Like many around the world, we are deeply saddened by the events taking place in Ukraine. Our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine and with all who have been affected by this terrible situation. We hope for a quick resolution.

Both Ukraine and Russia consider Kievan Rus as their historical predecessor, and Kyiv is often called the “mother of Russian cities” and the cradle of East Slavic Orthodox civilization. There is a strong wish between both countries for shared views on history. When Ukrainians and Russians were asked to name another country that their own shares historical views with, Ukrainians name Russia as their first choice. Russians mention Ukraine right after Belarus*.

There is a lot in common between the inhabitants of Russia and Ukraine and restoring friendly relations should be the ultimate goal.

Gyalwa Rinpoche, The 14th Dalai Lama:

As a Buddhist monk, my concern extends to all members of the human family and, indeed, to all sentient beings who suffer. I believe all suffering is caused by ignorance. People inflict pain on others in the selfish pursuit of their happiness or satisfaction. Yet true happiness comes from a sense of inner peace and contentment, which in turn must be achieved through the cultivation of altruism, of love and compassion and elimination of ignorance, selfishness and greed.

The problems we face today, violent conflicts, destruction of nature, poverty, hunger, and so on, are human-created problems which can be resolved through human effort, understanding and the development of a sense of brotherhood and sisterhood. We need to cultivate a universal responsibility for one another and the planet we share. Although I have found my own Buddhist religion helpful in generating love and compassion, even for those we consider our enemies, I am convinced that everyone can develop a good heart and a sense of universal responsibility with or without religion.

I pray for all of us, oppressor and friend, that together we succeed in building a better world through human understanding and love, and that in doing so we may reduce the pain and suffering of all sentient beings.

Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech. December 10, 1989. Oslo, Norway.

*Researchers from ZOiS and Harvard Félix Krawatzek and George Soroka surveyed 2000 people in Russia and Ukraine.


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