HIS HOLINESS THE DALAI LAMA
This image of my drawing depicts the smiling H. H. the Dalai Lama who was born on July 6, 1935, in Amdo, Tibet, and is one of the world’s foremost spiritual leaders. His genuine smile seems transmitting a special energy that has the power to calm, heal and bring our inner smile.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama has traveled the globe to spread his undying message of compassion, love, and kindness for more than half a century. The following selections of inspiring quotations are from the Dalai Lama’s writings, teachings, interviews, speeches during the course of his years as the exiled spiritual and political leader of the Tibetan people.
At the age of eighty-one the Dalai Lama continues to travel the globe wherever he is welcome to spread his undying message to Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. Though he is content to embrace the role of “a simple Buddhist monk” the Dalai Lama is universally recognized as a great teacher of world peace and human rights and one of the world’s foremost spiritual leaders.
Genuine compassion is not a feeling that others are somehow lower than you. Rather, with genuine compassion you view others as more important than yourself.
Cultivating a close, warmhearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. It is the ultimate source of success in life.
Genuine compassion should be unbiased.
Those who lack any compassion for animals are also those who show a lack of compassion toward human beings.
Generating concerns for others has vast power to transform your mind.
Love is the center of human life. Without love we could not survive.
The feeling of a mother for her child is a classic example of love. Children should be grateful to their mothers and express their gratitude by performing virtuous deeds.
If the love within your mind is lost, then no matter how much knowledge or education you have, no matter how much material progress is made, only sufferirng and confusion will ensue.
Love and compassion are two sides of the same coin.
Love is a simple practice yet it is very beneficial for the individual who practices it as well as for the community in which he lives, for the nation, and for the whole world.
Loving oneself is crucial. If we do not love ourselves, how can we love others? Genuine love should first be directed at oneself.
The foundation of all spiritual practice is love. If we wish happiness for mankind, love is the only way.
When we reach beyond the confines of narrow self-interest, our hearts become filled with strength. Peace and joy become our constant companion.
KINDNESS AND FRIENDSHIP
Since at the beginning and end of our lives we are so dependent on others’ kindness, how can it be that in the middle we neglect kindness toward others?
If we find we cannot help others, the least we can do is to desist from harming them.
Having a heart, and a kind and warm disposition, is an enormous advantage.
If you are selfish and always put yourself first and others second, you will finish last. If mentally, you put yourself last and others first, you will come out ahead.
Humans have the potential not only to create happy lives for themselves, but also to help other beings.
Developing a warm heart ourselves can also transform others. A friendly and harmonious atmosphere promotes good health, perhaps even a long life.
Without human friendship, without the human smile, our lives become miserable. According to natural law, we depend on others to live.
The more you show concern about the welfare and rights of others, the more you are a genuine friend. If you forget or do not bother about others, then eventually you will lose your own benefits.
Genuine friends have much to do with a warm heart, not money, not power.
If you want a genuine friend, we must create a positive atmosphere. I think in our life friends are very important, as are a friendly manner and genuine smile.
If a dying person is surrounded by friends his mind may be more calm. Therefore throughout our lives, from the very beginning to our death, human affection plays a very important role.
My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.
Love, compassion and concern for others are real sources of happiness.
Happiness is related to the way we think. If we do not train our minds, and do not reflect on life, it is impossible to find happiness.
The key to a happy life, now and in the future, is to develop a calm, happy mind.
Human happiness and human satisfaction must ultimately come from within oneself.
Happiness is a state of mind. Happiness means calmness of mind.
The sense of contentment is a key factor for attaining happiness.
We should realize that self-centeredness is the source of all sufferirng, and that thinking of others is the source of all happiness.
In my lifetime, I have lost my country and have been reduced to being totally dependent on the goodwill of others. I feel sad when I think about them. However, I don’t feel overwhelmed by sadness. Old, familiar faces disappear, and new faces appear, but I still maintain my happiness and peace of mind.
Pleasure and pain come from your own past actions.
Bad karma can be weakened through repentance and good deeds.
The notion of karma especially shows us that we are responsible for our own fate and should take charge of our lives.
One of the characteristics of karmic theory is that there is a definite, commensurate relationship between cause and effect.
Every action we ever create establishes an imprint on the mind that can contribute to our future evolution.
PAIN, SUFFERING, AND PATIENCE
Undergoing small sufferings in this lifetime can purify the karma of many ill deeds accumulated in former lifetimes.
Encountering sufferings will definitely contribute to the elevation of your spiritual practice, provided you are able to transform the calamity and misfortune into the path.
Through a difficult period you can learn to develop inner strength, determination, and courage to face the problems.
The time of greatest gain in terms of wisdom and inner strength is often that of greatest difficulty. The experience of suffering can open our eyes to reality.
Without patient endurance, even the smallest thing becomes unbearable. A lot depends on our attitude.
Tolerance and patience with courage are not signs of failure but signs of victory.
Patience is the best means we have of defending ourselves internally from destructive effects.
If we lose patience and get angry, we lose our ability to make proper judgments.
In my case, at the age of sixteen I lost my freedom and at twenty-four I lost my country. My life has not been easy. However, throughout all these years, I learned about compassion, about caring for others. This mental attitude has brought me inner strength.
What do we understand by meditation? From the Buddhist point of view, meditation is a spiritual discipline, and one that allows you to have some degree of control over your thoughts and emotions.
Meditation is the process whereby we gain control over the mind and guide it in a more virtuous direction.
When we use meditation on our spiritual path, it is to familiarize ourselves with a chosen object. The “chosen object’ can be a mental quality such as patience, which we work at cultivating within ourselves by means of meditative contemplation.
Whatever forms of meditation you practice, the most important point is to apply mindfulness continuously, and make a sustained effort.
At a time when people are so conscious of maintaining their physical health by controlling their diets, exercising, and so forth, it makes sense to try to cultivate the corresponding positive mental attitudes too.
DEATH AND REBIRTH
If you are mindful of death, it will not come as a surprise, you will not be anxious. You will feel that death is merely like changing your clothes. Consequently, at that point you will be able to maintain your calmness of mind.
We are born and reborn countless number of times, and it is possible that each being has been our parent at one time or another. Therefore, it is likely that all beings in this universe have familial connections.
Buddhists say that rebirth is a reality. It is a fact. We believe that there is a subtle consciousness which is the source of everything we call the created world.
At the moment of death, the consciousness is influenced by all the intentions and motives, by all the deeds and experiences of the dying person. What we have done to others will fall back on us in the coming life. This is how the consciousness continues to exist and is reborn together with the accumulated karma in a new body.
When my death comes, I have to face it alone. Nobody can help me at all. Even my own body has to be left behind. I will travel to the next life under the power of my own actions.
(Source: “The Dalai Lama – His Essential Wisdom,” Edited By Carol Kelly-Gangi, 2007, Fall River Press, New York, USA)
(Spring Liao, 07/11/2016)
INSIGHT from the Dalai Lama
The following selected sayings of the Dalai Lama are taken from “INSIGHT from the Dalai Lama, 2017 Calendar,” by Andrews McMeel Publishing, Kansas City, Missouri, USA.
– When peace reigns in the mind, one is always happy, even if external conditions are not ideal.
– Happiness is not something ready-made. it comes from your own actions.
– Anger or hatred is like a fisherman’s hook. It is very important for us to ensure that we are not caught by it.
– Through training there is knowledge. You can produce compassion, love, and forgiveness. You can change yourself.
– Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a powerful stroke of luck.
– If you must be selfish, then be wise and not narrow-minded in your selfishness.
– The mind is not physical. No one can touch it, no one can harm it directly, and therefore no one can destroy it.
– First we must help; then later, we can talk about the cause of any tragedy.
– Rather than being unhappy and hateful, we should rejoice in the success of others.
– Everyday, think as you wake up, “Today I am fortunate to be alive. I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it.”
– Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
– There are many beggars in the world, so it is easy to practice generosity.
– One who smiles has a happy, successful life.
-The true test of honoring Buddhas or God is the love one extends to fellow human beings.
– Anger is the force that destroys virtuous qualities; therefore, you should challenge anger and try to eliminate it.
– Unlike an external enemy, the inner enemy cannot regroup and launch a comeback once it has been destroyed from within.
– Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
– The essence of all spiritual life is your attitude to others.
The Dalai Lama is the world’s leading Buddhist voice, but he is not the world leader of Buddhism. There are many different traditions of Buddhism and each has its own leaders. There is no question that the Dalai Lama is the most famous Buddhist teacher in the world and one of humanity’s moral and spiritual leaders.
(Spring Liao. 12/16/2016, update 04/18/2017)