15 Dalai Lama Quotes That Will Make You Think Deeply About Happiness, Suffering, and the Purpose of Life.
The Dalai Lama has been a source of inspiration for millions of people and has had a huge impact across the globe. His message is simple: Live a compassionate life and act with kindness towards ALL living beings – happiness will follow. And happiness, in his opinion, is the purpose of life.
But wouldn’t the pursuit of happiness for one’s self be a selfish way to live?
Not according to the Dalai Lama. One’s own personal happiness is directly related to the happiness of others. In fact, according to Howard Cutler M.D., co-author of The Art of Happiness with the Dalai Lama, “There is an inextricable link between one’s personal happiness and kindness, compassion, and caring for others. And this is a two-way-street: increased happiness leads to greater compassion, and increased compassion leads to greater happiness. In other words, studies have found not only that happier people tend to be more caring and more willing to reach out and help others, but that by deliberately cultivating greater kindness and compassion, a person will experience increased happiness.”
…And this is where the Eastern traditions and the Western Sciences come to agreement. Stuff is not the answer. Changing your mindset is the answer. Once your basic needs for survival are met, your mind becomes a platform of infinite possibility that can reveal for you a world of beauty and plenty or a world of scarcity and hate. Choose to live a compassionate life and act with kindness towards ALL living beings and happiness will follow for you too.
Below, take a more in depth look at the Dalai Lama’s beliefs towards happiness, suffering, and the purpose of life. Pause at any of the below quotes that make you nod your head or create for you a moment of curiosity and then sit with that thought for a few minutes. Let your mind absorb these tid-bits of wisdom and leave any of your thoughts in the comment section below!
“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.” ~ Dalai Lama
“Our ultimate aim in seeking more wealth is a sense of satisfaction, of happiness. But the very basis of seeking more is a feeling of not having enough, a feeling of discontentment. That feeling of discontentment, of wanting more and more and more, doesn’t arise from the inherent desirability of the objects we are seeking but rather from our own mental state.” ~ Dalai Lama
“Today there are societies that are very developed materially, yet among them there are many people who are not very happy. Just underneath the beautiful surface of affluence there is a kind of mental unrest, leading to frustration, unnecessary quarrels, reliance on drugs or alcohol, and in the worst case, suicide. So there is no guarantee that wealth alone can give you the joy or fulfillment that you are seeking.” ~ Dalai Lama
“Once [our] basic needs are met (food, clothing, shelter, etc), the message is clear: we don’t need more money, we don’t need greater success or fame, we don’t need the perfect body or even the perfect mate – right now, at this very moment, we have a mind, which is all the basic equipment we need to achieve complete happiness.” ~ Dalai Lama
“Unlike physical progress, which is subject to natural restrictions, the qualities of the mind can be developed limitlessly.” ~ Dalai Lama
“Our moment-to-moment happiness is largely determined by our outlook. In fact, whether we are feeling happy or unhappy at any given moment often has very little to do with our absolute conditions but, rather it is a function of how we perceive our situation, how satisfied we are with what we have.” ~ Dalai Lama
“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.” ~ Dalai Lama
“When you think everything is someone else’s fault, you will suffer a lot. When you realize that everything springs only from yourself, you will learn both peace and joy.” ~ Dalai Lama
“There is one aspect to our experience of suffering that is of vital importance. When you are aware of your pain and suffering, it helps you to develop your capacity for empathy, the capacity that allows you to relate to other people’s feelings and suffering. This enhances your capacity for compassion towards others. So as an aid in helping us connect with others, it can be seen as having value.” ~ Dalai Lama
“Hard times build determination and inner strength. Through them we can also come to appreciate the uselessness of anger. Instead of getting angry nurture a deep caring and respect for troublemakers because by creating such trying circumstances they provide us with invaluable opportunities to practice tolerance and patience.” ~ Dalai Lama
“I have found that the greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion. The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being. Cultivating a close, warmhearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. It is the ultimate source of success in life.”~ Dalai Lama
“Motivation is so important. In fact all human action can be seen in terms of movement, and the mover behind all actions is one’s motivation. If you develop a pure and sincere motivation, if you are motivated by a wish to help on the basis of kindness, compassion, and respect, then you can carry on any kind of work, in any field, and function more effectively with less fear or worry, not being afraid of what others think or whether you ultimately will be successful in reaching your goal. Even if you fail to achieve your goal, you can feel good about having made the effort. But with a bad motivation, people can praise you or you can achieve goals, but you still will not be happy.” ~ Dalai Lama
“There is no guarantee that tomorrow at this time we will be here. But still we are working for that purely on the basis of hope. So, we need to make the best use of our time. I believe that the proper utilization of time is this: if you can, serve other people, other sentient beings. If not, at least refrain from harming them. I think that is the whole basis of my philosophy.” ~ Dalai Lama
“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” ~ Dalai Lama
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” ~ Dalai Lama
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The Art of Happiness
Book Overview: Through conversations, stories, and meditations, the Dalai Lama shows us how to defeat day-to-day anxiety, insecurity, anger, and discouragement. Together with Dr. Howard Cutler, he explores many facets of everyday life, including relationships, loss, and the pursuit of wealth, to illustrate how to ride through life’s obstacles on a deep and abiding source of inner peace. Based on 2,500 years of Buddhist meditations mixed with a healthy dose of common sense, The Art of Happiness is a book that crosses the boundaries of traditions to help readers with difficulties common to all human beings. After being in print for ten years, this book has touched countless lives and uplifted spirits around the world.
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