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.

„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...

„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.“

—  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.

„Bodhicitta is the medicine which revives and gives life to every sentient being who even hears of it.“

—  Tenzin Gyatso

The Path to Tranquility: Daily Wisdom (1998) edited by Renuka Singh
Context: 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.

„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.

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„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.

„On my part, I remain committed to contribute my efforts for the welfare of all human beings, and in particular the poor and the weak to the best of my ability without any distinction based on national boundaries.“

—  Tenzin Gyatso

Letter to Deng Xiaoping (1981)
Context: We must improve the relationship between China and Tibet as well as between Tibetans in and outside Tibet. With truth and equality as our foundation, we must try to develop friendship between Tibetans and Chinese through better understanding in the future. The time has come to apply our common wisdom in a spirit of tolerance and broadmindedness to achieve genuine happiness for the Tibetan people with a sense of urgency.
On my part, I remain committed to contribute my efforts for the welfare of all human beings, and in particular the poor and the weak to the best of my ability without any distinction based on national boundaries.

„If there are sound reasons or bases for the points you demand, then there is no need for violence.“

—  Tenzin Gyatso

"The Nobel Evening Address" p. 115.
Context: If there are sound reasons or bases for the points you demand, then there is no need for 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.

„The root of happiness is altruism — the wish to be of service to others.“

—  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.

„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.

„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.

„I believe that in the 20th century, humanity has learned from many, many experiences. Some positive, and many negative.“

—  Tenzin Gyatso

Interview in The New York Times (28 November 1993).
Context: I believe that in the 20th century, humanity has learned from many, many experiences. Some positive, and many negative. What misery, what destruction! The greatest number of human beings were killed in the two world wars of this century. But human nature is such that when we face a tremendous critical situation, the human mind can wake up and find some other alternative. That is a human capacity.

„From the moment of birth every human being wants happiness and freedom and wants to avoid suffering. In this we are all the same; and the more we care for the happiness of others the greater our own sense of each other becomes.“

—  Tenzin Gyatso

Context: From the moment of birth every human being wants happiness and freedom and wants to avoid suffering. In this we are all the same; and the more we care for the happiness of others the greater our own sense of each other becomes. Many of our problems are created by ourselves based on divisions due to ideology, religion, race, resources, economic status or other factors. The time has come to think on a deeper, more human level and appreciate and respect our sameness as human beings. And to have a respect for endangered cultures that share these principles. We are at the dawn of an age in which many people feel that extreme political concepts should cease to dominate human affairs. We should use this opportunity to replace them with universal human and spiritual values and ensure that these values become the fiber of the global family that is emerging. It is not possible to find peace with anger, hatred, jealousy or greed. At every level of society, familial, tribal, national and international, the key to a happier and more peaceful and successful world is the growth of compassion. We do not necessarily need to become religious, nor even believe in an ideology. We need only to develop our good human qualities and know that love and compassion are the most essential concepts for human survival. So long as human beings live and suffer, the only world open to our present knowledge, the brotherhood of man will seem an unattainable principle. In order for us to achieve real lasting peace among one another, the effort to realize that noblest and most satisfactory moral value must be occupation of every individual intelligence.

The Compassionate Life (2001) Ch. 3 "Global Compassion".

„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.

„I believe all suffering is caused by ignorance.“

—  Tenzin Gyatso

Nobel acceptance speech (1989)
Context: I believe all suffering is caused by ignorance. People inflict pain on others in the selfish pursuit of their happiness or satisfaction. Yet true happiness comes from a sense of inner peace and contentment, which in turn must be achieved through the cultivation of altruism, of love and compassion and elimination of ignorance, selfishness and greed.
The problems we face today, violent conflicts, destruction of nature, poverty, hunger, and so on, are human-created problems which can be resolved through human effort, understanding and the development of a sense of brotherhood and sisterhood. We need to cultivate a universal responsibility for one another and the planet we share. Although I have found my own Buddhist religion helpful in generating love and compassion, even for those we consider our enemies, I am convinced that everyone can develop a good heart and a sense of universal responsibility with or without religion.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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