Honorary members

Dalai Lama XIV

Dalai Lama XIV

"As a Buddhist, I believe the purpose of our lives is to overcome suffering and cultivate happiness. But by happiness I do not only mean temporary pleasure that is derived from material comfort alone. I am thinking more of the enduring happiness that results from the thorough transformation and development of the mind that can be achieved through the cultivation of such qualities as compassion, patience and wisdom.

Today, many societies are becoming much better developed materially, yet among them there are many people who are not very happy. All over the world these days we hear constantly of growing numbers of young people addicted to drugs and alcohol. It saddens me to know that this is increasingly true of Russia too. Yet, unlike the sufferings of sickness, old age, and death, becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol is neither natural nor inevitable. I believe that if we think carefully, we may see that they point to something quite fundamental: a neglect of what I call our inner dimension.

As free human beings we can use our unique intelligence to try to understand ourselves and our world. But if we are unable to use our creative potential, we lose one of the basic characteristics of a human being. You may feel that drugs make you feel happier, but when you cannot obtain them or the effect wears off, you feel worse than before. Like negative emotions, drugs muddle our intelligence, distort our natural awareness and cloud our creativity. Training the mind is both a useful and realistic way to find enduring peace and mental clarity. I believe positive attitudes like kindness, friendliness and concern for others are not a luxury, but a fundamental condition for the health and happiness we all seek.

I pray that all those who wish to rid themselves of addiction to drugs may find the strength and support to do so, and that young people who have not fallen prey to such dangers may continue be protected from them."