The greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion – Dalai Lama XIV

Refugee camp for Rwandans located in what is n...

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On Sunday I was blessed to have the opportunity to listen to the Dalai Lama XIV speak in Perth regarding ‘Spirituality in the Modern World’.

The Dalai Lama shared his wisdom with the 14,500 strong audience,  speaking of the benefits of living a compassionate and holistic life – and holistic in the sense of the world, not just within ourselves or our own countries.

“From my own limited experience I have found that the greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion.”

As I write this I reflect on his words. At times I feel that my heart could break, thinking of those who have, or are suffering and struggling in the world. This is so much more poignant given the airing of a 3 part series on Australian TV  called ‘Go Back To Where You Came From’. In my lifetime, I do not believe that I have ever seen a TV show that has stimulated so much open discourse on such a powerful subject.

For those not in the know – or in another country perhaps – ‘Go Back to Where You Came From’ is a series whereby ‘six ordinary Australians agree to challenge their preconceived notions about refugees and asylum seekers by embarking on a confronting 25-day journey. Tracing in reverse the journeys that refugees have taken to reach Australia, they travel to some of the most dangerous and desperate corners of the world, with no idea what is in store for them along the way.

Deprived of their wallets, phones and passports, they board a leaky refugee boat, are rescued mid-ocean, experience immigration raids in Malaysia, live in a Kenyan refugee camp and visit slums in Jordan before ultimately making it to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Iraq, protected by UN Peacekeepers and the US military. For some of them it’s their first time abroad. For all of them, it’s an epic journey and the most challenging experience of their lives’.

Reality TV – yes. Produced with intent – yes. Powerful statement – of course. Within Australia, and many countries I have travelled to, there is always one common thread that stimulates ‘passionate’ discussion between people, and that is immigration. Over the last few years, this has been increasingly prominent within Australia, especially with the rise in people seeking asylum and the apparent increasing amount of boats approaching Australian shores carrying ‘illegal immigrants’ (or so the media would lead us to believe) trying to ‘skip the queue’.

I have very strong views on this subject. I have friends who are refugees, or have come to Australia for a better life. I am actually from a family who came to Australia for a better life – although we did not have to flee from mistreatment and injustice. I am not one to lecture (or am I?). All I can say is that I am thankful for this TV series, as it is challenging the atypical view that the mass media seems to perpetuate almost daily. I do have hope that it will succeed in opening up discussion and some people’s eyes. I hope that it strikes at the hearts of people – and that, as the Dalai Lama stated so eloquently, helps with the ‘development of love and compassion’ and in turn tranquility for all.

32 thoughts on “The greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion – Dalai Lama XIV

  1. We could use that TV series here in the US. Perhaps it will get picked up – we televise “Australian Rules” football, after all. (You guys are nuts, btw.) Given our history of slavery and continuing problems with racism and illegal immigration, we need all of the help we can get. Unfortunately I fear it’s like alcoholism – until we hit rock bottom, i’s not likely to get better.

    Thanks for the post.

    • Ah Aussie rules…I’ll say thanks for the compliment : ) Sorry to hear of the issues in America. We do see a bit of what goes on there via TV…but I do have a feeling it is worse there than I could imagine. It’s sad. You would think in this day and age there wouldn’t be such bigotry.

  2. Thanks for bringing this topic forward. Ive been watching the Syrian refugee story and have been frustrated that media aren’t being allowed to talk with the press. It would be great to see that series at it would likely be the first–and only–look into the lives of refugees most of us will get.


    • I think the series is available off the net (download). The offshoot is a televised debate this coming Tuesday which will be interesting – I know it will be slightly cringe-worth though as they will be showing ALL opinions. Sure to keep the national discussion going.

  3. I would give anything to be able to see/hear the Dalai Lama speak. Thanks for sharing his message.

    I wish they would pick up or film their own version of that TV series “Go Back to Where You Came From” in the U.S, as it would be invaluable to understand the travails and hardships these people have gone through when fleeing injustice or poverty or civil war in their own countries. Personalizing the refugee experience in a reality TV reality show might accomplish more than any amount of speeches, talk shows, etc. This is a good way to develop understanding and compassion – even if love is harder.

  4. Hi Janine –

    Love and compassion are poignant words and we all want to receive the blessings the words offer. Immigration is a big issue in America as well. Every person deserves love and compassion and would hope it starts right at home with everyone we interact with; friends, family, neighbors, the bums on our streets, the homeless in the parks, and so on. 🙂

  5. Hi Janine,

    Immigration is a big issue also in Italy. Refugees are arriving by the thousands in Southern Italy because of the war in Libya. There was a reporter who once covered the life of a refugee by going undercover. I am not sure how he did it but unlike Australia, many of these refugees come over to Italy as the entry into Europe. Most of them make their way to other parts of Europe.

    Although they land in Italy, I think it is an EU issue to ensure the proper treatment and resources are given to help them. Unfortunately, they often leave it to Italy and they already are debt-burden.

    Thanks for highlighting this!

  6. What a great way to bring the topic of refugees into the open, via the Dalai Lama – he would be very pleased with you Janine. It actually sickens me how callous and uncaring many Australians are on this very issue. I cant begin to imagine how dreadful it would be.
    I endeavour to live with compassion in my being and to think how I would be in that very same situation.
    Thanks for posting this.

  7. Janine,
    Don’t know what happened but I seem to have been commenting as Penniej2. Something got mixed up. Well, I did leave a comment above so now you know who it was from.

    Just in case, this is Penelope J.

  8. Love and compassion make us feel one with others and that feeling of oneness leads to better/deeper understanding that, I would imagine, help silence our inner turmoils and cognitive conflicts. You are very fortunate to have been able to hear the Dalai Lama speak. (I also find it ‘odd’ that both of us ended up writing about immigration this week…although yours deals with refugees, people who didn’t really have any choice). Thanks for sharing the insights!

  9. Janine, this is wonderful. I didn’t watch the series, but I had heard about it. It is one of those difficult topics to discuss. Well written 🙂

  10. Immigration is a big issue here in the UK at the moment aswell. Would be good to have a reality show that is about teaching people acceptance and explaining what happens to refugees, rather than the usual z list celebs using reality tv shows as money making tools.

    • Ah Lucy I know when I was there last year it was all about the ‘Polish’ and how they should go back home and how they were taking all the jobs * Sigh * The GFC didn’t help much – it wasn’t till I visited my relatives in the Midlands that I saw how badly impacted the economy was. That just seemed to aggravate the ‘immigration issue’ even further.

  11. Very interesting post Janine. I think the US could use a show like that. When people get on their high horse about immigration I can’t help but think that we all came from somewhere. True illegal immigration is a problem, but I just can’t fault people for wanting to better their lives.

  12. Wow! I never even though about how I could relate to these people. This is also really common in Canada and we often forget to sympathize and try to understand them. Your right that the media plays it up. My family arrived in Philippines, escaping from a tough life in China so many years ago and we could also ended up in Australia!

  13. I commend you for sharing this story. If you think about it, almost all of us came from somewhere else. The stories of people migrating for various reasons are very common. Some of us are closer to the migration than others. My parents migrated to US after WWII, like so many other families. The United States is built mostly from immigrants. We all need to provide more compassion for people and not jump to assumptions. Having heard some of the stories of people going thru WWII, my life is a breeze.

  14. It is a common issue for many countries. I never fail to be amazed by the attitude to immigrants in Ireland. The Irish have gone everywhere, England, America, Australia. Is there a country in the world without an Irish pub? They have become a major force in some societies. But when the Celtic Tiger was roaring, we were not very welcoming to those who came to us. Double standards!!

  15. I remember this post as it made a great impression on me. At the time, I felt both jealous and sad that I couldn’t be there. Then the Dalai Lama came to LA, which is much closer but I still couldn’t go – can’t remember why. So thanks to you and others who heard him, and to TV interviews, I’ve been able to hear his message. But nothing like the real thing.

  16. Pingback: Looking back through my blog: My 7 Links | Reflections from a Red Head

  17. Hi Janine, I got to this post through your 7 links post and I couldn’t agree more! Go Back to Where You Came From is one of the best pieces of television I can remember, it made me perversely proud that someone in Australia was willing to tackle it. I wish there was some way of forcing every person in the country to sit down and watch this, not just the ones who already have an interest in it. Great post!

  18. Funny how Americans are up in arms about immigration. We are a land of immigrants. For goodness sake, we need to look at solutions to the problem, not forcing people to enter illegally from other countries. The bottom line I always remember…if that was me and my family trying to escape death and starvation by moving to another country, we would do it.

    Sounds like a great series Janine. Wish it aired over here.
    ~cath xo
    @jonesbabie on Twitter

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