Tenzin Gyatso quotes

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Tenzin Gyatso

Birthdate: 6. July 1935
Other names: Tendzin Gyatsho, 14. dalajláma, Tändzin Gjamccho

The 14th Dalai Lama is the current Dalai Lama. Dalai Lamas are important monks of the Gelug school, the newest school of Tibetan Buddhism which was formally headed by the Ganden Tripas. From the time of the 5th Dalai Lama to 1959, the central government of Tibet, the Ganden Phodrang, invested the position of Dalai Lama with temporal duties.

The 14th Dalai Lama was born in Taktser village, Amdo, Tibet and was selected as the tulku of the 13th Dalai Lama in 1937 and formally recognized as the 14th Dalai Lama at a public declaration near the town of Bumchen in 1939. His enthronement ceremony as the Dalai Lama was held in Lhasa on 22 February 1940, and he eventually assumed full temporal duties on 17 November 1950, at the age of 15, after the People's Republic of China's incorporation of Tibet. The Gelug school's government administered an area roughly corresponding to the Tibet Autonomous Region just as the nascent PRC wished to assert control over it.

During the 1959 Tibetan uprising, the Dalai Lama fled to India, where he currently lives as a refugee. The 14th Dalai Lama received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. He has traveled the world and has spoken about the welfare of Tibetans, environment, economics, women's rights, non-violence, interfaith dialogue, physics, astronomy, Buddhism and science, cognitive neuroscience, reproductive health, and sexuality, along with various topics of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhist teachings.

Works

„As a result of more contact with people from other traditions, as time passes I have firmed my conviction that all religions can work together despite fundamental differences in philosophy.“

—  Tenzin Gyatso

"The Nobel Evening Address" p. 115.
Context: As a result of more contact with people from other traditions, as time passes I have firmed my conviction that all religions can work together despite fundamental differences in philosophy. Every religion aims at serving humanity. Therefore, it is possible for the various religions to work together to serve humanity and contribute to world peace. So, during these last few years, at every opportunity I try to develop closer relations with other religions.

„True peace with oneself and with the world around us can only be achieved through the development of mental peace.“

—  Tenzin Gyatso

Nobel lecture (1989)
Context: Peace can only last where human rights are respected, where the people are fed, and where individuals and nations are free. True peace with oneself and with the world around us can only be achieved through the development of mental peace.

„Buddhism does not accept a theory of God, or a creator. According to Buddhism, one's own actions are the creator, ultimately.“

—  Tenzin Gyatso

"The Nobel Evening Address" p. 115.
Context: 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.

„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.“

—  Tenzin Gyatso

The Dalai Lama at Harvard: Lectures on the Buddhist Path to Peace (1988) by Jeffrey Hopkins.
Context: 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.

„I agree with and believe in the Communist ideology which seeks the well being of human beings in general and the proletariat in particular, and in Lenin's policy of the equality of nationalities.“

—  Tenzin Gyatso

Letter to Deng Xiaoping (1981)
Context: I agree with and believe in the Communist ideology which seeks the well being of human beings in general and the proletariat in particular, and in Lenin's policy of the equality of nationalities. Similarly, I was pleased with the discussions I had with Chairman Mao on ideology and the policy towards nationalities.
If that same ideology and policy were implemented it would have brought much admiration and happiness. However, if one is to make a general comment on the developments during the past two decades, there has been a lapse in economic and educational progress, the basis of human happiness. Moreover, on account of the hardships caused by the unbearable disruptions, there has been a loss of trust between the Party and the masses, between the officials and the masses, among the officials themselves, and also among the masses themselves.
By deceiving one another through false assumptions and misrepresentations there has been, in reality, a great lapse and delay in achieving the real goals.

„My confidence in venturing into science lies in my basic belief that as in science so in Buddhism, understanding the nature of reality is pursued by means of critical investigation“

—  Tenzin Gyatso, book The Universe in a Single Atom

The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality (2005).
Context: My confidence in venturing into science lies in my basic belief that as in science so in Buddhism, understanding the nature of reality is pursued by means of critical investigation: if scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims.

„It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible.“

—  Tenzin Gyatso

Kindness, Clarity, and Insight (1984).
Context: 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.

„As we enter the final decade of this century I am optimistic that the ancient values that have sustained mankind are today reaffirming themselves to prepare us for a kinder, happier twenty-first century.“

—  Tenzin Gyatso

Nobel acceptance speech (1989)
Context: As we enter the final decade of this century I am optimistic that the ancient values that have sustained mankind are today reaffirming themselves to prepare us for a kinder, happier twenty-first century.
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.

„Within the body there are billions of different particles. Similarly, there are many different thoughts and a variety of states of mind.“

—  Tenzin Gyatso

The Dalai Lama's Book of Wisdom (2000).
Context: 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.

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„With the ever-growing impact of science on our lives, religion and spirituality have a greater role to play by reminding us of our humanity. There is no contradiction between the two.“

—  Tenzin Gyatso

Nobel acceptance speech (1989)
Context: With the ever-growing impact of science on our lives, religion and spirituality have a greater role to play by reminding us of our humanity. There is no contradiction between the two. Each gives us valuable insights into the other. Both science and the teachings of the Buddha tell us of the fundamental unity of all things. This understanding is crucial if we are to take positive and decisive action on the pressing global concern with the environment. I believe all religions pursue the same goals, that of cultivating human goodness and bringing happiness to all human beings. Though the means might appear different the ends are the same.

„Because we all share this small planet earth, we have to learn to live in harmony and peace with each other and with nature. That is not just a dream, but a necessity.“

—  Tenzin Gyatso

Nobel lecture (1989)
Context: Because we all share this small planet earth, we have to learn to live in harmony and peace with each other and with nature. That is not just a dream, but a necessity. We are dependent on each other in so many ways, that we can no longer live in isolated communities and ignore what is happening outside those communities, and we must share the good fortune that we enjoy.

„Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.“

—  Tenzin Gyatso

"Kindness and Compassion" p. 52
Context: This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.

„To study Buddhism and then use it as a weapon in order to criticize others' theories or ideologies is wrong. The very purpose of religion is to control yourself, not to criticize others.“

—  Tenzin Gyatso

"A Talk to Western Buddhists" p. 87.
Context: To study Buddhism and then use it as a weapon in order to criticize others' theories or ideologies is wrong. The very purpose of religion is to control yourself, not to criticize others. Rather, we must criticize ourselves. How much am I doing about my anger? About my attachment, about my hatred, about my pride, my jealousy? These are the things which we must check in daily life with the knowledge of the Buddhist teachings.

„Human happiness and human satisfaction must ultimately come from within oneself.“

—  Tenzin Gyatso

The Path to Tranquility: Daily Wisdom (1998) edited by Renuka Singh
Context: Human happiness and human satisfaction must ultimately come from within oneself. It is wrong to expect some final satisfaction to come from money or from a computer.

„Inner peace is the key: if you have inner peace, the external problems do not affect your deep sense of peace and tranquility.“

—  Tenzin Gyatso

Nobel lecture (1989)
Context: Inner peace is the key: if you have inner peace, the external problems do not affect your deep sense of peace and tranquility. In that state of mind you can deal with situations with calmness and reason, while keeping your inner happiness. That is very important. Without this inner peace, no matter how comfortable your life is materially, you may still be worried, disturbed or unhappy because of circumstances.

„There is a saying in Tibetan that “at the door of the miserable rich man sleeps the contented beggar.”“

—  Tenzin Gyatso

The point of this saying is not that poverty is a virtue, but that happiness does not come with wealth, but from setting limits to one’s desires, and living within those limits with satisfaction.
In [Rubin, Gary, Your Emotional Fitness: Everything You Need to Know to Live a Life of Abundance, http://books.google.com/books?id=CGqu8-5W7UUC&pg=PA173, April 2013, Balboa Press, 978-1-4525-7059-4, 173–].

„Today, we are truly a global family. What happens in one part of the world may affect us all.“

—  Tenzin Gyatso

Nobel lecture (1989)
Context: Today, we are truly a global family. What happens in one part of the world may affect us all. This, of course, is not only true of the negative things that happen, but is equally valid for the positive developments. We not only know what happens elsewhere, thanks to the extraordinary modern communications technology. We are also directly affected by events that occur far away.

„I feel that the essence of spiritual practice is your attitude toward others.“

—  Tenzin Gyatso

Answering the question "Your Holiness, there are many people in the West who want to combine their spiritual practice with social and political responsibility. Do you feel that these two aspects are connected?" in an interview with Catherine Ingram, Dharamsala, India (2 November 1988).
Context: I feel that the essence of spiritual practice is your attitude toward others. When you have a pure, sincere motivation, then you have right attitude toward others based on kindness, compassion, love and respect. Practice brings the clear realisation of the oneness of all human beings and the importance of others benefiting by your actions.

„Compassion without attachment is possible.“

—  Tenzin Gyatso

The Compassionate Life (2001), Ch. 2 "How to Develop Compassion" p. 21
Context: Compassion without attachment is possible. Therefore, we need to clarify the distinctions between compassion and attachment. True compassion is not just an emotional response but a firm commitment founded on reason. Therefore, a truly compassionate attitude towards others does not change even if they behave negatively. Genuine compassion is based not on our own projections and expectations, but rather on the needs of the other...

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