"If you harbor negative feelings towards others, and yet expect them to be friendly to you, you are being illogical. If you want the atmosphere around you to be more friendly, you must first create the basis for that. Whether the response of others is positive or negative, you must first create the ground of friendliness. If others still respond to you negatively after this, then you have the right to act accordingly."-- from The Dalai Lama's Book of Love and Compassion
"Even though there are so many of us on this planet, everyone can only see themselves. We depend on others to eat, to have clothes, to find a job or become famous, and yet we regard other people as our enemies even though we are all so intimately connected. Is this not a patent contradiction?"-- from 365 Dalai Lama: Daily Advice from the Heart', ed. by Matthieu Ricard.
"From within the scientists' circle, it is not clear whether affection and compassion are illusions or real. Often we cannot specifically pinpoint the objects of our compassion, of our projected kindness, the objects of our affection. Anyway, having compassion is something very important throughout human society, isn't it? Whether compassion has an independent existence within the self or not, compassion certainly is, in daily life, I think, the foundation of human hope, the source and assurance of our human future."-- from Consciousness at the Crossroads: Conversations with the Dalai Lama on Brain Science and Buddhism
Basically, the concept of "I" is the key. The things that surround you, all these ultimately are designated, so the designator, the self, is supreme. That's why, in many countries, one's own country is the center of the universe. Then, within the country, ultimately the person himself or herself is the center of the whole universe. Now, this self wants happiness and does not want suffering. Generally speaking, violence produces suffering; compassion or non-violence brings us happiness. Therefore, violence we consider to be negative, and non-violence we consider to be positive. Violent things like Hurricane Mitch in Central America are without any motivation, so we call them natural disasters. These we can't avoid. But in the other type of violence, which is created by humans ourselves, motivation is involved. Those kinds of violence can be changed- we can reduce them, and there is even a possibility to eliminate them. Therefore, we need to try to change our attitude, to cultivate the right kind of motivation.- from The Art of Peace: Nobel Laureates Discuss Human Rights, Conflict and Reconciliation, ed. by Jeffrey Hopkins.
Why is it that we don't succeed in enjoying the lasting happiness that we are seeking? And why are we so often faced with suffering and misery instead? Buddhism explains that our normal state of mind is such that our thoughts and emotions are wild and unruly, and since we lack the mental discipline needed to tame them, we are powerless to control them. As a result, they control us. And thoughts and emotions, in their turn, tend to be controlled by our negative impulses rather than our positive ones. We need to reverse this cycle, so that our thoughts and emotions are freed from their subservience to negative impulses, and so we ourselves, as individuals, gain control of our own minds.-- from Transforming the Mind: Teachings on Generating Compassion
"I find that giving a discourse based on religious texts is a good way of showing that religion has a lot to tell us, no matter what situation we find ourselves in. However, I am better at it now than I was in the beginning. In those days I lacked confidence, although it improved every time I spoke in public. Also, I found, as every teacher does, that there is nothing like teaching to help one learn."-- from The Path to Tranquility: Daily Wisdom
"It is vital for a leader to keep in touch with the common people. I myself had learned at an early age that anyone who wishes to lead must remain close to the common people."-- from The Path to Tranquility: Daily Wisdom
It is up to everyone to bring an end to war. We can of course identify those who have incited conflict, but we cannot pretend that they sprung up out of nowhere or that they acted in isolation. They were members of a society of which we are all members too, and for which each one of us carries a share of responsibility. If we want to bring about peace in the world, let us star by creating it in ourselves.-- from 365 Dalai Lama: Daily Advice for the Heart
The fact remains that the birth cycles of all sentient beings are beginningless, and that countless times in previous lives we have each fulfilled the role of a mother. The feeling of a mother for her child is a classic example of love. For the safety, protection, and welfare of her children, a mother is ready to sacrifice her very life. Recognizing this, children should be grateful to their mothers and express their gratitude by performing virtuous deeds.-- Path to Tranquility: Daily Wisdom
"Buddhist texts speak of four principal obstacles that one must overcome for meditation to be successful. The first is mental scattering or distraction, which arises at the coarse level of mind and refers to the tendency for our thoughts to be scattered. The second obstacle is dullness and drowsiness, or the tendency to fall asleep. The third is mental laxity, which means that our mind is unable to retain sharpness and clarity. Finally, at a more subtle level, there is mental excitement, or agitation which stems from the fluctuating, changeable nature of our mind".-- from Transforming the Mind: Teachings on Generating Compassion
"When practioners cultivate the recognition that the emotional and mental afflictions are the true enemy and that underlying them is fundamental ignorance, they then engage in the methods for eliminating this ignorance. Practitioners recognize that as long as they remain under the control of the afflictions, they will never be free of dissatisfaction and suffering. If, based on its recognition, practioners then generate a genuine and deeply felt aspiration to seek liberation from this bondage, that is true renunciation."-- from Illuminating the Path to Enlightenment
"If you hurriedly change your religion, then after some time you may find some difficulties and some confusion. Therefore, be very careful. An important thing to remember is that once you change your personal religion, there is a natural tendency, in order to justify your newly adopted religion, to take a critical view toward your previous religion. This is very dangerous. Although your previous religion may be unsuitable or ineffective for you, at the same time, millions of people may still get benefit from that tradition. So we must respect each other's individual rights. If it is their belief, and millions of people get their inspiration from it, we must respect that. And there are many reasons to do that."-- from Healing Anger: The Power of Patience from a Buddhist Perspective
"If there are sound reasons or bases for the points you demand, then there is no need to use violence. On the other hand, when there is no sound reason that concessions should be made to you but mainly your own desire, then reason cannot work and you have to rely on force. Thus, using force is not a sign of strength but rather a sign of weakness. Even in daily human contact, if we talk seriously, using reasons, there is no need to feel anger. We can argue the points. When we fail to prove with reason, then anger comes. When reason ends, then anger begins. Therefore, anger is a sign of weakness."-- from The Dalai Lama, A Policy of Kindness: An Anthology of Writings by and About the Dalai Lama
"In defense of politicians, they are necessarily the products of a society. If it is a society that thinks only of money and power, without any concern for moral values, we should not be surprised if politicians are corrupt, and should not therefore consider that the responsibility for such a situation lies entirely with them."-- from 365 Dalai Lama: Daily Advice from the Heart
"Let me explain what I mean by compassion. Usually, our concept of compassion or love refers to the feeling of closeness we have with our friends and loved ones. Sometimes compassion also carries a sense of pity. This is wrong- any love or compassion which entails looking down on the other is not genuine compassion. To be genuine, compassion must be based on respect for the other, and on the realization that others have the right to be happy and overcome suffering just as much as you. On this basis, since you can see that others are suffering, you develop a genuine sense of concern for them."-- from The Dalai Lama's Book of Love & Compassion
"What is violence and what is non-violence? We can't make a clear demarcation between violence and non-violence on a superficial basis, since it is related with motivation. Out of sincere motivation, certain verbal actions, as well as physical actions, may look more wrathful, more violent, harsher, but in essence, because these activities come out of a sincere motivation of compassion, or sense of caring, they are essentially non-violent. On the other hand, with negative motivation, try to cheat, trying to exploit, trying to deceive, and using nice words-although with a big artificial smile and with a gift- might look like a friendly gesture, but because of the motivation, it is the worst kind of violence. So I feel that in certain cases violence can be said to be a manifestation or expression of compassion. Nevertheless, non-violence is the basic expression of compassion, therefore, the concepts of non-violence and compassion are very, very close."-- from The Art of Peace: Nobel Peace Laureates Discuss Human Rights, Conflict and Reconciliation
"We depend on others from the moment we are conceived. The happiness and the future of our world, all the facilities we have, the simplest object that we use, our very survival from day to day, all result from the efforts of many people. Prayer and other spiritual practices also have a definite effect, but it is mainly human activity that shapes the world."-- from 365 Dalai Lama: Daily Advice from the Heart
"If association with delusions could give you happiness, you should now have the best and most satisfactory form of happiness, because of your long association with delusions. But this is not the case. All of us are always under the sufferings of dissatisfaction and anxiety. The very start of our lives is marked with suffering, our lives end with suffering, and during our lives we go through all sorts of problems and miseries. Such is the nature of samsara, cyclic existence. The underlying cause of all this is that we are under the influence of contaminated body, actions, and delusions."-- from Path to Bliss: A Practical Guide to Stages of Meditation
"Buddha never mentioned that the problems we have encountered are the result of misconstruction of a house or starting a project or work on an inappropriate day or time. Buddha always talked about the negative experiences as a result of having performed negative actions. So for a good practitioner there is no new year, there is no good or bad day."-- from The Path to Tranquility: Daily Wisdom
"In order to promote non-violence and reduce violence, ultimately we have to address motivation through education, through awareness. Here, I want to share with you a few thoughts about the concept of war. In ancient times, when people remained separately, more or less independently, there was no need for other people's cooperation. You could survive, you could live, completely independently. Under those circumstances, the concept of war, destruction of your enemy, and the victory of your side were a real possibility. Today's world is no longer that kind of reality. Your survival, your success, your progress, are very much related with others' well being. Therefore, under these circumstances even your enemies- for whatever reason you categorize them as an enemy in the economic field and in some other fields- and you are still very much interdependent. In such a situation, destruction of your enemy is actually destruction of yourself. Judging from that viewpoint, the concept of "we" and "they" no longer applies. Thus the concept of war, destruction of the other side, is not relevant to today's situation. Therefore, I think it is very important to make it clear that the concept of war not only is a painful experience but also is self-destructive."-- from The Art of Peace: Nobel Peace Laureates discuss Human Rights, Conflict and Reconciliation
Crucial to the hermeneutical approach is the Mahayana principle of the four reliances. These are:
1. reliance on the teaching, not the teacher
2. reliance on the meaning, not the words that express it
3. reliance on the definitive meaning, not on the provisional meaning; and
4. reliance on the transcendent wisdom of deep experience, not on mere knowledge.-- from The Path to Tranquility: Daily Wisdom
THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS
The Blessed One said, "These are true sufferings, these are true sources, these are true cessations, these are true paths. Sufferings are to be known, their sources are to be abandoned, their cessations are to be actualised, the paths are to be cultivated. Sufferings are to be known, then, there will be no more suffering to be known. The sources of sufferings are to be abandoned; then, there will be no more sources to be abandoned. The cessations of suffering are to be actualised. The paths are to be cultivated; then, there will be no more paths to be cultivated." These are the four noble truths in terms of their entities, requisite actions, and actions together with their effects. In explaining them, the interpretation of the Prasangika-Madhyamika system, the highest system among all Buddhist schools, will mainly be followed.-- from The Buddhism of Tibet
"Countless rebirths lie ahead, both good and bad. The effects of karma (actions) are inevitable, and in previous lifetimes we have accumulated negative karma which will inevitably have its fruition in this or future lives. Just as someone witnessed by police in a criminal act will eventually be caught and punished, so we too must face the consequences of faulty actions we have committed in the past, there is no way to be at ease; those actions are irreversible; we must eventually undergo their effects".-- from Kindness, Clarity and Insight
"The greatest obstacle to cultivating compassion and a good heart is selfishness: the attitude of cherishing ones own welfare and benefit, often remaining oblivious to the well-being of others. This self-centered attitude underlies most of our ordinary states of mind, as well as the various states of existence in samsara, and is thus the root of all delusion. Therefore, the first task of a practitioner of compassion and a good heart is to gain an understanding of the destructive nature of these delusions, and how they naturally lead to undesirable consequences."-- from The Heart of Compassion: A Practical Approach to a Meaningful Life
"All sentient beings have the right to live. It is obvious that mammals, birds and fish all feel pleasure and pain, and that therefore they do not like pain any more than we do. When we abuse animals simply for a profit motive, even if we leave the Buddhist point of view aside, such action contradicts elementary moral views."-- from 365 Dalai Lama: Daily Advice from the Heart
"Despite being a monk and a supposed practitioner of the 'Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life', I myself still occasionally become irritated and angry and, as a result, use harsh words toward others. Then, a few moments later when the anger has subsided, I feel embarrassed; the negative words are already spoken, and there is truly no way to take them back. Although the worlds themselves are uttered and the sound of the voice has ceased to exist, their impact lives on. Hence, the only thing I can do is to go to the person and apologize. But in the meantime, I may feel quite shy and embarrassed. This shows that even a short instance of anger and irritation creates a great amount of discomfort and disturbance to the one who gets angry, not to mention the harm caused to the person who is the target of that anger. So in reality, these negative states of mind obscure our intelligence and good judgment and thereby case great damage."-- from The Compassionate Life
"What is bodhichitta? In Maitreya's 'Abhisamayalamkara', bodhichitta is described as having two motivating factors: the first is genuine compassion towards all beings, and the second is recognition of the need to attain full enlightenment in order to fulfill the welfare of others. Indeed, to develop the altruistic mind of bodhichitta, it is not enough to have more compassion. Bodhichitta must be based on a compassion which carries a sense of responsibility so that you are willing to take upon yourself the task of helping others."-- from The Dalai Lama's Book of Awakening
"Bodhicitta is the medicine which revives and gives life to every sentient being who even hears of it. When you engage in fulfilling the needs of others, your own needs are fulfilled as a by-product."-- from The Path to Tranquility: Daily Wisdom
"With regard to how long one should spend in a meditative session each day, it is said that at the beginning it is best for sessions to be short and frequent. When a beginner tries to meditate for a long period, a properly qualified meditation will not come and instead one will become tired, with the resultant danger that the meditative stabilization will be faulty. Therefore, it is better to meditate for just ten or fifteen minutes, but to do this many times during the day."-- from The Dalai Lama at Harvard: Lectures on the Buddhist Path to Peace
"According to my experience, it is clear that if each individual makes an effort then he or she can change. Of course, change is not immediate and it takes a lot of time. In order to change and deal with emotions it is crucial to analyze which thoughts are useful, constructive and beneficial to us. I mean mainly those thoughts which make us calmer, more relaxed and which give us peace of mind, versus those thoughts which create uneasiness, fear and frustration."-- from The Dalai Lama's Book of Wisdom
It is the fault of the childish that they are hurt,
For although they do not wish to suffer
They are greatly attached to its causes.
So why should they be angry with others?
Just like the guardians of the hell worlds
And the forest of razor-sharp leaves,
So is this (suffering) produced by my actions;
With whom therefore should I be angry?
In verse 45, Shantideva states that much of our pain and suffering is caused by childish nature, which makes us take small things too seriously and remain indifferent to concerns that have long-term implications and consequences. Therefore, since our pain and suffering are, in fact, of our own doing, why should we hold others responsible and accountable for our experience of pain and suffering?
--from "Healing Anger: The Power of Patience from a Buddhist Perspective" by HH the Dalai Lama, published by Snow Lion Publications.
"Buddhism, of course, asserts the existence of former and later lives. The way this is understood from a Buddhist perspective is that during one's experience in past lives one meets individuals and these meetings place imprints on one's stream of consciousness. The stream of consciousness is then carried over into this lifetime. There is therefore a subliminal affinity."-- from Consciousness at the Crossroads: Conversations with the Dalai Lama on Brain Science and Buddhism
"The presentation of the law of causality is the presentation of a natural fact. It can be explained briefly in this way: if you do positive actions, you will face desirable consequences and if you engage in negative actions, you will have to face undesirable consequences. There is a connection of commensuration between cause and effect. Any action that produces happiness is positive. The distinction between negative and positive can be made only by judging the fruits."-- from Path to Bliss: A Practical Guide to Stages of Meditation
"If you want to change the world, first try to improve and bring about change within yourself. That will help change your family. From there it just gets bigger and bigger. Everything we do has some effect, some impact."-- from The Path to Tranquility: Daily Wisdom
"Non-violence and peace do not mean that we remain indifferent, passive. Problems and contradictions always remain. I believe that as long as human beings remain, as long as human intelligence is present, some kind of conflict, some kind of contradiction always remains. If we look at contradictory or different ideas, they are not necessarily negative. Even if we consider our body, many elements co-exist. These elements oppose one another- they are contradictory. Forces that contradict one another are the basis of further development; things stay more balanced and that is healthy. Therefore, as long as this smart human brain remains, some kind of contradiction is always there. Even within one single person- because of the power of imagination, the power of vision, you get different ideas: in the morning something different, and in the evening something different. There are big differences, contradictions. Sometimes they are so great that, if one lacks the ability to overcome them, even suicide sometimes can occur.
"What we need is a method, a technique, to overcome these contradictions. That is compromise. In today's reality the only way to solve a problem is compromise. Since your interest is very much related with others' interest, you can't sacrifice others' interests. Therefore compromise, 50-50. Realistically speaking, there is no possibility of 100 percent victory for oneself."-- H.H. the Dalai Lama, from The Art of Peace: Nobel Peace Laureates Discuss Human Rights, Conflict, and Reconciliation, published by Snow Lion Publications.
"As our understanding and faith in the Dharma grows, we develop an appreciation for the Sangha, the individuals, both past and present, who have attained such states of freedom from suffering. We can then
conceive of the possibility of a being who has attained total freedom from the negative aspects of mind: a Buddha. And as our recognition of the miserable nature of life develops, so does our appreciation of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha- the Three Jewels in which we seek shelter. This intensifies our quest for their protection." -- from An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life
Question: In order to realize the truth spoken by the Buddha, is it necessary to be in a retreat situation, or can one realize it by doing work of a helping nature in the community? And what is the relative importance of both kinds of situations?
His Holiness: In general, if one can do both, it is best. I think this is the practical way to do it; for the greatest part of the year, we have to live in society, we have to lead a good life. We have to live properly, and be an honest, sincere human being. But for a few weeks, or two months, or three months, to make retreat, to forget other worldly business and to concentrate solely on one's practice, I think this is the very best way. If, however, someone has a special vocation for the eremitic life, if someone has a talent for living and practicing in isolation and can make a special effort to achieve good results, then of course it is a different question. Then it may be worth-while to live in complete isolation and to put all of one's energies toward practicing. But this is the exception and quite rare. I think that among one million people, there may be one or two with this type of talent or vocation.-- from Answers: Discussions with Western Buddhists
"[An] important factor is your determination. You should not imagine that all these developments can take place within a few days or a few years; they may even take several eons, so determination is evidently vital. If you consider yourself a Buddhist and want to really practice Buddha Dharma, then right from the start you must make up your mind to do so until the end, regardless of whether it takes millions or billions of eons. After all, what is the meaning of our life? In itself, there is no intrinsic meaning. However, if we use life in a positive way, then even the days and the months and the eons can become meaningful. On the other hand, if you just fritter your life away aimlessly then even one day feels too long. You will find that once you have a firm determination and a clear objective, then time is not important."-- from The Dalai Lama's Book of Awakening
"All living beings, starting from insects, want happiness and not suffering. However, we are only one, whereas others are infinite in number. Thus, it can be clearly decided that others gaining happiness is more important that just yourself alone."-- from The Path to Tranquility: Daily Wisdom
"There is no sense in being attached to this lifetime. No matter how long we live, which can be at most around one hundred years, eventually we must die, losing this valuable human life; further, it is indefinite when that will be- it could be any time. This life will disintegrate, and no matter how much prosperity we have, it will not help. No amount of wealth can buy an extension on life, and no matter how much money we have accumulated and have in the bank, even if we are millionaires, on the day of our death none of it can help; we have to leave it all. In this respect, the death of a millionaire and the death of a wild animal are alike. Though resources are necessary to life, they are certainly not a final object of attainment. Also, in spite of material wealth and progress, many types of suffering persist just by the fact that we have human life, bringing unhappiness in many different ways, back to back."-- from Kindness, Clarity, and Insight
"If our own and others' welfare were totally unrelated and independent of one another, we could make a case for neglecting others' welfare. But that is not the case. I am always related to others and heavily dependent on them, no matter what my level of spiritual development: while I am unenlightened, while I am on the path, and also once I have achieved enlightenment. If we reflect along these lines, the importance of working for the benefit of others becomes naturally apparent."-- from The Compassionate Life
"It has been found that those children who grow up in homes where there is love and affection have a healthier physical development and study better at school. Conversely, those who lack human affection have more difficulty in developing physically and mentally. These children also find it difficult to show affection when they grow up, which is such a great tragedy."-- from The Dalai Lama's Book of Love and Compassion
"For as long as space endures, and for as long as living beings remain, until then may I too abide to dispel the misery of the world."-- from The Path to Tranquility: Daily Wisdom
"The way of beneficially transforming the mind is as follows. First we must think about the disadvantages of bad states of consciousness, identifying them from our own personal experience. Then we must recognize the good states of consciousness. If familiarity with them is developed through thinking again and again about their advantages and about their supporting validators, then the various types of good states of consciousness will become stronger. This occurs through the force of familiarity and through these good states of consciousness having valid foundations and beings qualities dependent on the mind [and thus capable of limitless development]. Then, it is natural that the defective states of consciousness will decrease in strength. Thereby, in time, sure signs of goodness will appear in the mind."-- from The Buddhism of Tibet
"According to the Madhyamika school, every subject or phenomenon has two qualities: its conventional quality and its ultimate quality. In other words, it has a temporary quality and a lasting, real or permanent one. These two qualities are inevitably present in one object, and have some entity. When exponents of the mind-only or Cittamatra school explain the Two Truths, they start by explaining the three characteristics or signs and base their explanation on the Two Truths on that.
"The purpose of explaining the Two Truths is that we are basically confused and ignorant about reality. In order to identify that ignorance and eradicate that confusion, one has to know the real nature of phenomena. Thus, the Two Truths play an important role in understanding reality"-- from Live in a Better Way: Reflections on Truth, Love and Happiness
"What is the Great Vehicle? What is the mode of procedure of the Bodhisattva path? We begin with the topic of the altruistic intention to achieve enlightenment in which one values others more than oneself. The Great Vehicle path requires the vast motivation of a Bodhisattva, who, not seeking just his or her welfare, takes on the burden of bringing about the welfare of all sentient beings. When a person generate this attitude, they enter within the Great Vehicle, and as long as it has not been generated, one cannot be counted among those of the Great Vehicle. This attitude really has great power; it, of course, is helpful for people practicing religion, but it also is helpful for those who are just concerned with the affairs of this lifetime. The root of happiness is altruism- the wish to be of service to others."-- from The Dalai Lama at Harvard
"Inner development comes step by step. You may think, "Today my inner calmness, my mental peace, is very small," but still, if you compare, if you look five, ten, or fifteen years back, and think "What was my way of thinking then? How much inner peace did I have then and what is it today?"- comparing it with what it was then, you can realize that there is some progress, there is some value. This is how you should compare- not with today's feeling and yesterday's feeling, last week, last month, or not even last year, but five years ago. Then you can realize what improvement has occurred internally. Progress comes by maintaining constant effort in daily practice."-- from The Dalai Lama: A Policy of Kindness
"It is sad that throughout history there have been instances of struggle and hatred among the followers of different religions. It would be good if these were all things in the past that would never happen again. The practitioners of different religions definitely could come to agree together. At present there are, in general, the two factions of those who do and those who do not engage in religious practice; it is therefore important that practitioners be unified without basis. This is not be done with a sense of hatred [for those who do not practise]. Not only will unity help practitioners, but also its very purpose should be to achieve temporary and lasting help and happiness for non-practitioners as well. It would serve as a method for removing their ignorance, which obscures what should be adopted and what should be discarded, and would set them on a path towards ultimate happiness. I wish to offer my hopes and prayers that all religions unite to achieve this purpose."-- from The Buddhism of Tibet
"Within the body there are billions of different particles. Similarly, there are many different thoughts and a variety of states of mind. It is wise to take a close look into the world of your mind and to make the distinction between beneficial and harmful states of mind. Once you can recognize the value of good states of mind, you can increase or foster them."-- from The Dalai Lama's Book of Wisdom
"Nothing is more important than guarding the mind. Let us constantly keep watch over the wild elephant of the mind, curbing it with mindfulness and vigilance. This is how one can avoid being influenced by different external conditions. But even in retreat in a very secluded place, if the mind is not kept under control, it will wander all over the place. Even when completely alone, we can have an enormous amount of negative emotions."-- from The Path to Tranquility: Daily Wisdom
"Although it is difficult to pinpoint the physical base or location of awareness, it is perhaps the most precious thing concealed within our brains. And it is something that the individual alone can feel and experience. Each of us cherishes it highly, yet it is private."-- from Consciousness at the Crossroads: Conversations with the Dalai Lama on Brain Science and Buddhism
"It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible. From this, happiness in both the short term and the long term for both yourself and others will come."-- Kindness, Clarity, and Insight
"When unfortunate things happen in our lives there are two possible results. One possibility is mental unrest, anxiety, fear, doubt, frustration and eventually depression, and, in the worst case, even suicide. That's one way. The other possibility is that because of that tragic experience you become more realistic, you become closer to reality. With the power of investigation, the tragic experience may make you stronger and increase your self-confidence and self-reliance. The unfortunate event can be source of inner strength."-- from The Dalai Lama's Book of Wisdom
"An issue which is very dear to my vision of the future is global demilitarization. This may sound idealistic to many people. I am aware that implementing it requires a step-by-step approach that will entail a process of rethinking in policy and public education. The first step toward this goal is an international ban on the arms trade and an expansion of demilitarized zones in all parts of the world. Recent progress on dismantling nuclear arsenals and nuclear test bans represent an encouraging and significant beginning."-- from The Path to Tranquility: Daily Wisdom
"According to Buddhist theory, there are some things that belong to the subtle consciousness, or subtle mind, that are independent from the body, from the brain. There is no assertion in Buddhism that there is a 'thing' called a soul or a 'thing' called consciousness, some 'thing' that exists independently of the brain. There is no such 'thing' existing independently of the brain or being dependent upon the brain. But rather, consciousness is understood as a multifaceted matrix of events. Some of them are utterly dependent of the brain, and at the other end of the spectrum, some of them are completely independent of the brain. There is no thing that is the mind or the soul."-- from Consciousness at the Crossroads: Conversations with the Dalai Lama on Brain Science and Buddhism
"Cyclic existence means bondage, and liberation means freedom from this bondage. ...[T]he causes of cyclic existence are contaminated actions and afflictions. If the roots of the afflictions are eliminated and if new actions are not 'accumulated', since there are no affiliations to activate the predispositions of contaminated actions persisting from the past, the causes of cyclic existence have been eliminated. Then there is freedom from bondage. Some say that as long as one still has mental physical aggregates wrought by former contaminated actions and afflictions, one has a nirvana with remainder. When these no longer remain, there is a nirvana without remainder. 'Without remainder' means that there is no remainder of mental and physical aggregates wrought by contaminated actions and afflictions, but the continuum of consciousness and the continuum of uncontaminated mental and physical aggregates still exist."-- from The Buddhism of Tibet
"When approaching a technique like the Buddhist training of the mind, we must understand and appreciate the complexity of the task we are facing. Buddhist scriptures mention eighty-four thousand types of negative and destructive thoughts, which have eighty-four thousand corresponding approaches or antidotes. It is important not to have the unrealistic expectation that somehow, somewhere, we will find a single magic key that will help us eradicate all of these negativities. We need to apply many different methods over a long period of time in order to bring lasting results. Therefore, we need great determination and patience. It is wrong to expect that once you start Dharma practice, you'll become enlightened within a short period of time, perhaps in one week. This is unrealistic."-- from The Compassionate Life
"So from the Buddhist viewpoint, in our daily life we are sometimes too sensitive toward minor things. At the same time, toward other major problems that can create long-term consequences, we are not so sensitive. Because of this, we find in the scriptures that ordinary people like ourselves are described as childlike or childish. In fact, the term 'jhipa' (Tib. 'byis pa'), or childish, is used in different ways: sometimes it is used in terms of age, which is the conventional usage; sometimes it is used for ordinary sentient beings, as opposed to the Arya beings, the superior beings. Then sometimes it is used to described people who are concerned only with affairs of this life and have no interest or regard for the affairs of their future life, or life after death. So, the tendency of our childish nature is to take small things too seriously and get easily offended, whereas when we are confronted with situations which have long-term consequences, we tend to take things less seriously."--from Healing Anger: The Power of Patience from a Buddhist Perspective
"One great question underlies our experience, whether we think about it or not: what is the purpose of life? From the moment of birth every human being wants happiness and does not want suffering. Neither social conditioning nor education nor ideology affects this. From the very core of our being, we simply desire contentment. Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness."-- from The Path to Tranquility: Daily Wisdom
"THE TRUE ENEMY
The fundamental philosophical principle of Buddhism is that all our suffering comes about as a result of an undisciplined mind, and this untamed mind itself comes about because of ignorance and negative emotions. For the Buddhist practitioner then, regardless of whether he or she follows the approach of the Fundamental Vehicle, Mahayana or Vajrayana, negative emotions are always the true enemy, a factor that has to be overcome and eliminated. And it is only by applying methods for training the mind that these negative emotions can be dispelled and eliminated. This is why in Buddhist writings and teachings we find such an extensive explanation of the mind and its different processes and functions. Since these negative emotions are states of mind, the method or technique for overcoming them must be developed from within. There is no alternative. They cannot be removed by some external technique, like a surgical operation."-- from Dzogchen: The Heart Essence of the Great Perfection
"Judging by our own experiences in this life and those of others, it is very obvious that consciousness is a phenomenon susceptible to change and transformation. Due to the force of bad companionship and different conditions, people change for the worse, becoming very aggressive. Likewise we see human beings changing for the better, becoming more gentle, kind, and so forth. This is an indication that an impermanent phenomenon is changeable, and therefore is subject to transformation."-- from Path to Bliss: A Practical Guide to Stages of Meditation
"When the days become longer and there is more sunshine, the grass becomes fresh and, consequently, we feel very happy. On the other hand, in autumn, one leaf falls down and another leaf falls down. The beautiful plants become as if dead and we do not feel very happy. Why? I think it is because deep down our human nature likes construction, and does not like destruction. Naturally, every action which is destructive is against human nature. Constructiveness is the human way. Therefore, I think that in terms of basic human feeling, violence is not good. Non-violence is the only way."-- from The Dalai Lama, A Policy of Kindness
"Consciousness will always be present, though a particular consciousness may cease. For example, the particular tactile consciousness that is present within this human body will cease when the body comes to an end. Likewise, consciousnesses that are influenced by ignorance, by anger or by attachment, these too will cease. But the basic, ultimate, innermost subtle consciousness will always remain. It has no beginning, and it will have not end."-- from Answers: Discussions with Western Buddhists
"One of the characteristics of karmic theory is that there is a definite, commensurate relationship between cause and effect. There is no way that negative actions or unwholesome deeds can result in joy and happiness. Joy and happiness, by definition, are the results or fruits of wholesome actions. So from that point of view, it is possible for us to admire not so much the immediate action, but the real causes of joy."-- from The Path to Tranquility: Daily Wisdom
"When I was in Tibet I had little information, through books or from personal contact, about the nature and value of other traditions. Since I've become a refugee, I have had more opportunity to have closer contact with other traditions, mainly through individuals, and I have gained a much deeper understanding of their value. As a result, my attitude now is that each one is a valid religion. Of course, even from the philosophical viewpoint, I still believe that Buddhist philosophy is more sophisticated, that it has more variety or is more vast, but all other religions still have tremendous benefits or great potential. So on both bases, I think my attitude towards other religions is greatly changed. Today, wherever I go and whenever I meet someone who follows a different religion, I deeply admire their practice and I very sincerely respect their tradition."-- from The Dalai Lama's Book of Love & Compassion
"The foundation for practicing the seven-point cause and effect method is cultivating a mind of equanimity. Without this foundation you will not be able to have an impartial altruistic view, because without equanimity you will always have partiality towards your relatives and friends. Realize that you should not have prejudice, hatred, or desire towards enemies, friends, or neutral persons, thus lay a very firm foundation of equanimity."-- from Path to Bliss: A Practical Guide to Stages of Meditation
"The most important thing is practice in daily life; then you can know gradually the true value of religion. Doctrine is not meant for mere knowledge, but for the improvement of our minds. In order to do that, it must be part of our life. If you put religious doctrine in a building and when you leave the building depart from the practices, you cannot gain its value."-- from The Dalai Lama, A Policy of Kindness
"Though not physical, our states of mind also come about by causes and conditions, much the way things in the physical world do. It is therefore important to develop familiarity with the mechanics of causation. The substantial cause of our present state of mind is the previous moment of mind. Thus, each moment of consciousness serves as the substantial cause of our subsequent awareness. The stimuli experienced by us, visual forms we enjoy or memories we a react to, are the cooperative conditions that give our state of mind its character. As with matter, by controlling the conditions, we affect the product: our mind. Meditation should be a skillful method of doing just this, applying particular conditions to our minds in order to bring about the desired effect, a more virtuous mind."-- from An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life
"In the Buddhist teachings on altruism and compassion, certain expressions are used such as "Disregard your own well-being and cherish the well-being of others." Such exhortations may sound intimidating, but it is important to understand these statements regarding the practice of voluntarily sharing someone else's pain and suffering in their proper context. Fundamentally, the basis on which you can build a sense of caring for others is the capacity to love yourself."-- from The Compassionate Life
"As far as your personal requirements are concerned, the ideal is to have fewer involvements, fewer obligations, and fewer affairs, business or whatever. However, so far as the interest of the larger community is concerned, you must have as many involvements as possible and as many activities as possible."-- from The Path to Tranquility: Daily Wisdom
"We often speak of the external enemy. For example, in my own case, our Chinese brothers and sisters are destroying Tibetan rights and, in that way, more suffering and anxiety develops. But no matter how forceful this is, it cannot destroy the supreme source of my happiness, which is my calmness of mind. This is something an external enemy cannot destroy. Our country can be invaded, our possessions can be destroyed, our friends can be killed, but these are secondary for our mental happiness. The ultimate source of my mental happiness is my peace of mind. Nothing can destroy this except my own anger."-- from The Dalai Lama's Book of Wisdom
"THE UNUSUAL ATTITUDE
Your cultivation of love and great compassion should not be left in a state of mere imagination or wish alone; rather, a sense of responsibility, a genuine intention to engage in the task of relieving sentient beings of their sufferings and providing them with happiness, should be developed. It is important for a practitioner to work for and take upon himself or herself the responsibility of fulfilling this intention. The stronger your cultivation of compassion is, the more committed you will feel to taking this responsibility. Because of their ignorance, sentient beings do not know the right methods by which they can fulfill their aims. It is the responsibility of those who are equipped with this knowledge to fulfill the intention of working for their benefit."-- Path to Bliss: A Practical Guide to Stages of Meditation
"For people who have the problem of self-hatred or self-loathing, for the time being it is advisable that they not think seriously about the suffering nature of existence or the underlying unsatisfactory nature of existence. Rather they should concentrate more on the positive aspects of existence, such as appreciating the potentials that lie within oneself as a human being and the opportunities that one's existence as a human being affords. In the traditional teaching, one speaks about all the qualities of a fully endowed human existence. By reflecting upon these opportunities and potentials, one will be able to increase one's sense of worth and confidence."--from Healing Anger: The Power of Patience from a Buddhist Perspective
"As we analyze our mental experiences, we recognize that the powerful emotions we possess (such as desire, hatred, and anger) tend not to bring us very profound or long-lasting happiness. Fulfilled desire may provide a sense of temporary satisfaction; however, the pleasure we experience upon acquiring a new car or home, for example, is usually short-lived. When we indulge our desires, they tend to increase in intensity and multiply in number. We become more demanding and less content, finding it more difficult to satisfy our needs. In the Buddhist view, hatred, anger, and desire are afflictive emotions, which simply means they tend to cause us discomfort. The discomfort arises from the mental unease that follows the expression of these emotions. A constant state of mental unsettledness can even cause us physical harm."-- from An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life
"Buddhism does not accept a theory of God, or a creator. According to Buddhism, one's own actions are the creator, ultimately. Some people say that, from a certain angle, Buddhism is not a religion but rather a science of mind. Religion has much involvement with faith. Sometimes it seems that there is quite a distance between a way of thinking based on faith and one entirely based on experiment, remaining skeptical. Unless you find something through investigation, you do not want to accept it as fact. From one viewpoint, Buddhism is a religion, from another viewpoint Buddhism is a science of mind and not a religion. Buddhism can be a bridge between these two sides. Therefore, with this conviction I try to have closer ties with scientists, mainly in the fields of cosmology, psychology, neurobiology and physics. In these fields there are insights to share, and to a certain extent we can work together."-- from The Dalai Lama: A Policy of Kindness
"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."-- from The Path to Tranquility: Daily Wisdom.
"One of the best human qualities is our intelligence, which enables us to judge what is wholesome and what is unwholesome, what is beneficial and what is harmful. Negative thoughts, such as anger and strong attachment, destroy this special human quality; this is indeed very sad. When anger or attachment dominates the mind, a person becomes almost crazed, and I am certain that nobody wishes to be crazy. Under the power of anger or attachment we commit all kinds of harmful acts- often having far-reaching and destructive consequences. A person gripped by such states of mind and emotion is like a blind person, who cannot see where he is going. Yet we neglect to challenge these negative thoughts and emotions that lead us nearly to insanity. On the contrary, we often nurture and reinforce them! By doing this we are, in fact, making ourselves prey to their destructive power. When you reflect along these lines, you will realize that our true enemy is not outside ourselves."-- from The Compassionate Life
"I think that every human being has an innate sense of "I". We cannot explain why that feeling is there, but it is. Along with it comes a desire for happiness and a wish to overcome suffering. This is quite justified: we have a natural right to achieve as much happiness as possible, and we also have the right to overcome suffering. The whole of human history has developed on the basis of this feeling. In fact it is not limited to human beings; from the Buddhist point of view, even the tiniest insect has this feeling and, according to its capacity, is trying to gain some happiness and avoid unhappy situations."-- from The Dalai Lama's Book of Love P Compassion
"There are two types of prayer. I think prayer is, for the most part, simply reminders in your daily practice. So, the verses look like prayers, but are actually reminders of how to speak, how to deal with other problems, other people, things like that in daily life. For example, in my own daily practice, prayer, if I am leisurely, takes about four hours. Quite long. For the most part, I think my practice is reviewing: compassion, forgiveness, and, of course, shunyata. Then, in my case, the tantric practices including visualization of death and rebirth. In my daily practice, the deity mandala, deity yoga, and the visualization of death, rebirth, and intermediate state is done eight times. So, eight times death is eight times rebirth. I am supposed to be preparing for my death. When actual death comes, whether I will succeed or not, still, I don't know.
"Then, some portion of prayer is to appeal to Buddha. Although we do not consider Buddha as a Creator, at the same time we consider Buddha as a higher being who purified himself. So he has special energy, infinite energy or power. In certain ways, then, in this type of prayer, the appeal to Buddha can be seen as similar to the appeal to God as the Creator."-- from Healing Anger: The Power of Patience from a Buddhist Perspective
"Three qualities enable people to understand the teachings: objectivity, which means an open mind; intelligence, which is the critical faculty to discern the real meaning by checking the teachings of Buddha; and interest and committment, which means enthusiasm."-- from The Path to Tranquility: Daily Wisdom
"Meditation is a 'familiarization' of the mind with an object of meditation. In terms of how the mind is familiarized with the object, there are many types of meditation. In one type, the mind is generated into the entity of a particular type of consciousness, as in meditating compassion or meditating wisdom. In such meditation you are seeking to generate your own mind into a compassionate consciousness or a wisdom consciousness- compassion and wisdom not being the object on which you are meditating, but that entity into which you are seeking to transform your consciousness through a process of familiarization."-- from Kindness, Clarity, and Insight
"Just as we should cultivate more gentle and peaceful relations with our fellow human beings, we should also extend that same kind of attitude towards the natural environment. Morally speaking, we should be concerned for our whole environment.
"This, however, is not just a question of morality or ethics, but also a question of our own survival. For this generation and for future generations, the environment is very important. If we exploit the environment in extreme ways, we may receive some benefit today, but in the long run, we will suffer, as will our future generations. When the environment changes, the climatic condition also changes. When the climate changes dramatically, the economy and many other things change. Our physical health will be greatly affected. Again, conservation is not merely a question of morality, but a question of our own survival."-- His Holiness the Dalai Lama, from The Dalai Lama, A Policy of Kindness
"As soon as we realize the disparity between how we perceive things and how things and events actually exist, it prompts us to see through the deception, illusions, and misconceptions of this fundamental ignorance. This allows us, eventually, to release our minds from the influence of ignorance, and from the grip of conceptual thought processes. And this in turn makes it possible for the nature of mind to be released from the influence of negative emotions and delusions, and so attain true cessation of suffering."-- from Dzogchen: The Heart Essence of the Great Perfection
"An affectionate disposition not only makes the mind more peaceful and calm, but it affects our body in a positive way too. On the other hand, hatred, jealousy and fear upset our peace of mind, make us agitated and affect our body adversely. Even our body needs peace of mind and is not suited to agitation. This shows that an appreciation for peace of mind is in our blood."-- from The Dalai Lama's Book of Love and Compassion
"Human potential is the same for all. Your feeling, "I am of no value", is wrong. Absolutely wrong. You are deceiving yourself. We all have the power of thought- so what are you lacking? If you have willpower, then you can change anything. It is usually said that you are your own master."-- from The Path to Tranquility: Daily Wisdom
"Our practice of the Dharma should be a continual effort to attain a state beyond suffering. It should not simply be a moral activity whereby we avoid negative ways and engage in positive ones. In our practice of the Dharma, we seek to transcend the situation in which we all find ourselves: victims of our own mental afflictions- such as attachment, hatred, pride, greed, and so forth- are mental states that cause us to behave in ways that bring about all of our unhappiness and suffering. While working to achieve inner peace and happiness, it is helpful to think of them as our inner demons, for like demons, they can haunt us, causing nothing but misery. That state beyond such negative emotions and thoughts, beyond all sorrow, is called nirvana."- HH the Dalai Lama, from An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life
"According to Buddhism, there is a commensurate relationship between cause and effect where pain and pleasure are concerned. The immediate cause is karma. Karma means action. Tomorrow's events depend very much on today's actions, this year's events on last year's, while this century's events are linked with those of the previous centuries. The actions of previous generations affect the lives of the generations that follow. This is also a kin of karma. However, there is a difference between actions carried out by a group of people or sentient beings jointly, and actions carried out by single person. In individual cases, the actions of the earlier part of one's life have an effect on the latter part of one's life.-- from Live in a Better Way: Reflections on Truth, Love and Happiness
"You should rejoice that you have obtained such a body and should decide never to waste its potential. If the effort is made on your part, you will be able to attain great achievements. Many masters of the past, India and Tibetan masters of all the great traditions, achieved their high realizations on the basis of the human form. Regarded as a basis, the human body that you posess, and the bodies of the great beings, have no difference between them. Think that, like the great masters who achieved high realizations on the basis of this precious human body and achieved the completely enlightened state, you also will work for the achievement of the omniscient state on the basis of this present human existence. You have obtained this great opportunity; if you do not take the initiative right now, when will you? It is now or never. That is how you should reflect."-- from Path to Bliss: A Practical Guide to Stages of Meditation
"Sometimes we feel that one individual's action is very insignificant. Then we think, of course, that effects should come from channeling or from a unifying movement. But the movement of the society, community or group of people means joining individuals. Society means a collection of individuals, so that initiative must come from individuals. Unless each individual develops a sense of responsibility, the whole community cannot move. So therefore, it is very essential that we should not feel that individual effort is meaningless- you should not feel that way. We should make an effort."-- from The Dalai Lama's Book of Love and Compassion
"Politicians need religion even more than a hermit in retreat. If a hermit acts out of bad motivation, he harms no one but himself. But if someone who can directly influence the whole of society acts with bad motivation, then a great number of people will be adversely affected."-- from The Path to Tranquility: Daily Wisdom
"The Buddhist teachings repeatedly indicate that we must control ourselves, but nowadays some people say that when on generates a mind of desire or hatred, one should not hold it in but instead should let it out, display it. I feel that, for instance, in cases of depression that are due to trauma, it indeed is very helpful to express openly one's feelings, but with consciousnesses such as desire and hatred, if you express them as soon as they are generated, the expression does not clear them away; they will be produced again and again.-- The Dalai Lama at Harvard: Lectures on the Buddhist Path to Peace
"The mind's own basic nature is ultimately neutral. It can be influenced by negative as well as by positive emotions. Take, for instance, those who have a short tempter. When I was young I was quite short-tempered. However, the mood never lasted for twenty-four hours. If negative emotions are in the very nature of our mind, then as long as the mind is functioning the anger must remain. That, however is not the case. Similarly, positive emotions are also not in the nature of the mind. The mind is something neutral, reflecting all sorts of different experiences or phenomena."-- His Holiness the Dalai Lama, from Live in a Better Way: Reflections on Truth, Love and Happiness
"I find that because of modern technological evolution and our global economy, and as a result of the great increase in population, our world has greatly changed: it has become much smaller. However, our perceptions have not evolved at the same pace; we continue to cling to old national demarcations and the old feelings of 'us' and 'them'.
"War seems to be part of the history of humanity. As we look at the situation of our planet in the past, countries, regions and even villages were economically independent of one another. Under those circumstances, the destruction of our enemy might have been a victory for us. There was a a relevance to violence and war. However, today we are so interdependent that the concept of war has become out dated. When we face problems or disagreements today, we have to arrive at solutions through dialogue. Dialogue is the only appropriate method. One-sided victory is no longer relevant. We must work to resolve conflicts in a spirit of reconciliation and always keep in mind the interests of others. We cannot destroy our neighbors! We cannot ignore their interests! Doing so would ultimately cause us to suffer. I therefore think that the concept of violence is now unsuitable. Nonviolence is the appropriate method."-- from An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life
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