Statement about the 16G Role Models

Aung San Suu Kyi
Credit: Comune Parma

In the ten years since the 16 Guidelines for a Happy Life book and programme were launched, many changes have inevitably taken place. Some of these relate to the role models who were originally chosen to illustrate each guideline, and who may have subsequently demonstrated what seem to be flaws and inconsistencies. We regret any distress our choice may have caused.

All humans have unlimited potential for embodying ethical qualities but can be habituated to self-centered thoughts, speech and behaviour. If that weren’t the case, there would be no need for programmes such as the 16 Guidelines for a Happy Life.

Aung San Suu Kyi is a Nobel Peace Prize winner who was chosen as a role model for loyalty because of her choice to stay in Myanmar to help her country become more democratic rather than to leave and be with her dying husband. However it is hard to understand what has contributed to her recent public stance regarding the persecution of the Rohingya people and what may be influencing her. The trustees and staff of FDCW and the authors of 16 Guidelines The Basics would like to make it clear that they do not in any way condone the persecution of the Rohingya people.

During 16 Guidelines for a Happy Life workshops, we find that our choice of roles models have been useful in discussions and reflection about the influence of the shadow side of humanity.

The Foundation for Developing Compassion and Wisdom,
April 2018

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