Compassionate Leadership - Cultivating the Leaders of tomorrow

Uploaded by BuddhistYouthProject on 02.10.2010

Compassionate Leadership September 2008
Queen Noor
Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche
Rabbi Irwin Kula
(drum beating)
>>Mark Haines, Financial reporter: We assume that the individual pursuing
his or her own best interest will in result the maximum benefit for society as a whole.
And that certainly has a big question now.
Leadership has always been very important to me.
So definitely compassionate leadership is more important than regular leadership.
It reaches more people, it works better I think.
To the casual observer the world today is in conflict in the extreme.
Cultural, religious, ethnic, class, economic disputes are pervasive.
What commentary can you provide?
>> HRH Queen Noor: Are we really sticking to the questions?
>> SMR: well (laughs). >> RIK: the first one (laughs)
>> SMR: we will see what happens >> RIK: at least the first one.
>> HRHQN: And the first one is what we think of leadership? What is leadership?
>> RIK: Given that the world is falling apart...
>> Moderator: Can you offer a definition or perspective on leadership
when the world is falling apart?
>> SMR I think it is basically...
>> HRHQN: Of the leadership that is needed when the world is falling apart?
Isn't that what you mean?
>> RIK: Yeah, any way you want that's important.
>> HRHQN: That’s what we are talking about; its the kind of leadership we need.
>> Moderator: The more open ended the better.
To be honest with you this is a whole star line up.
You know, we are going to get to see here...
Queen Noor she's going to be here. It is going to be ...
It's also not something you see every day.
I'm not completely sure about exactly what the lecture is on,
but I think whenever you have these...this many people who are really...
have gone through these many experiences,
who have held these kind of positions in the world,
that you know whatever they are going to be talking about
is going to be insightful; you're going to learn something.
How are you? Nice to see you.
Great to have you here.
Thank you very much.
The people who you despise most are as committed to justice as you are.
It just turns out that their understanding of justice is radically different than yours.
And the people who are committed to fairness,
they're just as committed to fairness as you are,
except it turns out that when you don't like the content of their fairness you say they're unfair.
The real interesting thing is to be able to fashion the kind of vision
that incorporates the partial truth of the side you most deeply disagree with.
Because otherwise it's not a vision or I would say otherwise its very limited vision.
But what we are really saying is
there is nobody who is so stupid that they are hundred percent wrong.
And what that means is that that you have to listen very carefully for the partial truth
and especially the partial truth in
the voices of the people with whom you most deeply disagree.
However you polarize, it turns out that there is some partial truths in the other side
that is the truth you need to need to learn most.
I would love for everybody in the next week
learn some partial truths of someone you despise, a view you despise. You know.
Rallying the base is the easiest thing to do; that’s easy; that’s not leadership.
What the media, what the political process has done,
what so many interminable conflicts seem to have done between various cultures,
is create a sense of the other.
Not being the other person in the car,
but the other being a demonic, different, subhuman, character
and that's certainly a problem of system.
So you end up with lack of compassion and human interest in the human stories
and caught up instead in political processes that are
devoid of a real understanding of what consequences will be on the ground,
what the impact will be on people,
what actually your chance of success will be in the future.
Because if you do not take people into account in your policymaking at any level...
You know the notion of leadership and compassion here is that
a lot of times when I talked about this issue, people say,
"Oh that's the kind of new agey" and "That sounds nice, but it doesn't work".
And it is seen as sort of simplistic or superficial or trite and so forth.
But I say, you know in my culture...It may be new age in America,
but it's not in Tibet, by the way. It's mainstream; so I'm normal there.
In Tibet itself, you know I've been there several times,
I was born in India and I went back,
and to go there and to see just the stark reality there is not much to eat.
It's a very simple place.
I like to say that Tibetan food is sort of the Scottish food of Asia.
You know basically there's not much going on.
I remember one time seeing a Scottish cookbook. It was very short,
because I actually learned English in Scotland, so I know.
So when I went there I was surprised by how stark everything is.
And I was thinking -well if you didn't have a lot of money and time.
You know food and so forth, would you try things that just don't work.
Of course not; you would try things that work.
So here's a tradition that says what are the most important values in life.
So compassion. This notion of wisdom. This notion of generosity.
We say actually how do you get more yourself? You give more.
What is the leaders’ main qualities: they need to be strong and sustained.
We say nonaggressive, which means having patience.
If you're a leader that doesn't have patience you will not survive the long haul.
Everyone has a responsibility. It does not matter what part of the world you're in;
it doesn't matter what your political system is
or how obstructed you feel or your civil society institutions seem to be;
you can still have an impact on a process that ultimately can move forward.
But you can never ever give up and stop trying,
because that is the only thing that has ever changed the world, is people who have tried.
And some of the most dramatic and positive changes have taken place
by those trying under the most seemingly impossible circumstances.
Moderated by Jerry Murdock
Filmed on location
Goldman SachsInsight Venture Partners New York UniversityTufts University
Special thanks to all who made this possible.
Highlights from Compassionate Leadership Tour: 2008
© 2008 Center Productions