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78 powerful Dalai Lama quotes on life, love and happiness

The Dalai Lama is one of the most inspirational spiritual teachers living today. From the age of 16, he was inducted with enormous responsibility in the face of political issues in Tibet.

Yet despite the pressure, he handled himself in the best possible manner by helping countless numbers of people change their lives for the better.

His philosophy on life is remarkable because it emphasizes compassion and kindness above all other traits. It’s these virtues that lead to a fulfilling and peaceful life, according to the Dalai Lama.

So in times like these where everyone seems so divided, I thought who better to look to than the Dalai Lama for words of wisdom.

Below, I’ve collated some of his most powerful quotes on kindness, love and living a life of purpose.

On hope

“There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.’
No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.”

“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.”

“When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways–either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength.”

On happiness

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.”

“Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek.”

“To be kind, honest and have positive thoughts; to forgive those who harm us and treat everyone as a friend; to help those who are suffering and never to consider ourselves superior to anyone else: even if this advice seems rather simplistic, make the effort of seeing whether by following it you can find greater happiness.”

“Happiness doesn’t always come from a pursuit. Sometimes it comes when we least expect it.”

On why you shouldn’t never give up

“NEVER GIVE UP. No matter what is going on. Never give up. Develop the heart. Too much energy in your country is spent developing the mind instead of the heart. Be compassionate not just to your friends but to everyone. Be compassionate. Work for peace
in your heart and in the world. Work for peace. And I say again. Never give up. No matter what is going on around you. Never give up.” – Dalai Lama

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How the perfect morning routine

“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”

On love and compassion

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”

“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

“I believe compassion to be one of the few things we can practice that will bring immediate and long-term happiness to our lives. I’m not talking about the short-term gratification of pleasures like sex, drugs or gambling (though I’m not knocking them), but something that will bring true and lasting happiness. The kind that sticks.”

“A truly compassionate attitude toward others does not change even if they behave negatively or hurt you.”

“The more you are motivated by Love,
The more Fearless & Free your action will be.”

“We can reject everything else: religion, ideology, all received wisdom. But we cannot escape the necessity of love and compassion….This, then, is my true religion, my simple faith. In this sense, there is no need for temple or church, for mosque or synagogue, no need for complicated philosophy, doctrine or dogma. Our own heart, our own mind, is the temple. The doctrine is compassion. Love for others and respect for their rights and dignity, no matter who or what they are: ultimately these are all we need. So long as we practice these in our daily lives, then no matter if we are learned or unlearned, whether we believe in Buddha or God, or follow some other religion or none at all, as long as we have compassion for others and conduct ourselves with restraint out of a sense of responsibility, there is  no doubt we will be happy.”

“You must not hate those who do wrong or harmful things; but with compassion, you must do what you can to stop them — for they are harming themselves, as well as those who suffer from their actions.”

“Compassion is the wish to see others free from suffering.”

On relationships

“Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.”

On religion

“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”

“This is my simple religion. No need for temples. No need for complicated philosophy. Your own mind, your own heart is the temple. Your philosophy is simple kindness.”

“We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot survive without human affection.”

“Whether you believe in God or not does not matter much, whether you believe in Buddha or not does not matter so much; as a Buddhist, whether you believe in reincarnation or not does not matter so much. You must lead a good life.”

Why worry?

“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”

Don’t judge

“People take different roads seeking fulfilment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.”

On Love

“Love is the absence of judgment.”

Your enemies

“If you can cultivate the right attitude, your enemies are your best spiritual teachers because their presence provides you with the opportunity to enhance and develop tolerance, patience and understanding.”

On world peace

“World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not just mere absence of violence. Peace is, I think, the manifestation of human compassion.”

“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.”

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

We should be more like children

“Look at children. Of course they may quarrel, but generally speaking they do not harbor ill feelings as much or as long as adults do. Most adults have the advantage of education over children, but what is the use of an education if they show a big smile while hiding negative feelings deep inside? Children don’t usually act in such a manner. If they feel angry with someone, they express it, and then it is finished. They can still play with that person the following day.”

(Enjoying this article? Check out our 100 carefully curated quotes about courage.)

On the real you

“There is only one important point you must keep in your mind and let it be your guide. No matter what people call you, you are just who you are. Keep to this truth. You must ask yourself how is it you want to live your life. We live and we die, this is the truth that we can only face alone. No one can help us, not even the Buddha. So consider carefully, what prevents you from living the way you want to live your life?”

“True change is within; leave the outside as it is.”

“Open your arms to change but don’t let go of your values.”

“The more honest you are, the more open, the less fear you will have, because there’s no anxiety about being exposed or revealed to others.”

Don’t think about yourself too much

“If we think only of ourselves, forget about other people, then our minds occupy very small area. Inside that small area, even tiny problem appears very big. But the moment you develop a sense of concern for others, you realize that, just like ourselves, they also want happiness; they also want satisfaction. When you have this sense of concern, your mind automatically widens. At this point, your own problems, even big problems, will not be so significant. The result? Big increase in peace of mind. So, if you think only of yourself, only your own happiness, the result is actually less happiness. You get more anxiety, more fear.”

“If you shift your focus from yourself to others, extend your concern to others, and cultivate the thought of caring for the well being of others, then this will have the immediate effect of opening up your life and helping you to reach out.”

On purpose

“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”

“People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.”

“We are visitors on this planet. We are here for one hundred years at the very most. During that period we must try to do something good, something useful, with our lives. if you contribute to other people’s happiness, you will find the true meaning of life.”

“The creatures that inhabit this earth–be they human beings or animals–are here to contribute, each in its own particular way, to the beauty and prosperity of the world.”

“Sometimes when I meet old friends, it reminds me how quickly time passes. And it makes me wonder if we’ve utilized our time properly or not. Proper utilization of time is so important. While we have this body, and especially this amazing human brain, I think every minute is something precious. Our day-to-day existence is very much alive with hope, although there is no guarantee of our future. There is no guarantee that tomorrow at this time we will be here. But 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.

So, let us reflect what is truly of value in life, what gives meaning to our lives, and set our priorities on the basis of that. The purpose of our life needs to be positive. We weren’t born with the purpose of causing trouble, harming others. For our life to be of value, I think we must develop basic good human qualities—warmth, kindness, compassion. Then our life becomes meaningful and more peaceful—happier.”

“When life becomes too complicated and we feel overwhelmed, it’s often useful just to stand back and remind ourselves of our overall purpose, our overall goal. When faced with a feeling of stagnation and confusion, it may be helpful to take an hour, an afternoon, or even several days to simply reflect on what it is that will truly bring us happiness, and then reset our priorities on the basis of that. This can put our life back in proper context, allow a fresh perspective, and enable us to see which direction to take.”

“I believe that the very purpose of life is to be happy. From the very core of our being, we desire contentment. In my own limited experience I have found that 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 helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the principal source of success in life. Since we are not solely material creatures, it is a mistake to place all our hopes for happiness on external development alone. The key is to develop inner peace.”

On your enemies

“If you can cultivate the right attitude, your enemies are your best spiritual teachers because their presence provides you with the opportunity to enhance and develop tolerance, patience and understanding.”

On suffering

“All suffering is caused by ignorance. People inflict pain on others in the selfish pursuit of their own happiness or satisfaction.”

“It is under the greatest adversity that there exists the greatest potential for doing good, both for oneself and others.”

“Whether our action is wholesome or unwholesome depends on whether that action or deed arises from a disciplined or undisciplined state of mind. It is felt that a disciplined mind leads to happiness and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering, and in fact it is said that bringing about discipline within one’s mind is the essence of the Buddha’s teaching.”

“I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.”

“A disciplined mind leads to happiness, and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering.”

“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.”

“We create most of our suffering, so it should be logical that we also have the ability to create more joy. It simply depends on the attitudes, the perspectives, and the reactions we bring to situations and to our relationships with other people. When it comes to personal happiness there is a lot that we as individuals can do.”

“Pain is inevitable,suffering is optional…we have bigger houses,but smaller families. More conveniences,but less time. We have knowledge,but less judgements; more experts,but more problems ; more medicines but less health.”

“I believe each human being has the potential to change, to transform one’s own attitude, no matter how difficult the situation.”

On good friends

“A good friend who points out mistakes and imperfections and rebukes evil is to be respected as if he reveals the secret of some hidden treasure.”

On knowledge

“Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.”

“Like a lamp, dispelling the darkness of ignorance”

On inner peace

“Inner peace is the key: if you have inner peace, the external problems do not affect your deep sense of peace and tranquility…without this inner peace, no matter how comfortable your life is materially, you may still be worried, disturbed, or unhappy because of circumstances.”

“Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.”

“When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.”

“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.”

On science

“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.”

“From the scientific view, the theory of karma may be a metaphysical assumption — but it is no more so than the assumption that all of life is material and originated out of pure chance”

“Unless the direction of science is guided by a consciously ethical motivation, especially compassion, its effects may fail to bring benefit. They may indeed cause great harm.”

We’re all the same

“Whether one is rich or poor, educated or illiterate, religious or nonbelieving, man or woman, black, white, or brown, we are all the same. Physically, emotionally, and mentally, we are all equal. We all share basic needs for food, shelter, safety, and love. We all aspire to happiness and we all shun suffering. Each of us has hopes, worries, fears, and dreams. Each of us wants the best for our family and loved ones. We all experience pain when we suffer loss and joy when we achieve what we seek. On this fundamental level, religion, ethnicity, culture, and language make no difference.”

“Every single being, even those who are hostile to us, is just as afraid of suffering as we are, and seeks happiness in the same way we do. Every person has the same right as we do to be happy and not to suffer. So let’s take care of others wholeheartedly, of both our friends and our enemies. This is the basis for true compassion.”

On education

“One problem with our current society is that we have an attitude towards education as if it is there to simply make you more clever, make you more ingenious… Even though our society does not emphasize this, the most important use of knowledge and education is to help us understand the importance of engaging in more wholesome actions and bringing about discipline within our minds. The proper utilization of our intelligence and knowledge is to effect changes from within to develop a good heart.”

“If you have only education and knowledge and a lack of the other side, then you may not be a happy person, but a person of mental unrest, of frustration. Not only that, but if you combine these two, your whole life will be a constructive and happy life. And certainly you can make immense benefit for society and the betterment of humanity. That is one of my fundamental beliefs: that a good heart, a warm heart, a compassionate heart, is still teachable.”

On living in the present moment

“You are so anxious about the future that you do not enjoy the present. You therefore do not live in the present or the future. You live as if you are never going to die, and then die having never really lived.”

(To learn more about practical techniques to live in the moment and live a happier life, check out our best-selling eBook on The Art of Mindfulness here)

What surprises the Dalai Lama most about humanity

“The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered “Man! Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

On non-violence

“Non-violence means dialogue, using our language, the human language. Dialogue means compromise; respecting each other’s rights; in the spirit of reconciliation there is a real solution to conflict and disagreement. There is no hundred percent winner, no hundred percent loser—not that way but half-and-half. That is the practical way, the only way.”

“Many people today agree that we need to reduce violence in our
society. If we are truly serious about this, we must deal with the
roots of violence, particularly those that exist within each of us. We
need to embrace ‘inner disarmament,’ reducing our own emotions of
suspicion, hatred and hostility toward our brothers and sisters.”

On the training the mind

“No matter what activity or practice we are pursuing, there isn’t anything that isn’t made easier through constant familiarity and training. Through training, we can change; we can transform ourselves. Within Buddhist practice there are various methods of trying to sustain a calm mind when some disturbing event happens. Through repeated practice of these methods we can get to the point where some disturbance may occur but the negative effects on our mind remain on the surface, like the waves that may ripple on the surface of an ocean but don’t have much effect deep down. And, although my own experience may be very little, I have found this to be true in my own small practice. So, if I receive some tragic news, at that moment I may experience some disturbance within my mind, but it goes very quickly. Or, I may become irritated and develop some anger, but again, it dissipates very quickly. There is no effect on the deeper mind. No hatred. This was achieved through gradual practice; it didn’t happen overnight.’

Certainly not. The Dalai Lama has been engaged in training his mind since he was four years old.”

On how to practice mindfulness

“Generally speaking, our mind is predominantly directed towards external objects. Our attention follows after the sense experiences. It remains at a predominantly sensory and conceptual level. In other words, normally our awareness is directed towards physical sensory experiences and mental concepts. But in this exercise, what you should do is to withdraw your mind inward; don’t let it chase after or pay attention to sensory objects. At the same time, don’t allow it to be so totally withdrawn that there is a kind of dullness or lack of mindfulness. You should maintain a very full state of alertness and mindfulness, and then try to see the natural state of your consciousness—a state in which your consciousness is not afflicted by thoughts of the past, the things that have happened, your memories and remembrances; nor is it afflicted by thoughts of the future, like your future plans, anticipations, fears, and hopes. But rather, try to remain in a natural and neutral state.”

On why you should make the most of life

“Given the scale of life in the cosmos, one human life is no more than a tiny blip. Each one of us is a just visitor to this planet, a guest, who will only stay for a limited time. What greater folly could there be than to spend this short time alone, unhappy or in conflict with our companions? Far better, surely, to use our short time here in living a meaningful life, enriched by our sense of connection with others and being of service to them.”

On our responsibility

“Something is lacking. As one of the seven billion human beings, I believe everyone has the 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.”

On our potential

“Every human being has the same potential. Whatever makes you feel “I am worthless” is wrong. Absolutely wrong. You are deceiving yourself. We all have the power of thought, so what could you possibly be lacking? If you have the willpower, then you can do anything.”

 

 

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Lachlan Brown

Written by Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you to want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

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