Love and kindness are the very basis of society. If we lose these feelings, society will face tremendous difficulties; the survival of humanity will be endangered. Together with material development, we need spiritual development so that inner peace and social harmony can be experienced. Without inner peace, without inner calm, it is difficult to have lasting peace. In this field of inner development religion can make important contributions.
Although in every religion there is an emphasis on compassion and love, from the viewpoint of philosophy, of course there are differences, and that is all right. Philosophical teachings are not the end, not the aim, not what you serve. The aim is to help and benefit others, and philosophical teachings to support those ideas are valuable. If we go into the differences in philosophy and argue with and criticize each other, it is useless. There will be endless argument; the result will mainly be that we irritate each other — accomplishing nothing. Better to look at the purpose of the philosophies and to see what is shared — an emphasis on love, compassion, and respect for a higher force.
No religion basically believes that material progress alone is sufficient for humankind. All religions believe in forces beyond material progress. All agree that it is important and worthwhile to make strong effort to serve human society.
To do this, it is important that we understand each other. In the past, due to narrow-mindedness and other factors, there has sometimes been discord between religious groups. This should not happen again. If we look deeply into the value of a religion in the context of the worldwide situation, we can easily transcend these unfortunate happenings. For there are many areas of common ground on which we can have harmony. Let us just be side by side — helping, respecting, and understanding each other — in common effort to serve humankind. The aim of human society must be the compassionate betterment of human beings.
Politicians and world leaders are trying their best to achieve arms control and so forth, and this is useful. At the same time, we who have certain beliefs have a duty and responsibility to control our own bad thoughts. This is the real disarmament, our own arms control. With inner peace and full control of bad thoughts, external control is not particularly significant. Without inner control, no matter what steps are taken, external efforts will not make much difference. Therefore, under the present circumstances, we in the religious community have a special responsibility to all humanity — a universal responsibility.
The world situation is such that continent to continent all are heavily dependent on each other, and under such circumstances genuine cooperation is essential. This depends on good motivation. That is our universal responsibility.
~By His Holiness Dalai Lama
An Excerpt from Kindness, Clarity, and Insight by the Dalai Lama