The speech that meant the most to me was the Dali Lama's speech. this kind of thing always reminds me of what I should be trying to follow, and how I should be trying to act and make a difference. Sometimes I can get a little heated when it comes to some topics, and I can let my mind wander and get a little too hyped up and irrational with my mindset. But when I hear people talk like in this way, it really calms me down and gets me to refocus on how I really want to act and think. The two main parts I took from the speech was the first part where he talks about equality, and near the end where he talks about human problems, and religion. He say "No matter what part of the world we come from, we are all basically the same human beings. We all seek happiness and try to avoid suffering. We have the same basic human needs and concerns. All of us human beings want freedom and the right to determine our own destiny as individuals and as peoples. That is human nature." I 100% agree with this. If more people could swallow their pride, and realise how the same we all really are, and put themselves in other people's shoes, the world would be a much better place. Near the end, he says "The problems we face today, violent conflicts, destruction of nature, poverty, hunger, and so on, are human-created problems which can be resolved through human effort, understanding and the development of a sense of brotherhood and sisterhood." Another thing I completely agree on. My only question is: When are these problems going to stop? Obviously there are always going to be these problems no matter what, but the levels they are in this current day and age is horrible. I also found it extremely interesting the part about religion. He says "Although I have found my own Buddhist religion helpful in generating love and compassion, even for those we consider our enemies, I am convinced that everyone can develop a good heart and a sense of universal responsibility with or without religion.
With the ever-growing impact of science on our lives, religion and spirituality have a greater role to play by reminding us of our humanity. There is no contradiction between the two. Each gives us valuable insights into the other. Both science and the teachings of the Buddha tell us of the fundamental unity of all things. This understanding is crucial if we are to take positive and decisive action on the pressing global concern with the environment. I believe all religions pursue the same goals, that of cultivating human goodness and bringing happiness to all human beings. Though the means might appear different the ends are the same." Now, I'm an atheist, I'm not a fan of religion, and in most cases I actively oppose it, but Buddhism... I absolutely LOVE buddhism. Buddhists have my utmost respect, and honestly I think are one of my favourite groups of people on this planet.
One country in the world I'm concerned about now is China. China has a horrible smog/air pollution problem, with a few recent stories i've seen recently, one about smog being so bad in one place that they started broadcasting the sunrise on a giant television, and another about people in another place getting "bags of fresh air" from the mountains hundreds of miles away, and how they sell cans of air in places in china. When you look at the map and AQI (air quality index) in china, the numbers are extremely high, and in the warning to dangerous levels literally all across the country. In some places visibility due to the smog is only a few meters, in many pictures you see people wearing masks to keep from breathing the air. Recent news of these drastic levels of pollution is causing people around then world to start taking notice, with experts, citizens, organisations, and the Chinese and other governments starting to take steps to combat this problem. I hope it isn't beyond repair, and although there's a very large footprint that has been made as a result of this pollution, I'm hoping that science can find a way to reverse and/or make a significant impact on this problem, and people in china can do enough to turn this around as quickly and significantly as possible.