Following the terror attack which left more than 100 people dead on the streets of Paris last week, one of the first reactions of many people, as in many horrific disasters, was to turn immediately to prayer.
While the hashtag #PrayForParis was prominent on social media and world religious leaders were praised for their condemnation of the attack, the Dalai Lama says the world must not ask God to fix man-made problems.
The Tibetan spiritual leader, speaking to German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle, said in reaction to the Paris attack:
People want to lead a peaceful lives. The terrorists are short-sighted, and this is one of the causes of rampant suicide bombings.
We cannot solve this problem only through prayers. I am a Buddhist and I believe in praying. But humans have created this problem, and now we are asking God to solve it. It is illogical. God would say, solve it yourself because you created it in the first place.
We need a systematic approach to foster humanistic values, of oneness and harmony. If we start doing it now, there is hope that this century will be different from the previous one. It is in everybody’s interest.
So let us work for peace within our families and society, and not expect help from God, Buddha or the governments.
The 80-year-old added that many of the world’s problems have been caused by “superficial differences” of religion and nationality.
His message for the world is clear:
We are one people.