Quotes by Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama

There have actually been fourteen people to date who have held the prestigious title “Dalai Lama”.

However, despite this, the most commonly used Dalai Lama quotes are those from the current “guru” - Tenzin Gyatso. Although, officially retired, Gyatso has been the Dalai Lama since 1950 and will continue to be until the relevant people see a sign indicating who his replacement will be.

“Who provides the opportunity to cultivate patience? Not our friends. Our enemies give us the most crucial chances to grow”
~ Dalai Lama #14 (Tenzin Gyatso)


Meaning “Ocean Teacher”, the role of Dalai Lama is not given out lightly, or to just anyone.

The individual chosen to take this coveted title is said to be “the chosen one” and is thought, by Buddhists, to be a reincarnation of past Dalai Lamas.

High members of the monastery and Government are tasked with waiting for the sign that will indicate who will become the next Dalai Lama.

Many of the Dalai Lama quotes from history indicate a distinct change in role over the last century or so, for instance, the eleventh Dalai Lama was also expected to lead the Tibetan Government, whereas the current Lama is considered to be a representative of good – the 14th Dalai Lama quotes his role as being a “Protester of peace, not of war”.

Whatever the exact ins and outs of the role are, there is no doubting that the Dalai Lama is hugely honored, not just by his fellow country folk but also by people, leaders and officials from all over the world.

In 1935 Tenzin Gyatso was believed to be the “Chosen One” and became Tibet's 14th Dalai Lama.

However, rather than going straight to one of the two palaces allocated for his use, he immediately went into hiding in India. The Dalai Lama quotes “very real threats” to his life as being the reason for him going into hiding. The threat wasn't temporary either, as the Dalai Lama has spent his entire reign in exile.

Despite his need to keep his permanent residence under wraps, Tenzin Gyatso is possibly the most influential Dalai Lama to date. According to Dalai Lama his role includes promotion of basic human values, the fostering of inter-religion harmony and generally looking after the people of Tibet by focusing on the survival of their religion, culture and overall identity.

The great man himself says he manages to achieve all this by way of International visits, public speaking events and publishing various pieces in a variety of publications.

“ Self-discipline is crucial to a simpler,more contented life”
~ Dalai Lama #14 ~

“Love is the absence of judgment.”

~ Dalai Lama #14 ~

“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”
~ Dalai Lama #14 ~

“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.”
~ Dalai Lama #14 ~

“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.”

~ Dalai Lama #14 ~

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

~ Dalai Lama #14 ~

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

~ Dalai Lama #14 ~

“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?”

~ Dalai Lama #14 ~

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

~ Dalai Lama #14 ~

“Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend - or a meaningful day.”

~ Dalai Lama #14 ~

Work, Work, Work

Tibet's 14th and current Dalai Lama,Tenzin Gyatoso is not only the country's longest surviving head monk, he is also the most talented in terms of education and experience.

Dalai Lama quotes show he is a wise man, but what many people don't know is he throws himself into his role whole-heartedly.

As well as being a charismatic public speaker, the Dalai Lama is a teacher and guru teaching people the importance of love and compassion, as well as the fundamental laws of Tibetan Buddhism.

His work takes him all over the world, and despite living in exile for his entire reign, he is one of the most photographed, recorded and video-taped public figures in the world. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20MnLcOL7Ks). He isn't afraid to address seemingly “hot potato” issues, regularly giving Dalai Lama quotes and talks on world peace, war, love, sexuality and gender-related topics.

In 1959, the Dalai Lama started a process, by appealing to the United Nations, that would eventually lead to China having to respect the human rights of Tibet and its country folk. This led to more control being taken from China and given to Tibet, something which was a great achievement to the Tibetan people.

Unfortunately, by the time 2008 arrived, while relations with China were good, violence in Tibet from protesters left the Dalai Lama exasperated.
Dalai Lama quotes at the time include “I give up” and “It is time for the people of Tibet to decide exactly what they want”. It would seem that the man who had worked so tirelessly for Tibet's freedom and for every individual Tibetans basic human rights had finally lost his usefulness.

The Dalai Lama has written numerous books and is also an honorary professor at the Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. He is also an honorary doctor of letters at Minnesota University. Quotes by the current Dalai Lama are also used in several book forewards, films, religious sermons and even songs.

“The essence of Buddhism is if you can help others. If not, then at least refrain from hurting others”
Dalai Lama #14

Fans and Critics

Like any high-profile figure, the Dalai Lama has his fans and his critics.

He is worshipped by most Tibetan people and although he hasn't always said things they want to hear, he is considered wise and someone the average Tibetan can trust.

Much of the criticism aimed towards the Dalai Lama is as a result of his outspoken views. For instance, the Dalai Lama quotes the government as being his biggest critic. He did manage to upset both the government and the high order monks at the monastery by insisting that his replacement would be an unknown female from China. This claim was quickly refuted with a spokesman claiming the current Dalai Lama had no say in who would take the coveted position on his death.

The Dalai Lama quotes his liberal way of thinking as being the main reason people are quick to criticise him. As previously mentioned, he is not one to shy away from controversial. His opinion on abortion, which has always been seen as an act of killing in Buddhism, is something else that has earned him criticism from people of his own faith. Dalai Lama quotes on the subject reveal that he believes certain circumstances may warrant an abortion and that rather than form a rock solid opinion, a person should consider the need for abortion on a case-by-case basis.

One of the most controversial speeches given by the Dalai Lama took place in 1993 when he answered the question of a young girl, telling her “shooting someone in self-defence should be permissible – as long as the shot is non-fatal”. His speeches, which have taken place in conferences, schools, seminars and churches all over the world are revered the whole world over.

The Dalai Lama quotes his mission as being “to spread India's message of harmony”. He also wants the 21st century to be one of dialogue and tolerance.

“There is an old Tibetan saying “Wherever you feel at home, you are at home. If your surroundings are pleasant, your at home”
~ Dalai Lama #14

“When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.”

~ Dalai Lama #14 ~

“Man surprised me most about humanity.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.”
~ Dalai Lama #14 ~

“Love and Compassion are the true religions to me. But to develop this, we do not need to believe in any religion.”

~ Dalai Lama #14 ~

“Peace does not mean an absence of conflicts; differences will always be there. Peace means solving these differences through peaceful means; through dialogue, education, knowledge; and through humane ways.”

~ Dalai Lama #14 ~

“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.”

~ Dalai Lama #14 ~

“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.”
~ Dalai Lama #14 ~

The Future

Tenzin Gyatso will be the Dalai Lama until he dies, although his age means he is now officially retired. This means he is no longer as active or present as he once was.

Despite this, he still finds the time to attend Human Rights conferences, seminars and take part in educational services. The Dalai Lama says modern technology is being the main reason his presence is still felt, despite his retirement. An active member of social networking sites, Facebook and Twitter – the Dalai Lama also regularly updates his own website, as well as taking part in podcasts and webcasts.

Books by the Dalai Lama are still printed and regularly sort after and he provides regular commentary for religious services and events across the globe. His interests in Animal Welfare and the Environment have also seen him in the thick of current affairs and world news.

Most recently, the Dalai Lama quotes himself as “having to begrudgingly accept” new Chinese law regarding deforestation in his beloved Tibet. He does admit that he believes the whole law is nothing more than an exercise in official corruption.

The Dalai Lama's eventual successor will certainly have a hard act to follow, as there is no doubt that Tenzin Gyatso is one of the most well-regarded public figure of recent years. Dalai Lama quotes, publications and speeches can be found all over the world, which is sure to keep the 14th Dalai Lama in people's hearts and minds for many years to come.

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