHDL: It is important to see that different facets of humanity are the same at our core because some people are forgetting that we all are same human beings and they treat lower caste very low and they didn’t care about it. If someday they will think they are also a human being like us. They have same blood and two eyes. They can think. So, I don’t have to treat them as a lower caste.
(Dorjee Chozom and Langa Tsering)


How are we different?

WD: We are different in many ways like culture, agriculture, and lifestyle and relationship and developments and environmental. In San people they mostly depend on each other and environment to survive their life and to move forward.
HHDL: But in modern society they mostly depend on machine more than the people. Like His Holiness the Dali Lama said, “Modern industrial society often strikes me as being like a huge self-propelled machine. Instead of human beings in charge, each individual is a tiny, insignificant component with no choice but to move when the machine moves.”
WD: In the essay of Wade Davis, “Their very survival depends on their availability to anticipate every nuance of the seasons, every movement of the animals, the very sound that plants make as they grow. When we compare the two there have a very big difference between San and modern society’s relation and lifestyle.
(Leki Norbu and Phurpa Lhamu)


Why is human diversity important?

HHDL: Human diversity is important because if in human society have some culture lifestyle, religion, etc. it’s like in world there has one colour. It is better to have different cultures in different community, because we can experience other cultures and exchange our culture with other country that can benefits for our lifestyle.
(Leki Norbu and Phurpa Lhamu)


What is “development”?

WD: Development is when a tribe’s culture and modern education, when they both come together then it brings development.
HHDL: I agree with you. I think that if we have modern education and we don’t have another education, then how it will be developed? Developed is that when people doing good things and helping each other, then it will bring development.
(Raju Kumar and Tenzin Lhamu)

HHDL: Development is not only developing technology and cities and vehicles and machine. We can also develop in suffering and inner pain. His Holiness the Dali Lama said, “I expected that with physical hardship much reduced as it is for the majority living in the industrially developed countries, happiness would be much easier to achieve than for those living under more severe conditions.” But actually we have to develop inside too.
(Leki Norbu and Phurpa Lhamu)


What are the positive and negative effects of “development”?

HHDL: The positive are to have a development our work are becoming easier. In a one time we can do the work two or more than two. Also, our energy will be left, it will be stored and we can use our energy for other work. The negative are all the people are saying that we need to develop, growth and economic, but when their growth and economic developed then their development can’t bring them happiness. It gives them so many problems like tension, and unhappiness.
(Dorjee Chozom and Langa Tsering)

HHDL: When people is happy and doing good things to another peoples and helping to poor peoples, it is positive development. When the people are in suffering, government will not take care of suffering people, it is called negative development.
(Tenzin Lhamu and Raju Kumar)


What causes contentment? What causes suffering?

HHDL: Suffering comes from being more greedy. If we are rich, educated or not, we are one race, but we have different religion decide to be happy.
(Tenzin Lhamu and Raju Kumar)


What is important knowledge? What is a meaningful education?

The main ideas of Wade Davis and HH the 14th Dalai Lama is similar because both of them says that preserving our culture is important. The main ideas of Wade Davis and HH the 14th Dalai Lama is distinct because Dalai Lama says that modern education is sometimes important but Wade Davis says modern education is not important and it can harm us.
(Rinchen Drolma)

WD: I think the knowledge is not having a very talented on study, on technology. I think that knowledge is everything which we do every day. What did you think about this?
HHDL: I am agree with you. I think that scientists don’t have more knowledge than villagers. All, all people have their different types of knowledge. If we know everything of our culture and doing agriculture is called education. All have their own good education.
(Tenzin Lhamu and Raju Kumar)


How should we move forward as a species?

WD: The main idea of Wade Davis is to preserve our culture and to share our own culture to new generation and to know more culture is the best way to have relationship with others.
(Phurpa Lhamu and Leki Norbu)

HHDL: Some people they used to give job for rich people but not for poor. Be equality is the one thing we need to move forward.
WD: We need to forward the culture, language, local food, and agriculture.
(Rinchen Drolma, Tashi Yangzom ‘A’, Dawa Dorjee)

HHDL: We can try to help the suffering and we can learn from each other.
(Tenzin Lhamu and Raju Kumar)

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One Response to Class VIII Interviews His Holiness

  1. Beezy Bentzen says:

    What a wonderful way to help the children understand their own culture in the context of others, and to recognize the value of diversity and sharing.

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