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Dalai Lama In San Diego: Modern Education Needs To Focus On Compassion

The 14th Dalai Lama speaks at UC San Diego, June 16, 2017.

Photo by Kris Arciaga

Above: The 14th Dalai Lama speaks at UC San Diego, June 16, 2017.

The Dalai Lama says modern education is falling short on its responsibility to teach compassion.

The 81-year-old Buddhist monk spoke Friday to a crowd of about 25,000 at the University of California, San Diego, one day before he is scheduled to give a commencement speech to graduates.

He urged educational institutions like UC San Diego to teach emotional intelligence as they would science or literature.

"Once we have fuller knowledge of the full system of emotion, then it's much easier to tackle the destructive emotions such as anger, hatred," the Tibetan spiritual leader said.

Video by Kris Arciaga

The Dalai Lama spoke Friday to a crowd of about 25,000 at the University of California, San Diego.

Many in the audience said they came to see the speech because they feel unsettled in the current political climate and their personal lives.

"I saw it on the web about a month ago, and there's been so much uneasiness within myself and everywhere around me that I couldn't turn down an opportunity like this," said Shan Lee, 59. He drove to San Diego Friday morning from Huntington Beach. He recently moved there from Minnesota and said he sometimes feels lonely in his new home.

Jean Radakovich of San Diego said current events at home and abroad have been overwhelming.

"With all the — I guess you could say hate — the things that are coming to the surface now, and the topic of his speech today, I think it's so relevant," Radakovich said. "It's giving me goose bumps already and I haven't even heard him yet."

The Dalai Lama said compassion can counter divisiveness in our our world.

"Genuine compassion and loving kindness can extend toward your enemy," he said. "Their attitude or view is negative, but still they are human brothers and sisters. They deserve our love, our kindness. Their negative attitude is due to negative emotion, and emotion is always changing. By showing them love and kindness, certainly there's a possibility of change."

Photo by Kris Arciaga

A woman holds her hands together in a prayer position during the Dalai Lama's visit to UC San Diego, June 16, 2017.

Photo by Kris Arciaga

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer presents the Dalai Lama with a key to the city, June 16, 2017.

He also said he is hopeful for the future.

"I think in the 20th century, whenever people find some sort of obstacle, their first reaction is how to solve this by force. That is totally mistake, wrong," he said. "In order to create a peaceful century, this century should be a century of dialogue."

Some Chinese student organizations — Chinese nationals make up roughly 12 percent of the student body — objected to his visit. About seven individuals demonstrated in a nearby parking lot.

China considers the spiritual leader a separatist seeking Tibetan independence. The Dalai Lama says he seeks protection of Tibetan culture but that Tibet does not seek independence from China.

UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla said he invited the Dalai Lama to speak because it was important graduates hear his message.

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