August 2011 Ethical Hero – His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Tenzin Gyatso is the fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet. He is both head of state (in exile) and the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. He is admired and esteemed worldwide as a man who has championed policies of nonviolence. His consistent compassionate nonviolence, even in the face of great aggression, led to his receiving the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1989. What follows is his response to the questionnaire that I asked of others; the responses which became the basis of my book, What Do You Stand For?

“From my Buddhist viewpoint the mind plays a very dominant role. Actions and events depend heavily on motivation. A real sense of appreciation of humanity, compassion and love, are the key points. If we develop a good heart, then whether the field is science, agriculture or politics, since motivation is so very important, the result will be more beneficial. With proper motivation these activities can help humanity; without it they go the other way. This is why compassionate thought is so very important for humankind. Although it is difficult to bring about the inner change that gives rise to it, it is absolutely worthwhile to try.”

In a follow-up, I asked the Dalai Lama if he would be willing to submit a personal story of compassion. Due to the many commitments and travel schedule of His Holiness, he asked his translator and assistant, the Venerable Lhakdor, to provide the following:

“If we are to improve this world, then the main source of peace and harmony is the practice of compassion and love in the day-to-day life of individuals. The practice of compassion and love is neither a luxurious pursuit of those who have nothing else to worry about nor a sign of weakness. These are the qualities without which our whole existence would be threatened or in chaos.

“His Holiness has studied, in depth, about the benefits of positive human emotions like compassion and loving-kindness and has personally practiced these qualities in his dealings with other sentient [conscious] beings. Even when he was a child he saved the lives of hundreds and thousands of animals that were on their way to the butcher. In India he advised people to refrain from doing those types of business that would harm the lives of other sentient beings like running ammunition factories or arms trade, etc.

“Based on this, His Holiness has developed a genuine conviction in the effectiveness of these positive human qualities in solving human problems, be they individual or social. He is also encouraged by the tremendous amount of resilience shown by many Tibetans in Chinese prisons through the practice of compassion and non-hatred even to their oppressors. Despite harsh treatment and long years of suffering they managed to maintain inner tranquility.

“One prisoner came up with the statement, ‘My time in a Chinese prison proved to be the best time for my spiritual practice.’ Another monk from Namgyal Monastery was in a Chinese prison for seventeen years. When he managed to leave Tibet and come to India, he met with His Holiness. One day, he mentioned to His Holiness that while he was in prison he faced danger on several occasions. His Holiness assumed that his life was in danger. But [the monk] continued, ‘I was in danger of losing compassion towards the Chinese.’

“His Holiness has always advised people that the struggle for the Tibetan cause is a just struggle, and therefore we should adopt only just and nonviolent methods to achieve what we want. Also, for the long-term benefit of both the Chinese and the Tibetans, the Tibetan issue should be resolved through the spirit of harmony, reconciliation and nonviolence. Violence leads to counter-violence, and, therefore, through violence one cannot solve the problem for good. He tries to solve the problem through dialogue and not confrontation.

“Wherever he goes, His Holiness’s main focus is how to develop compassion in the hearts of individuals and harmony among various religions, nations and communities.”

Tenzin Gyatso is the fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet. He is both head of state (in exile) and the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. He is admired and esteemed worldwide as a man who has championed policies of nonviolence. His consistent compassionate nonviolence, even in the face of great aggression, led to his receiving the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1989. What follows is his response to the questionnaire that I asked of others; the responses which became the basis of my book, What Do You Stand For?

“From my Buddhist viewpoint the mind plays a very dominant role. Actions and events depend heavily on motivation. A real sense of appreciation of humanity, compassion and love, are the key points. If we develop a good heart, then whether the field is science, agriculture or politics, since motivation is so very important, the result will be more beneficial. With proper motivation these activities can help humanity; without it they go the other way. This is why compassionate thought is so very important for humankind. Although it is difficult to bring about the inner change that gives rise to it, it is absolutely worthwhile to try.”

In a follow-up, I asked the Dalai Lama if he would be willing to submit a personal story of compassion. Due to the many commitments and travel schedule of His Holiness, he asked his translator and assistant, the Venerable Lhakdor, to provide the following:

“If we are to improve this world, then the main source of peace and harmony is the practice of compassion and love in the day-to-day life of individuals. The practice of compassion and love is neither a luxurious pursuit of those who have nothing else to worry about nor a sign of weakness. These are the qualities without which our whole existence would be threatened or in chaos.

“His Holiness has studied, in depth, about the benefits of positive human emotions like compassion and loving-kindness and has personally practiced these qualities in his dealings with other sentient [conscious] beings. Even when he was a child he saved the lives of hundreds and thousands of animals that were on their way to the butcher. In India he advised people to refrain from doing those types of business that would harm the lives of other sentient beings like running ammunition factories or arms trade, etc.

“Based on this, His Holiness has developed a genuine conviction in the effectiveness of these positive human qualities in solving human problems, be they individual or social. He is also encouraged by the tremendous amount of resilience shown by many Tibetans in Chinese prisons through the practice of compassion and non-hatred even to their oppressors. Despite harsh treatment and long years of suffering they managed to maintain inner tranquility.

“One prisoner came up with the statement, ‘My time in a Chinese prison proved to be the best time for my spiritual practice.’ Another monk from Namgyal Monastery was in a Chinese prison for seventeen years. When he managed to leave Tibet and come to India, he met with His Holiness. One day, he mentioned to His Holiness that while he was in prison he faced danger on several occasions. His Holiness assumed that his life was in danger. But [the monk] continued, ‘I was in danger of losing compassion towards the Chinese.’

“His Holiness has always advised people that the struggle for the Tibetan cause is a just struggle, and therefore we should adopt only just and nonviolent methods to achieve what we want. Also, for the long-term benefit of both the Chinese and the Tibetans, the Tibetan issue should be resolved through the spirit of harmony, reconciliation and nonviolence. Violence leads to counter-violence, and, therefore, through violence one cannot solve the problem for good. He tries to solve the problem through dialogue and not confrontation.

“Wherever he goes, His Holiness’s main focus is how to develop compassion in the hearts of individuals and harmony among various religions, nations and communities.”

Tenzin Gyatso is the fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet. He is both head of state (in exile) and the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. He is admired and esteemed worldwide as a man who has championed policies of nonviolence. His consistent compassionate nonviolence, even in the face of great aggression, led to his receiving the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1989. What follows is his response to the questionnaire that I asked of others; the responses which became the basis of my book, What Do You Stand For?

“From my Buddhist viewpoint the mind plays a very dominant role. Actions and events depend heavily on motivation. A real sense of appreciation of humanity, compassion and love, are the key points. If we develop a good heart, then whether the field is science, agriculture or politics, since motivation is so very important, the result will be more beneficial. With proper motivation these activities can help humanity; without it they go the other way. This is why compassionate thought is so very important for humankind. Although it is difficult to bring about the inner change that gives rise to it, it is absolutely worthwhile to try.”

In a follow-up, I asked the Dalai Lama if he would be willing to submit a personal story of compassion. Due to the many commitments and travel schedule of His Holiness, he asked his translator and assistant, the Venerable Lhakdor, to provide the following:

“If we are to improve this world, then the main source of peace and harmony is the practice of compassion and love in the day-to-day life of individuals. The practice of compassion and love is neither a luxurious pursuit of those who have nothing else to worry about nor a sign of weakness. These are the qualities without which our whole existence would be threatened or in chaos.

“His Holiness has studied, in depth, about the benefits of positive human emotions like compassion and loving-kindness and has personally practiced these qualities in his dealings with other sentient [conscious] beings. Even when he was a child he saved the lives of hundreds and thousands of animals that were on their way to the butcher. In India he advised people to refrain from doing those types of business that would harm the lives of other sentient beings like running ammunition factories or arms trade, etc.

“Based on this, His Holiness has developed a genuine conviction in the effectiveness of these positive human qualities in solving human problems, be they individual or social. He is also encouraged by the tremendous amount of resilience shown by many Tibetans in Chinese prisons through the practice of compassion and non-hatred even to their oppressors. Despite harsh treatment and long years of suffering they managed to maintain inner tranquility.

“One prisoner came up with the statement, ‘My time in a Chinese prison proved to be the best time for my spiritual practice.’ Another monk from Namgyal Monastery was in a Chinese prison for seventeen years. When he managed to leave Tibet and come to India, he met with His Holiness. One day, he mentioned to His Holiness that while he was in prison he faced danger on several occasions. His Holiness assumed that his life was in danger. But [the monk] continued, ‘I was in danger of losing compassion towards the Chinese.’

“His Holiness has always advised people that the struggle for the Tibetan cause is a just struggle, and therefore we should adopt only just and nonviolent methods to achieve what we want. Also, for the long-term benefit of both the Chinese and the Tibetans, the Tibetan issue should be resolved through the spirit of harmony, reconciliation and nonviolence. Violence leads to counter-violence, and, therefore, through violence one cannot solve the problem for good. He tries to solve the problem through dialogue and not confrontation.

“Wherever he goes, His Holiness’s main focus is how to develop compassion in the hearts of individuals and harmony among various religions, nations and communities.”

Tenzin Gyatso is the fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet. He is both head of state (in exile) and the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. He is admired and esteemed worldwide as a man who has championed policies of nonviolence. His consistent compassionate nonviolence, even in the face of great aggression, led to his receiving the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1989. What follows is his response to the questionnaire that I asked of others; the responses which became the basis of my book, What Do You Stand For?

“From my Buddhist viewpoint the mind plays a very dominant role. Actions and events depend heavily on motivation. A real sense of appreciation of humanity, compassion and love, are the key points. If we develop a good heart, then whether the field is science, agriculture or politics, since motivation is so very important, the result will be more beneficial. With proper motivation these activities can help humanity; without it they go the other way. This is why compassionate thought is so very important for humankind. Although it is difficult to bring about the inner change that gives rise to it, it is absolutely worthwhile to try.”

In a follow-up, I asked the Dalai Lama if he would be willing to submit a personal story of compassion. Due to the many commitments and travel schedule of His Holiness, he asked his translator and assistant, the Venerable Lhakdor, to provide the following:

“If we are to improve this world, then the main source of peace and harmony is the practice of compassion and love in the day-to-day life of individuals. The practice of compassion and love is neither a luxurious pursuit of those who have nothing else to worry about nor a sign of weakness. These are the qualities without which our whole existence would be threatened or in chaos.

“His Holiness has studied, in depth, about the benefits of positive human emotions like compassion and loving-kindness and has personally practiced these qualities in his dealings with other sentient [conscious] beings. Even when he was a child he saved the lives of hundreds and thousands of animals that were on their way to the butcher. In India he advised people to refrain from doing those types of business that would harm the lives of other sentient beings like running ammunition factories or arms trade, etc.

“Based on this, His Holiness has developed a genuine conviction in the effectiveness of these positive human qualities in solving human problems, be they individual or social. He is also encouraged by the tremendous amount of resilience shown by many Tibetans in Chinese prisons through the practice of compassion and non-hatred even to their oppressors. Despite harsh treatment and long years of suffering they managed to maintain inner tranquility.

“One prisoner came up with the statement, ‘My time in a Chinese prison proved to be the best time for my spiritual practice.’ Another monk from Namgyal Monastery was in a Chinese prison for seventeen years. When he managed to leave Tibet and come to India, he met with His Holiness. One day, he mentioned to His Holiness that while he was in prison he faced danger on several occasions. His Holiness assumed that his life was in danger. But [the monk] continued, ‘I was in danger of losing compassion towards the Chinese.’

“His Holiness has always advised people that the struggle for the Tibetan cause is a just struggle, and therefore we should adopt only just and nonviolent methods to achieve what we want. Also, for the long-term benefit of both the Chinese and the Tibetans, the Tibetan issue should be resolved through the spirit of harmony, reconciliation and nonviolence. Violence leads to counter-violence, and, therefore, through violence one cannot solve the problem for good. He tries to solve the problem through dialogue and not confrontation.

“Wherever he goes, His Holiness’s main focus is how to develop compassion in the hearts of individuals and harmony among various religions, nations and communities.”

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