For whatever reason, I found myself agreeing with everything he said. I had four hypotheses as to why.
- Chinese/Confucian/Taoist/Buddhist legacy of my upbringing.
- Just a generally sensible upbringing
- The New-Agey, post-hippy, political correct, California culture that I live in today
- The Lama is hitting upon some universal truths.
- The purpose of all living things is to seek happiness and ease suffering.
- Humans are different than animals because they have mental faculties and intelligence that facilitate this purpose.
- We should embrace science for effectively solving much of our material suffering.
- But material well being is not a sufficient condition for happiness. We should have affection for our fellow man, but at the same time not let affection divide. We should treat all humanity as one body.
- It is easy to be tempted by negative thoughts. Strive for positive thoughts
- Have respect for all faiths and systems of beliefs. Be moderate and do not judge.
But in the end, the Lama has a whimsical winning personality, and in Q+A was quite amusing and surprising. He basically talked about the unity of religious and spirituality; how he lectures Christian priests about God. An odd but interesting question, “Would you favor genetic engineering of people that removed desire and thus remove suffering?” His answer was surprising. I would not favor, only because the experimentation would be painful and cruel. But if science could eliminate desire and remove suffering (ala soma) he would be all for it. He also freely admitted the primacy of science over Buddhist texts, lamenting how he wasted so much time memorizing Buddhist cosmology when now we know from modern physics that all that was nonsense.