Despite living a life of tremendous obstacles, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, has consistently preached about living a life full of compassion, kindness, and understanding. Although the Dalai Lama came from humble beginnings, he was thrust into greatness when at only the age of two he was recognized as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama. He quickly rose to become one of the greatest leaders of the Buddhist religion.
Though he has been living in exile from his home in Tibet since 1960, the Dalai Lama has never stopped fighting to peacefully resolve the conflict between Tibet and China. In 1989, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent struggle to free Tibet. Since the ’70s the Dalai Lama has traveled around the globe to meet with world leaders and to spread his message of peace, love, and hope. Today, he is recognized around the world as a brilliant scholar and a man of peace.
Here are 10 life lessons from the Dalai Lama on how to live more compassionately and peacefully.
Lesson 1: Do Good No Matter Your Circumstances
“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”
Lending a helping hand to those in need is something we can all strive to do regardless of our own situation. Helping others is truly rewarding not only for yourself, but also for the people you are reaching out to. If we can’t help, at the very least we should practice kindness. It’s never okay to actively be cruel to other people. When you spread this kind of hate, it only makes the world worse.
Lesson 2: Never Lose Hope
“I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the Universe.”
Although it’s hard to be optimistic when you’re going through hard times, it’s better for your well-being to try and see the good in everything. No matter what you’re going through, remember not to be too angry with the world. There are many lessons to be learned through hardship and though we never want to go through bad experiences, we have to remember that they’re a normal part of life.
Lesson 3: Don’t Judge Other People
“To be aware of a single shortcoming in oneself is more useful than to be aware of a thousand in someone else.”
Unfortunately, it’s easy for many of us to pass judgment on others and see everything that is wrong with them. What is difficult, is critically analyzing ourselves and seeing our own flaws. We all have to stop criticizing other people because it’s not only cruel, it’s unhelpful. It’s better to try and see what our own shortcomings are so that we may work hard to change and become better people.
Lesson 4: Make Your Own Happiness
“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.”
Many people fall into the trap of searching for happiness wherever they can. What they fail to realize is that happiness is a state of mind and it’s directly influenced by the things that you do. You can’t sit around waiting for good things to come your way. You have to take chances and go out there and actively do things that make you happy.
Lesson 5: Get Enough Sleep
“Sleep is the best meditation.”
With today’s hectic life style, there seems to be an epidemic of sleeplessness. Many people aren’t getting an adequate amount of rest every night and this is causing many problems. When we don’t have a well-rested mind, we are prone to making mistakes and bad moods. Never underestimate the power of a good night’s rest as it’s a time to reset your mind for the next day. Sleeping well helps to reinvigorate our spirits and helps put our minds at ease.
Lesson 6: Always Be Honest
“A lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity.”
It’s easy for people to get caught up in telling lies. Though we may tell white lies as a way of avoiding hurting someone else, at the end of the day we’ve still been dishonest. Getting in to the habit of not telling the truth and being upfront about something is no good for your relationships. Lying makes it difficult for other people to trust you and believe you when you are actually telling the truth.
Lesson 7: Silence Can Be Powerful
“Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something, and sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent.”
Everyone knows that words have power, but many people probably don’t realize that not saying something also evokes a powerful message. It’s important to remember to choose our words carefully and assess what’s appropriate for each situation. Although silence makes many people uncomfortable, sometimes it’s best to keep quiet. Remember that “still waters run deep” and that some of the wisest people know when to fall silent.
Lesson 8: Remember To Appreciate What You Already Have
“When you are discontent, you always want more, more, more. Your desire can never be satisfied. But when you practice contentment, you can say to yourself, ‘Oh yes – I already have everything that I really need.’”
Practicing contentment is perhaps one of the hardest things for modern people to do. We live in a capitalist consumer driven culture and we are taught that what we have is never enough. Every day, we are bombarded with messages that we have to seek out the next big thing or we’ll never be happy. Although it may be difficult, we all have to remember that living like this only leads to temporary satisfaction. We all have to take the time and learn to appreciate what we already have.
Lesson 9: Believe In Yourself
“With realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world.”
When thinking about the injustices in the world, many people often ask how they as an individual can make a difference. A common refrain is “how can one person do anything to change things”. It’s difficult to believe that you have the power and abilities to do good in this world, but we all can do good things on a small scale every day. You have to remember to believe in yourself and that you can do things to change the world for the better.
Lesson 10: Cultivate An Open Mind
“Look at situations from all angles, and you will become more open.”
One of the best things we can do to become better people, is to be more open minded. We all need to remember to see things from every side. We can’t just jump to conclusions and make snap decisions without hearing every side of the situation. It’s important to reserve judgment and to really take the time to consider every aspect of a situation. The world can find peace if everyone was more tolerant.