Here are just a few things we can learn from the Buddhist Leader, the Dalai Lama.
On 6th July 2014, the Dalai Lama turned 79 years old. His has not been an ordinary life at all. At the age of two, he was identified as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama. While growing up, he has received an incredible education and then in adulthood he was responsible for the political power of Tibet until he was subsequently exiled after China’s invasion.
The name ‘Dalai Lama’ roots from the Mongolic word for ‘ocean’ and the Tibetan word for ‘guru’ or ‘teacher’. He has in fact dedicated himself to his role as a teacher and has spent his exile travelling the world to spread incredibly beautiful and wise words.
These are the quotes that struck me in particular and there is a profound message in each and every one of them.
The first one is closely linked to a difficult personal experience.
The Dalai Lama says this:
“There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilised 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.”
Three years ago, the night after my older brother died unexpectedly, my family sat together and promised one another that we have to make something good come out of the experience.
This was, without a shadow of doubt, the worst period in my life but it also taught me to appreciate my family more and avoid arguments. I have also tried to make the most out of my life, to travel more and to always look on the bright side of things.
With his usual practical approach, the Dalai Lama teaches us not to worry in this second quotation:
“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 is not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”
After exams, I have always had a terrible habit of comparing my answers with my friends. Why do I torture myself? This is a pointless practice that is not productive in any way, except as a highly effective trigger to insomnia-inducing anxiety.
This is another message from the Dalai Lama which I can completely relate to:
“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.”
Applying for an amazing job and then getting rejected is something we’ve all faced and it happened to me just a few months ago. But if I had received that two week internship, then my summer would have been too busy for me to come to Malta and write for eve.com.mt! There’s always a silver lining in every cloud.
The Dalai Lama teaches us to be proactive when it comes to our own happiness in this next quotation:
“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.”
It’s fair enough to believe that ‘if it’s meant to be, it will be.’ However, allowing life to take its course without you intervening, taking action and making decisions will not guarantee happiness. You are the only person who can work towards achieving your own happiness.
The last message I have chosen is quite profound and encourages us to embrace diversity and promote tolerance. With some simple words, the Dalai Lama manages to include so many issues that many people across the world have to face on a daily basis.
“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.”
It continues to shock me that people do not realise that with every bottle they throw on the ground or every bad word they direct at someone, they are breeding negativity. This inevitable butterfly effect can also be used for a more positive outcome if we treat others as we wish to be treated ourselves.