10 Timeless Lessons From Dalai Lama

“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.”

- Dalai Lama

Dalai LamaWhat makes this man so interesting? Why do people around the world care about a simple Buddhist monk who heads an unrecognized government-in-exile and an unrecognized nation of 6 million Tibetans? Maybe because he is also a diplomat, a Nobel laureate, an apostle of nonviolence, an advocate of universal responsibility and a living icon of what he calls “our common human religion of kindness.”

As Robert A.F. Thurman wrote: “In this climate of manifold desperations, the Dalai Lama emerges from another civilization, from a higher altitude, as a living example of calm in emergency, patient endurance in agony, humorous intelligence in confusion and dauntless optimism in the face of imminent doom. Through his teachings and writings, he serves and inspires Buddhists worldwide, as well as followers of other faiths.” And here are ten of his timeless lessons:

1. Dalai Lama said: “Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.”
Why he is right: People who consistently perform at a higher level have certain things in common. They are committed to their success, have passion for what they do, have clear goals and are uniformly more comfortable taking risks than most. Their ability to take intelligent risks is an important ingredient in their success and a huge determinant in anybody’s level of achievement. I don’t know what rewards you will enjoy by your willingness to take thoughtful risks, but I know for sure that those rewards will not occur unless you are willing to take those risks. And wouldn’t it be a shame to forgo some wonderful, if unknown, rewards just because you just can’t seem to find your way out of your comfort zone?

2. Dalai Lama said: “When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.”
Why he is right: Mistakes are part of the human condition. Alexander Pope once said “To make mistakes is human”. Clearly, some things never change. Try as you might, you eventually will mess up. How you respond to your error determines just how smart you are. Look for the silver lining in the cloud, even if it’s just an opportunity to learn how not to make the same mistake again (and again). Even better, think about what you may have done well and build on that element. You will have plenty of chances to learn from your inevitable mistakes.

3. Dalai Lama said: “When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.”
Why he is right: This is counterintuitive to your wishful thinking to wait and see if the mistake somehow corrects itself. It won’t. If you do not act quickly, and put off tending to the problem, it will only make you feel more stressed, and the problem could get bigger with the passing of time.

4. Dalai Lama said: “Spend some time alone every day.”
Why he is right: Give yourself one hour on certain days to do an activity you truly enjoy. Work on a hobby, do some exercise, go for a walk, or read a book. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you enjoy it. These breaks will help you renew your energy and concentration. Or even try doing nothing, try sitting in a quiet room thinking about nothing for at least 20 minutes, twice a day. It sounds simple, even boring, but transcendental meditation isn’t just for mantra-chanting yogis or herbal-tea-drinking hippies. Maxed-out professionals are turning to daily meditation to lower blood pressure, prolong concentration, and crank up creative juices.

5. Dalai Lama said: “Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.”
Why he is right: When you engage another person in conversation, always think before talking. I know your mind has many random thoughts, but there is no need to expose them to the world. Look at good politicians, sales people, and diplomats. They are masters at saying enough to stay out of a conflict, but somehow they still manage to get a particular point across. So, before you open your mouth, just turn over your thought and try to inject it with a trace of reason, and if it doesn’t work, just shut up!

6. Dalai Lama said: “Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.”
Why he is right: A wise person once said to me that if I wanted to learn something, I should teach it. Stephen Covey, one of my favorite gurus, also suggests that the way to internalize an idea, habit or principle is to share it with someone else. Advice is usually overrated. Before you learn what others know, you need to learn what you know. Find someone whom you can mentor on the subject that you want to master. You will learn quickly and indelibly. There are also an incredible number of opportunities for information sharing over the Internet. What if you don’t feel that you are a writer? Well, we all need to work on our communication skills, so writing on a blog like this will give you the practice you need to learn how and increase your skills. So try it! I’m sure you’ll like it!

7. Dalai Lama said: “Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.”
Why he is right: These are the things that make us the people we are, they define what is important to you, they determine how you spend your time. Values determine what you accomplish with your time – the results you get. They are the source of your motivation, so don’t be afraid to communicate them. And never let go of your values.

8. Dalai Lama said: “Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.”
Why he is right: Ever heard the phrase “Be careful what you wish for – you may get it”? You may call it luck, maybe fate or something, but yes, sometimes when you don’t get what you want you are lucky because it turned out that you got something better anyways.

9. Dalai Lama said: “A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.”
Why he is right: When life’s storms set you adrift in an ocean of worries, you know you can always find an anchor in those closest to you, in your family. You feel rejuvenated when you’ve made a connection with someone who knows you well. It’s just that you’re particularly good at drawing energy and inspiration from those around you, from those who really care about you. So next time life makes you feel pulled in too many directions, set aside some time to restore yourself by spending time with your family. We often get so wrapped up in the importance of money or other things in life that we sometimes forget about the most important little things.

10. Dalai Lama said: “Be gentle with the earth.”
Why he is right: Our earth is fragile too, and deserves our gentleness. In this century, man seems to finally realise just how fragile our Mother Earth is – and about time too! Remember the words of Chief Seattle, “This we know: All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life. He is merely a strand on it. Whatever he does to the web he does to himself.”

The Dalai Lama is the world’s greatest living exemplar of nonviolence and compassion, accessible to followers of all faiths. As one of the greatest people of the 20th century, he offers an inspiring vision of the likelihood that humanity will realize its highest potential in the 21st. Listen to his teachings.

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20 Comments

  • Ryan says:

    Wicked, exactly what i needed this morning. Thanks man. It’s stuff like this that keeps me watching, and inspiring me.

    Keep up the great work, and thanks again!!

    Ry

  • dinhm says:

    Very insightful

    The Ten Commandments of Mindfulness
    http://www.buddhismtoday.com/viet/phatphap/10dieutamniem.htm

  • Ririan says:

    Ryan, dinhm, Thank you for your kind words guys!

  • Jason says:

    Well, it’s good that you’re bringing this to the fore. It is the finest of humanitarian doctrine .

    I’m less certain that we should sit in judgment of his comments and declare “Why he is it right”.

    Do you think we’re ready to rate his views ?

  • Foxdie says:

    He would probably be the first to tell you that he is just a man, Jason.

  • Peter Martensen says:

    I like what this man says, but I don’t consider him one of the “greatest” men of the20th century. He hasn’t accomplished anything, just visited places and said inspiringly nice things.

  • Rose Sylvia says:

    Peter, Peter, He “hasn’t accomplished anything”? Being a role model and influencing humanity to collectively reach their greatest potential is nothing? Your views reflect the typical Western philosophy of “doing” versus the Eastern philosophy of “being”.

    For those interested in the difference I highly recommend Dr. Robert Anthony’s CDs on the Secrets of Deliberate Creation.

  • Michael says:

    I think the point is learn to be holistic, take your past, your present and your future as one moment, one directive that has connectivity. Live as if it all matters, not just some of it or when you feel it has benefit…live as if every moment is the foundation for the next 100 years of all living factors, not just your own. There is room for differences of method and experience,but there is not room for intolerance or hate

  • viji says:

    Ririan, they are golden words. Your interpretation and explanations are too good. Nice post indeed. Enjoyed it. We need to remember it always i feel. Tks. Viji

  • A great way to close a long, challenging day.

  • Sara says:

    Great work as always Ririan. You always put a fresh spin on good advice. Concise and useful. I agree a little risk is really healthy – studies show it actually makes you live longer. And I’d add that in addition to being gentle with the earth, be gentle with yourself. It is easy to live gently with others and the earth if you first can learn to be gentle towards yourself. Sometimes we are just too hard on ourselves! (PS – looking forward to your next post!)

  • eugene says:

    I think one critique I have is that at the top of the page, it is not specific on WHICH Dalai Lama said it. There was more than one in history. Otherwise, excellent listing.

  • Grant says:

    these words are very useful for us to get through the painful life. Well done.

  • Ziling Tonkor says:

    Eugene, it was the 14th and present Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, I am an ardent fan of him and his teachings and discourses. Thanks for your comment.

  • newdolma says:

    ” He hasn’t accomplished anything, just visited places and said inspiringly nice things..”
    Peter, who else have achieved to protect and guide his people, who are in exile, or about beeing relocated, who are in prison, whose children are crossing the Himalayas in order to have a just education, whose religion is under control, and so on…
    who else have succeed in keepin it all peaceful?
    PEACE is the key.
    Your idea of goal is something it wont be achieved without our help and real engagement.

  • bijayalaxmi says:

    really valuable. i m a fan of D.L

  • John says:

    He’s a wonderful man, no doubt about it, but I’ve heard and read all these things hundreds of times before, many of them in ancient Greek philosophies. I guess this fascination with him is because he is bringing these simple truths to people that never searched them out. Reaching a new audience with old truths and ideas. For that reason alone he is very valuable to humanity. I hope people will learn from the ideas he brings to them, and they will be pragmatic with the truth. May love and forgiveness triumph in the end

  • becky says:

    Thank You

  • dan llanto says:

    he is an amazing person; his majesty and holiness helped us through our struggles- he can not be wrong because his teaching is based on compaasion and kindness. for me, he is the reencarnation of moses and christ in a different world.

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