We at Mount Madonna School are so honored and excited to be working on this wonderful project with our friends at the Dominion Heritage Academy in Jos, Nigera and the Tibetan Children’s Village in Dharamsala, India.
In seeing the emails that our students are exchanging and experiencing the developing bonds between myself and my counterparts, Yeshi at Dharamsala and Emmanuel in Nigeria, I am struck by how powerful the basic question, “What is lasting happiness?” can be. It is a question that can take us into the mystery of what makes a human life worthwhile. It also makes us think deeply on what I like to call the “physics of virtue.” This is an exploration of why acting ethically and developing self-reflection and self-discipline leads to a more lasting happiness in life.
As the Mount Madonna students delve more deeply into the ideas of “Ethics for the New Millennium” and connect those ideas to concepts we are learning in our Values Class and from our mentors who have been coming to speak with us, we start to see a pattern emerging. That pattern connects our personal sense of well being with concern for the well being of others. It also helps us develop both the understanding of negative emotions and the conscious limiting of those emotions, which are based on limited self-interest. We are seeing that our true self-interest is deeply connected to the interests of others and that meaningful and trusting relationships are essential nourishment for a meaningful and happy life. We are also realizing that the physical artifacts such as the book or the web site, while important, are not the ultimate goal. It is actually the process by which we engage in this journey is the ultimate goal. What we internalize and bring into our life practice as we go through the stages of this journey will be the real fruit of our efforts.
We are grateful to the Dalai Lama and the wonderful foundation, which bears his name for this amazing opportunity. Also we owe so much to the Mount Madonna School that has allowed us to take the time for this important project, as well as the families of the students who have put their faith in us, and all the creative and generous people who are building the container for this experience. We hope our work and personal growth will justify their faith and inspire others to join us in the quest of increasing the quotient of happiness in this world for all.