The 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, Tenzin Gyatso, is the highest spiritual leader of Tibet. He was born on July 6, 1935. In 1959, he sought refuge in India, and calls himself the “Son of India.”
As he turns 87 years old, here are 10 inspirational thoughts of His Holiness:
- Leaders, whatever field they work in, have a strong impact on people’s lives and on how the world develops. Thus the leaders must be compassionate, selfless and mindful.
2. “Happiness” means mainly a sense of deep satisfaction. Irrespective of the hardships or the physical sensations, the mental level of satisfaction is more important. For attaining happiness, one must be compassionate, for ‘the more compassionate our mind is, the better our brain functions’.
3. In a society which has many religions it is very important to have harmony and respect amongst the different religions and their practitioners. We must distinguish between belief and respect. Belief refers to total faith, which you must have in your own religion. At the same time, you should have respect for all other religions.
4. People must take interest in planting various kind of trees and flowers as a beneficial service to not oneself but also other living creatures. Planation around monasteries, schools, offices, hospitals, factories, restaurants, hotels and residences, on both sides of thoroughfares must be promoted and in order to protect the growth of whatever has been planted in the best way, people should advise their children not to harm them.
5. ‘Whether we like it or not, we have been born on this earth as part of one great family. Rich or poor, educated or uneducated belonging to one nation, ideology or another, ultimately each of us just a human being like everyone else. Furthermore, each of us has the same right to pursue happiness and avoid suffering. When you recognize that all beings are equal in this respect, you automatically feel empathy and closeness for them. Out of this, in turn, comes a genuine sense of universal responsibility; the wish to actively help others overcome their problems.’
6. ‘To pursue growth properly, we need to renew our commitment to human values in many fields. Political life, of course, requires an ethical foundation, but science and religion, as well, should be pursued from a moral basis.’
7. Practicing altruism is the real source of compromise and cooperation; merely recognizing our need for harmony is not enough. Whether a conflict lies in the field of politics, business or religion, an altruistic approach is frequently the sole means of resolving it.
8. The purpose of religion is not to build beautiful churches, or temples, but to cultivate positive human qualities such as tolerance, generosity and love. Every world religion, no matter what its philosophical view, is founded first and foremost on the precept that we must reduce our selfishness and serve others.
9. There is an intimate connection between democratic values and the fundamental values of human goodness. Where there is democracy there is a greater possibility for the citizens of the country to express their basic human qualities, and where these basic human qualities prevail, there is also a greater scope for strengthening democracy. Most importantly, democracy is also the most effective basis for ensuring world peace.
10. Peace and freedom cannot be ensured as long as fundamental human rights are violated. Similarly, there cannot be peace and stability as long as there is oppression and suppression.