And Irish people should not become “demoralised” or give in to “hopelessness”. That was the uplifting message of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan Buddhist leader, on his visit here.
His message received rapturous applause from a 2,500-strong crowd in Dublin’s Citywest Hotel, as he awed them with his idiosyncratic mix of wisdom, wit and laughter.
“You are passing through difficulties. Determination, self-confidence, hard work are very essential,” said the 14th Dalai Lama.
“Some difficulties are due to past mistakes and carelessness and now you must work hard, with more intelligence. I want to tell you no need [to be] discouraged or [give way to] hopelessness.”
He said, in his own case, he had to leave Tibet aged 16 and “lost my freedom”. At age 24 he “lost my country” to China, a time, he said, of a “lot of destruction”. But he added: “There was no reason to feel discouraged and demoralised and [give in to] hopelessness. Tragedy can transform inner strength.”
He said Irish people were once very poor, but added: “Through your own hard work and effort with determination, prosperity comes. Now there is a problem, disaster, [it’s] now an opportunity. Now you must work hard with more confidence.
“Some people, including the Government, should study what cause [the problems] and now should not repeat these causes in the future.”
On mental health issues in Ireland, he said: “I am always telling people the ultimate source of happiness isn’t money matter. I think societies [that are] materially highly developed, the people’s mental energy always looks outside.
“After this global crisis, those individuals who are totally reliant for the source of happiness on money, these people really suffer. Those people with a very happy family, full of love and affection, and values, these people have much less mental disturbances and anxiety.”
He said people need to looked inward more: “Inner value brings inner strength. Self-confidence reduces anxiety and stress and inner strength brings genuine friendship because you can act openly, honestly, truthfully. People [who] deep inside [have] too much anxiety, can’t act transparently.”
The healthy-looking 76-year-old received a minute-long standing ovation, along with his friend and charity founder Richard Moore, when they attended the Possibilities Civic Summit in Citywest.
He was here on the personal invite of Mr Moore, his charity Children in Crossfire, along with social change organisation SpunOut.ie and peace group Afri.
The Dalai Lama, considered by believers to be the incarnation of the Buddha, later travelled to Kildare town before giving a speech at University of Limerick.
The exiled leader officially stepped down as the political leader of Tibet last month, but remains their spiritual leader.