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Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

Asiaweek Time Asia Now Asiaweek story


Balancing material progress with inner development to achieve true success

By The Dalai Lama

asia in the new millennium
Mapping the Future The future wealth and size of Asian nations

The 21st Century By Arthur C. Clarke

Asia Trends 2000 The promises and perils of one wired world

The Microchip Silicon will get into everything
The Power As the region prospers, chances for conflict may become greater
Essay by Fidel Ramos Ending repression was easy; now we must defend freedom
The Dynasty It's here to stay
The Classes Many more Asians may escape poverty
The People Democracy in Asia will become increasingly deep-rooted
Essay by Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo Shifts to new paradigms may include the "common good" and spirituality
The Mind Classrooms of the future will be virtually unrecognizable
Essay by Stan Shih The challenge of creating markets in a competitive world
The Body Science will soon deliver miracle cures, designer babies and new dilemmas
The Soul Asia seeks a new cultural identity
Essay by the Dalai Lama Balancing material progress with inner development to achieve true success
The Food Are the pushers of genetically modified edibles out to lunch?
The Vacation Inner and outer space are the destinations of the future
The Design Asia still has a place in the shape of things to come
The Metropolis Sweeping global changes are reshaping urban destinies
The Earth Environmental awareness is growing
The Jobs New and reinvented careers will fire the imagination
The Money The cashless society is on the way
The Investor Globalization and the Net will empower future shareholders and savers
The Sexes Democracy, capitalism and the Internet can lift women to the top
Essay by Marina Mahathir In Malaysia, we should change the way society looks at their roles
The Family The family promises to be much different than it is today
The Economy New ways of working call for new ways of thinking
Essay by Donald Tsang Financial well-being is a responsibility for each nation and the world
The Network The connection will go much deeper

The Asiaweek Round Table on ASEAN in 2020

Celebrations Asia is gearing up

Celebrities How some of the region's most visible personalities intend to welcome the New Year

Millenium Dictionary From pop anthems to dawn sites and midnight nuptials, a guide to 2000

AS THE NEW MILLENNIUM approaches, our world requires us to accept the oneness of humanity. In the past, isolated communities could afford to think of themselves as fundamentally separate. Some even existed in total isolation. But nowadays, whatever happens in one region eventually affects many other areas. In the context of this new interdependence, self-interest clearly lies in considering the interests of others.

Many of the world's problems and conflicts arise because we have lost sight of the humanity that binds us together as one family. We forget that despite the diversity of race, religion and ideology, people share a basic wish for peace and happiness. These will not be achieved, however, by talking or thinking about them, nor by waiting for someone else to act. We each have to take responsibility as best we can within our own sphere of activity, using our unique intelligence to try to understand ourselves and our world.

I believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. From the core of our being, we desire happiness. In my own experience I have found that the more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being. Cultivating a warmhearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. It helps remove fears or insecurities and gives us the strength to cope with obstacles. As we are not solely material creatures, it is a mistake to place all our hopes for happiness on external development. The key is to develop inner peace.

We need to embark on the difficult task of developing love and compassion within ourselves. By nature peaceful and gentle, compassion is also very powerful. Some may dismiss this as impractical and unrealistic, but I believe its practice is the true source of success - a sign of inner strength. To achieve compassion we do not need to become religious or ideological. We need only develop our basic human qualities.

Today, the followers of many faiths sacrifice their own welfare in the service of others. The various religious traditions clearly have this similar commitment as well as a sense of universal responsibility. This altruism, I believe, is the most important goal of all religious practice. People possess diverse temperaments and interests and it is therefore inevitable that religious traditions emphasize different philosophies and practices. Since their essence is to achieve individual and collective benefit, it is crucial that we maintain harmony and respect between them. This will benefit not only the followers of our own faith, but create an atmosphere of peace in society.

There is not much concern for human values in today's world. Money and power dominate. If society loses the values of justice, compassion and honesty, we will face still greater difficulties. Some may think there is no real need for such ethics in business or politics. I strongly disagree. The quality of our actions depends on our motivation. From my Buddhist viewpoint all things originate in the mind. A real sense of appreciation of humanity, compassion and love are key. Once we develop a good, altruistic heart - whether in science, agriculture or politics - the result will be more beneficial.

With proper motivation these activities can help humanity; without it they go the other way. This is why the compassionate thought is so important for humankind. Although it is not easy to bring about the inner change that gives rise to compassion, it is absolutely worthwhile to try.

It is natural that we strive to improve our standard of living, but not at any cost. The more we pursue profit and material improvement, ignoring the contentment that comes of inner growth, values will disappear from our communities. When there is no place for justice and honesty in people's hearts, the weak are the first to suffer. The resulting resentments lead to unhappiness for all. We must balance material progress with the sense of responsibility that comes of education and inner development.

We may face obstacles in pursuit of our goals. If we remain passive, making no effort to solve problems, no change for the better can be achieved. Transforming obstacles into opportunities for positive growth is a challenge to our ingenuity. It requires patience, compassion and the use of our intelligence. To ignore such opportunities is to waste our human potential. It is extremely important to realize that the graver the crisis we encounter, the greater our need for patience. Above all, we must not lose our determination.

This has been a century marred by conflict and war. Let us take steps now to ensure that the coming century will be characterized by non-violence and dialogue, the preconditions of peaceful co-existence. In any society there will be differences and conflicts, but we have to develop confidence that dialogue and friendship is a valid alternative to violence. What we all need as we approach the new millennium is an enhanced sense of universal responsibility.

The Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, is a Nobel Peace laureate

This edition's table of contents | Asiaweek home


U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

Thai party announces first coalition partner


COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state


COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness

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