“Never dwell on any negative or sad
incidences of the past.
Learn the lesson but forget the incidence!”
Writer and spiritual Guru
Living in the difficult times of the pandemic, we all need a glimmer of sunshine. This writer’s books will provide a smile, joy, and hope for better times soon. The author is revered around the world for his wisdom, spirituality, respect for the environment, love of science, his message of kindness and compassion, and his passionate promotion of world peace.
By now, no doubt, you know who is he, yes, it is His Holiness Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan People and of Tibetan Buddhism. He travels extensively, welcomed in all countries to give talks that are attracting crowds because he is a charismatic and passionate speaker. The Dalai Lama is able to transcend Buddhist teaching to reach people not even connected with any faith. His spiritual insights about daily living bring inner peace, compassion, peace, and justice. His teachings in “The Book of Joy” promise to make you smile and bring you lasting happiness.
HIS HOLINESS THE 14th DALAI LAMA, TENZIN GYATSO
He was born on 6th July 1935 into a farming family, in a small hamlet in Taktser, (Hongya in Chinese), Amdo, in northeastern Tibet, China. His name was Lhamo Thondup. At the age of two, he was recognized and named as the 14th Dalai Lama. The name, originally from Mongolia, means “Ocean”, and Lama originates from Tibetan, which means “the highest principle.” Although only two years old, he was taken from his family to live in the 1000-room Potala Palace in the capital city of Lhasa.
His childhood was spent in splendour but in isolation, being educated to be a spiritual and political leader of Tibet and as a godlike incarnation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion. At the age of 15, he became the ruler of six million people who were at war with the Chinese government, who wanted to annexe Tibet. The war was all-out and desperately unequal. After trying to negotiating for nine years, and fearing the final massacre of his people who would not let him be arrested and taken to China, he escaped one night into exile in India.
To be able to do so, he dressed as a guard, removed his glasses, and not seeing properly, climbed for three weeks over the tops of the nineteen-thousand-feet-high, snow-covered mountains to freedom. The Dalai Lama later explained his stoical behaviour:
“One of my practices comes from an ancient Indian teacher, an eighth-century Buddhist master, Shantideva, who thought that when you experience some tragic situation, think about it. If there’s no way to overcome the tragedy, then there is no use worrying too much. So I practise that.”
The other of Shantideva’s rules of wisdom states:
“If something can be done about the situation. what need is there for dejection? And if nothing can be done about it, what use is there for being dejected?” And I will practise that.
A typical Tibetan breakfast of bread and vegetable dahl
A nourishing Tibetan noodle soup
In case you would like to know, the Dalai Lama likes vegetarian, simple fare; soups, noodles and vegetables, and momos, the famed Tibetan steamed dumplings, home-made bread, some multi-grain, some soft white, a Tibetan rice and yogurt pudding, fruit salad, and ice-cream. Before a meal, there is prayer: “Viewing this meal as a medicine, I shall enjoy it without greed or anger, not out of gluttony nor out of pride, not to fatten myself, but only to nourish the body.”
The renowned Tibetan dumplings, momos
Today, aged 85, he is considered a living Bodhisatta, an emanation of Avalokitesvara. The Dalai Lama is also a leader of the Gelug school, which is the newest school of Tibetan Buddhism.
Taktser in Tibet
The Dalai Lama’s work includes also women’s rights, along with his teaching on Tibetan Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism, and Dalai Lama’s Kalachakra teachings and initiations are international events. The Dalai Lama’s lifelong interest in science and technology goes back to his childhood in Lhasa, Tibet. He would repair watches and clocks, disassemble and reassemble large clocks and motorcars and telescopes. Once, when he was observing the full Moon through his telescope, he realised that it was a lump of rock with many visible craters, and not a heavenly body emitting its own light as he had thought.
The Dalai Lama sees the important common ground between science and Buddhism in having the same approach to challenge dogma on the basis of empirical evidence that comes from observational analysis of phenomena.
He received the Nobel Prize in 1989, and the US Congressional Gold Medal in 2006. Time magazine named the Dalai Lama one of the “children of Mahatma Gandhi and spiritual heir to non-violence.”
He lives in exile in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India. For many years, even decades, Dalai Lama cultivated a friendship with many scientists, especially neuroscientists, to gain insight into the workings of the brain. As he is intensely interested in sciences, many top academics working in quantum physics, cosmology, psychology, and said neurosciences were and are regularly invited, firstly to his Potala Palace, a former British hill station in Lhasa, and now to his retreat in Dharamshala, or he travels to their meetings in Washington DC, USA, or other places in the world. Those meetings and intense discussions resulted in the Dalai Lama founding The Mind and Life Institute to investigate the workings of sciences and Buddhism which while using different methodology is having a similar aim – to investigate nature and reality, cognitive neuroscience, physics, and to publish books (several so far) on those subjects.
Many scientists who met him, remarked how knowledgeable he is, and hungry to know more about the sciences. They liked the way the Dalai Lama greets people: he takes your hand and rubs it gently, he looks into your eyes, feels deeply what you are feeling, and touches his forehead to yours. Whatever feeling is in your heart and reflected on your face, it is mirrored in his.
The Dalai Lama’s view is well known:
“What science finds to be nonexistent, we should all accept as nonexistent, but what science merely does not find is a completely different matter.”
The meetings and dialogue are devoted to comparing the way science is using technology and the way Buddhism is using the human nervous system that is refined by meditation and rigorous mental and emotional training. Some of the dialogues raised the interests of and sponsorship of John Hopkins Medical University and the Georgetown Medical Center. The Institute is situated now in Charlottesville, Virginia. The meetings that are held open to the public attract crowds who listen attentively to the speaker, the Dalai Lama’s every word of wisdom.
In 2016, the dialogue of the Mind and Life Institute took place in San Diego, California, with 1200 attendees from 34 countries. “The notion that science and spirituality are somehow naturally exclusive does a disservice to both,” said one scientist.
“The purpose of spirituality in a secular world is that of a moral compass that tempers the destructive emotions that so often accompany our modern materialism. The more we pursue material improvement, ignoring the contentment that comes of inner growth, the faster ethical values will disappear from our communities. Then we will experience unhappiness in the long run, for when there is no place for justice and honesty in people’s hearts, the weak are first to suffer. And the resentment resulting from such inequity ultimately affects everyone adversely.”
“With the ever-growing impact of science on our lives, religion and spirituality have a greater role to play in reminding us of our humanity. What we must do is balance scientific and material progress with the sense of responsibility that comes of inner development. That is why I believe this dialogue between religion and science is important, for from it may come developments that can be of great benefit to mankind.”
The above quotes are the Dalai Lama’s, and I think that I should give you a few extracts from His Holiness’s several books, many about joy and happiness.
“Mind and heart. Materialistic values cannot give us peace of mind, So we really need to focus on our inner values, our true humanity. Only this way can we have peace of mind — and more peace in our world. A lot of the problems we are facing are our own creation, like war or violence. Unlike a natural disaster, these problems are created by humans ourselves.
I feel there is a big contradiction, there are over seven billion human beings, and nobody wants to have problems or suffering but there are many problems and much suffering, most of our own creation. Why? Something is lacking. As one of the over seven billion human beings, I believe everyone has a responsibility to develop a happier world. We need ultimately, to have a greater concern for others’ well-being. In other words, kindness or compassion, which is lacking now. We must pay more attention to our inner values. We must look inside.”
“In order to develop our mind, we must look at a deeper level. Everyone seeks happiness, joyfulness, but from outside –from money, from power, from big car, from big house. Most people never pay much attention to the ultimate source of a happy life, which is inside, not outside. Even the source of physical health is inside, not outside.”
The Dalai Lama’s Temple, Namgyal Monastery, his personal monastery in Dharamshala
“Personally, I am Buddhist, and I consider faith very important, but at the same time, the reality is that out of over seven billion people, over one billion people on the planet are nonbelievers. So we cannot exclude them. One billion is quite a large number. They are also our human brothers and sisters. They also have the right to become happier human beings and to be good members of the human family. So no one needs to depend on religious faith to educate our inner values”.
The Masrur Rock-Cut Hindu Temples in Dharamshala
“There’s a certain type of relationship that is highly valued. That is a relationship that’s characterized by a deep level of intimacy between two people, having one special person with whom you can share your deepest feelings, fears, and so on. People feel that unless they have a relationship of this kind that there is something missing in their lives. I believe that kind of intimacy can be seen as something very positive. Yes, I think, if someone is deprived of that kind of intimacy then it can lead to problems…”
“Empathy is important not only as a means of enhancing compassion, but I think that generally speaking, when dealing with others on any level, if you are having some difficulties, it is extremely helpful to be able to try to put yourself in the other person’s place and see how you would react to the situation. Even if you have no common experience with the other person or have a very different lifestyle, you can try to do this through imagination. You may need to be slightly creative. This technique involves the capacity to temporarily suspend insisting on your own viewpoint but rather to look from the other person’s perspective, to imagine what would be the situation if you were in his shoes, how you would deal with this. This helps you develop an awareness and respect for another’s feelings, which is an important factor in reducing conflicts and problems with other people. I find that relating to others on that level makes it much easier to exchange and communicate with one another.”
Spiti River, Himachal Pradesh, the Himalayas, a sign of serenity…
I will leave the last word, respectfully, to His Holiness the Dalai Lama:
LOVE IS THE CENTER OF HUMAN LIFE
“Love and compassion are the ultimate sources of human happiness,
and our need for them lies at the very core of our being.”
AS YOU SOW, SO YOU REAP
“Happiness comes from kindness.”
“Happiness cannot come from
hatred or anger.”
LOVE SPRINGS ETERNAL
“The foundation of all spiritual
practice is love.”
“Meditation should form
the basis for action.”
CAUSE AND EFFECT
“One’s own actions create
one’s life situation.”
REAPING THE BENEFITS
“The reason why we seek to behave
in a good manner is that it’s from good
behavior that good fruits are derived.”
GIVE AND TAKE
“By showing concern for other people’s
welfare, sharing other people’s suffering,
and helping other people, ultimately one will
benefit. If one thinks only of oneself and forgets
about others, ultimately one will lose.”
CARING FOR OTHERS
“Most of the good or beneficial
effects that come about in the
world is based on an attitude of
The opposite is also true.”
SELF – IMPORTANCE
“Tolerance and patience with courage
are not signs of failure but signs of victory.
Actually, if you are too important, that’s a real failure.”
THE POWER OF LOVE
“A good heart is both important
and effective in daily life.”
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE
“We need human qualities such as
moral scruples, compassion, and humility.
These qualities are accessible only through
forceful individual development.”
THOUGHTS SHAPE EVENTS
“All things first originate in the mind.
Things and events depend heavily on motivation.”
THE KEY TO SUCCESS
“Determination, with an optimistic attitude,
is the key factor for success.”
All the books below are those on which this post is based.
The quote at the beginning comes from the book by Ashok Wahi. It is a spiritual self-help book. You can find his blog Musings of a Wanderer on WordPress.