Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama: Wikis

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Tenzin Gyatso
14th Dalai Lama
Characteristic hands-raised anjali greeting
Characteristic hands-raised anjali greeting
Reign 17 November 1950 – present
Predecessor Thubten Gyatso
Tibetan བསྟན་འཛིན་རྒྱ་མཚོ་
Wylie bstan 'dzin rgya mtsho
Pronunciation tɛ̃tsĩ catsʰo (IPA)
Dainzin Gyaco
THDL Tenzin Gyatso
Chinese 丹增嘉措
Pinyin Dānzēng Jiācuò
Father Choekyong Tsering
Mother Diki Tsering
Born 6 July 1935 (1935-07-06) (age 74)
Taktser, Qinghai, Tibet[1]

Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso (born Lhamo Döndrub) (Tibetan: ལྷ་མོ་དོན་འགྲུབ་Wylie: Lha-mo Don-'grub; (simplified Chinese: 拉莫顿珠traditional Chinese: 拉莫頓珠pinyin: Lāmò Dùnzhū) (born 6 July 1935 in Taktser, Qinghai[1]) is the 14th Dalai Lama, a spiritual leader revered among the people of Tibet.[2] He is the head of the government-in-exile based in Dharamshala, India.[3] Tibetans traditionally believe him to be the reincarnation of his predecessors.

The Dalai Lama was born fifth of seven children[4] to a farming family in the village of Taktser. His first language was, in his own words, "a broken Xining language which was (a dialect of) the Chinese language" as his family did not speak the regional Amdo dialect.[5] He was proclaimed the tulku or rebirth of the 13th Dalai Lama at the age of two. In 1950 the army of the People's Republic of China invaded the region. One month later, on 17 November 1950, he was enthroned formally as Dalai Lama: at the age of fifteen, he became the region's most important spiritual leader and political ruler.

In 1951 the Chinese military pressured the Dalai Lama to ratify a seventeen-point agreement which permitted the People's Republic of China to take control of Tibet. He fled through the mountains to India soon after the failed 1959 uprising, and the effective collapse of the Tibetan resistance movement. In India he established a government-in-exile.

The most influential member of the Gelugpa or Yellow Hat sect, he has considerable influence over the other sects of Tibetan Buddhism.[6] The Chinese government regards him as the symbol of an outmoded theocratic system.[7] Along with the 80,000 or so exiles that followed him, the Dalai Lama strives to preserve traditional Tibetan education and culture.[8]

Conditions in Tibet have in more recent years caused an international protest movement, including the attempted disruption of the 2008 Olympic Games.[9][10] In March 2008 the Dalai Lama asked for an international inquiry into China's treatment of Tibet, which he said amounted to cultural genocide.[11]

A noted public speaker worldwide, the Dalai Lama is often described as charismatic.[12][13] He is the first Dalai Lama to travel to the West, where he seeks to spread Buddhist teachings and to promote ethics and interfaith harmony. In 1989 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.[12][14] He was given honorary Canadian citizenship in 2006, and was awarded the United States Congressional Gold Medal during October 2007.[15] He has received more than 100 honorary conferments and major awards.[16]

On 17 December 2008, after months of speculation, the Dalai Lama announced his semi-retirement. He said that the future course of the movement he had directed for nearly five decades would now be decided by the elected parliament-in-exile with the prime minister Samdhong Rinpoche. The then 73-year-old Nobel laureate, who had recently undergone surgery, told reporters in Dharamsala, "I have grown old.... It is better if I retire completely and get out of the way of the Tibetan movement."[17]


Early life and background

House where the 14th Dalai Lama was born

Lhamo Döndrub (or Thondup) was born on 6 July 1935 to a farming and horse trading family in the small hamlet of Taktser, in the eastern border of the former Tibetan region of Amdo, then already incorporated into the Chinese province of Qinghai.[18][19] He was one of nine to survive childhood. The eldest was his sister Tsering Dolma, eighteen years older. His eldest brother, Thupten Jigme Norbu, had been recognised at the age of eight as the reincarnation of the high Lama Taktser Rinpoche. His sister, Jetsun Pema, who is affiliated with the Tibetan Youth Congress and Tibetan Women's Association, portrayed their mother in the 1997 Hollywood film Seven Years in Tibet.

Tibetans traditionally believe Dalai Lamas to be the reincarnation of their predecessors, each of whom is believed to be a human emanation of the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. A search party was sent to locate the new incarnation when the boy who was to become the 14th was about two years old.[12] It is said that, amongst other omens, the head of the embalmed body of the thirteenth Dalai Lama, at first facing south-east, had mysteriously turned to face the northeast—indicating the direction in which his successor would be found. The Regent, Reting Rinpoche, shortly afterwards had a vision at the sacred lake of Lhamo La-tso indicating Amdo as the region to search—specifically a one-story house with distinctive guttering and tiling. After extensive searching, the Thondup house, with its features resembling those in Reting's vision, was finally found.

The Dalai Lama as a boy

The little boy was presented with various relics, including toys, some of which had belonged to the 13th Dalai Lama and some of which had not. It was reported that he had correctly identified all the items owned by the previous Dalai Lama, exclaiming, "That's mine! That's mine!"[20][21]

Lhamo Thondup was recognised formally as the reincarnated Dalai Lama and renamed Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso (Holy Lord, Gentle Glory, Compassionate, Defender of the Faith, Ocean of Wisdom). Tibetan Buddhists normally refer to him as Yishin Norbu (Wish-Fulfilling Gem), Kyabgon (Saviour), or just Kundun (Presence). His devotees often call him His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the style employed on the Dalai Lama's website.

Monastic education commenced at the age of six years, his principal teachers being Yongdzin Ling Rinpoche (senior tutor) and Yongdzin Trijang Rinpoche (junior tutor). At the age of 11 he met the Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer, having spotted him in Lhasa through his telescope. Harrer effectively became one of the young Dalai Lama's tutors, teaching him about the outside world. The two remained friends until Harrer's death in 2006.

During 1959, at the age of 23, he took his final examination at Lhasa's Jokhang Temple during the annual Monlam or prayer Festival. He passed with honours and was awarded the Lharampa degree, the highest-level geshe degree, roughly equivalent to a doctorate in Buddhist philosophy.[12][22]

Life as the Dalai Lama

Lhasa's Potala Palace, today a UNESCO world heritage site, pictured in 2006
Abandoned former quarters of the Dalai Lama at the Potala. The empty vestment placed on the throne symbolises his absence

As well as being Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama has traditionally been the country's absolute ruler. In 1939, at the age of four, the present Dalai Lama was taken in a procession of lamas to Lhasa.

China asserts that the Kuomintang government ratified the 14th Dalai Lama and that a Kuomintang representative, General Wu Zhongxin, presided over the ceremony. It cites a ratification order dated February 1940, and a documentary film of the ceremony.[23] According to Tsering Shakya, Wu Zhongxin along with other foreign representatives was present at the ceremony, but there is no evidence that he presided over it.[24]

The Dalai Lama's childhood was spent between the Potala and Norbulingka, his summer residence.

"On 8 July 1949, the Kashag [Tibetan Parliament] called Chen Xizhang, the acting director of the Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission office in Lhasa. He was informed that the Tibetan Government had decided to expel all Chinese connected with the Guomingdang Government. Fearing that the Chinese might organize protests in the streets of Lhasa, the Kashag imposed a curfew until all the Chinese had left. This they did on 14, 17 and 20 July 1949. At the same time the Tibetan Government sent a telegram to General Chiang Kai-shek and to President Liu Zongren informing them of the decision."[25]
The Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama meet Mao Zedong in 1955. Photo by Hou Bo

In October 1950 the army of the People's Republic of China entered the country, moving through Tibetan defenses with ease. On 17 November. the 15-year-old was enthroned formally as the temporal ruler of Tibet.

Cooperation and conflicts with the PRC

The Dalai Lama's formal rule was brief. He sent a delegation to Beijing, and under military pressure ratified a Seventeen Point Agreement for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet.[26][27] He tried to work with the Chinese government: in September 1954, together with the 10th Panchen Lama he went to the Chinese capital to meet Mao Zedong and attend the first session of the National People's Congress as a delegate, primarily discussing China's constitution.[28][29] On 27 September 1954, the Dalai Lama was selected as a deputy chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.[30][31]

In 1959 there was a major uprising in Tibet. The Dalai Lama's entourage suspected that the Chinese government may have been planning to kill him. On 17 March, he fled for Tawang, India, finally crossing the border on 31 March. It was later established that forces from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency's Special Activities Division had assisted the Dalai Lama's escape, and had supported initial resistance to the Chinese.[32]

Exile to India

The Dalai Lama met with the Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, to urge India to pressure China into giving Tibet an autonomous government, as relations with China were not proving successful. Nehru did not want to increase tensions between China and India, so he encouraged the Dalai Lama to work on the Seventeen Point Agreement Tibet had with China. Eventually, after the failed uprising in 1959, the Dalai Lama fled Tibet crossing into India on 30 March, 1959, and spent some days resting at Tawang Monastery before reaching Tezpur in Assam on 18 April.[33] Some time later he set up the Government of Tibet in Exile in Dharamsala, India,[34] which is often referred to as "Little Lhasa".

First meeting: Jawaharlal Nehru and the Dalai Lama at Mussoorie in 1959 soon after he fled Tibet

After the founding of the exiled government he re-established the approximately 80,000 Tibetan refugees who followed him into exile in agricultural settlements.[12] He created a Tibetan educational system in order to teach the Tibetan children the traditional language, history, religion, and culture. The Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts was established[12] in 1959 and the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies[12] became the primary university for Tibetans in India. He supported the refounding of 200 monasteries and nunneries in an attempt to preserve Tibetan Buddhist teachings and the Tibetan way of life.

The Dalai Lama appealed to the United Nations on the question of Tibet. This appeal resulted in three resolutions adopted by the General Assembly in 1959, 1961, and 1965.[12] These resolutions required China to respect the human rights of Tibetans and their desire for self-determination. During 1963, he promulgated a democratic constitution which is based upon the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A Tibetan parliament-in-exile is elected by the Tibetan refugees scattered all over the world, and the Tibetan Government-in-Exile is likewise elected by the Tibetan parliament. During 1970, he opened the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamsala which houses over 80,000 manuscripts and important knowledge resources related to Tibetan history, politics and culture. It is considered one of the most important institutions for Tibetology in the world.[35]

At the Congressional Human Rights Caucus during 1987 in Washington, D.C., he proposed a Five-Point Peace Plan regarding the future status of Tibet. The plan called for Tibet to become a "zone of peace" and for the end of movement by ethnic Han Chinese into Tibet. It also called for "respect for fundamental human rights and democratic freedoms" and "the end of China's use of Tibet for nuclear weapons production, testing, and disposal." Finally, it urged "earnest negotiations" on the future of Tibet.

He proposed a similar plan at Strasbourg on 15 June 1988. He expanded on the Five-Point Peace Plan and proposed the creation of a self-governing democratic Tibet, "in association with the People's Republic of China." This plan was rejected by the Tibetan Government-in-Exile during 1991. During October 1991, he expressed his wish to return to Tibet to try to make a mutual assessment on the situation with the Chinese local government. At this time he feared that a violent uprising would occur and wished to avoid it. The Dalai Lama has indicated that he wishes to return to Tibet only if the People's Republic of China agrees not to make any precondition for his return, which they have so far refused to do.[36][37]

The Dalai Lama celebrated his seventieth birthday on 6 July 2005. About 10,000 Tibetan refugees, monks and foreign tourists gathered outside his home. Patriarch Alexius II of the Russian Orthodox Church said, "I attest that the Russian Orthodox Church highly appreciates the good relations it has with the followers of Buddhism and hopes for their further development." Taiwan's President, Chen Shui-bian, attended an evening celebrating the Dalai Lama's birthday that was entitled "Travelling with Love and Wisdom for 70 Years" at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei. The President invited him to return to Taiwan for a third trip in 2005. His previous trips were during 2001 and 1997.[38] In Tibet there is a popular song calling for his return to Tibet known as Aku Pema.

Teaching activities

The Dalai Lama's main teaching room at Dharamsala

The Dalai Lama chief spiritual practice is Dzogchen, a subject he teaches and writes about extensively. He has conducted numerous public initiations in the Kalachakra, and is the author of a great number of books. His teaching activities in the US include:

  • During July 2008, the Dalai Lama gave a public lecture and conducted a series of teachings at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.[39]
  • He visited the U.S. during April 2008, when he gave lectures on engaging wisdom and compassion, and sustainability, at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and at Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y.[40]
  • During February 2007, the Dalai Lama was named Presidential Distinguished Professor at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, United States,[41] the first time that the leader of the Tibetan exile community has accepted a university appointment. The appointment is in part an expansion of a program begun during 1998 called the Emory–Tibet Partnership. As Presidential Distinguished Professor, he will:[41]
    • provide opportunities for university community members to attend his annual teachings,
    • make periodic visits to Emory to participate in programmes, and
    • continue the Emory–Tibet Partnership practice of providing private teaching sessions with students and faculty during Emory's study-abroad programme in Dharamsala.
  • The Dalai Lama has strong ties with University of Wisconsin–Madison in Madison, Wisconsin, United States, and is a frequent visitor there. He visited the university in 1981 and again in 1989, the year in which he won the Nobel Peace Prize. In May 1998, he addressed a large audience at the Kohl Center and received an honorary degree from the university. He visited Madison again during the summers of both 2007 and 2008, making public appearances at The Kohl Center and Alliant Energy Center, as well as more intimate sessions at the nearby Deer Park Buddhist Center, where Geshe Sopa (the first Tibetan tenured in an American university), whom the Dalai Lama sent to America in 1959 to bridge cultures, resides.[42]
  • During May 2001, he met with a group of neuroscientists who conduct research on the effects of meditation on brain function, emotions and physical health.

Foreign relations

Since 1967, the Dalai Lama has initiated a series of tours in 46 nations. He has frequently engaged on religious dialogue. He met with Pope Paul VI at the Vatican in 1973. He met with Pope John Paul II in 1980 and also later in 1982, 1986, 1988, 1990, and 2003.

During 1990, he met in Dharamsala with a delegation of Jewish teachers for an extensive interfaith dialogue.[43] He has since visited Israel three times and met during 2006 with the Chief Rabbi of Israel. In 2006, he met privately with Pope Benedict XVI. He has also met the late Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Robert Runcie, and other leaders of the Anglican Church in London, Gordon B. Hinckley, late President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), as well as senior Eastern Orthodox Church, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, and Sikh officials.

Soon before the Beijing Olympics of 2008, the Dalai Lama visited Japan on 10 April 2008 on his way to the United States, amid protests around the world over China's response to the 2008 Tibetan unrest. The Dalai Lama, whom Beijing claimed fomented the unrest, called for calm, but the protests showed little sign of abating. The Dalai Lama said he did not support a boycott of the 2008 Summer Games outright.[44] Japan's government had been relatively quiet about the violence in Tibet and, by deference to Beijing, does not deal officially with the Dalai Lama. Tokyo does, however, grant visas to the spiritual leader, who has visited Japan fairly frequently.[45]

International children's villages

The Dalai Lama has long been a supporter of SOS Children's Villages organisation.[46] He often visits the villages, and has maintained a friendship with the founder, Hermann Gmeiner.

He has said of SOS's efforts:

The splendid work done by SOS Children's Villages is charity where deeds speak louder than words. The revolutionary idea and the general concept developed by Hermann Gmeiner for providing orphaned and abandoned children with a new family and a permanent home has had a great influence on child welfare world-wide, and SOS Children's Villages have become a model on every continent. Above all, SOS Children's Villages shows that it is possible to create a community of brothers and sisters comprising children of all races, creeds and nationalities. The ties that develop and hold these communities together and form the basis of their upbringing is love.

Social and political stances

Tibetan independence movement

The Dalai Lama accepted the 1951 Seventeen Point Agreement for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet with the People's Republic of China. However, he moved to Kalimpong in India and, with the help of American government organised pro-independence literature and the smuggling of weapons into Tibet. Armed struggles broke out in Amdo and Kham during 1956 and later spread to Central Tibet. The movement was a failure and was forced to retreat to Nepal or go underground. Soon after normalisation of relations between the United States and the People's Republic of China, American support was ended during the early 1970s.

During October 1998, the Dalai Lama's administration acknowledged that it received US$1.7 million a year in the 1960s from the U.S. Government through the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and had also trained an army in Colorado (USA).[47]

The Dalai Lama has on occasion been denounced by the Chinese government as a supporter of Tibetan independence. Over time, he has developed a public position stating that he is not in favour of Tibetan independence[48] and would not object to a status in which Tibet has internal autonomy while the PRC manages some aspects of Tibet's defence and foreign affairs.[49] In his 'Middle Way Approach', he laid down that the Chinese government can take care of foreign affairs and defence, and that Tibet should be managed by an elected body.[50]

The Dalai Lama on 16 March 2008 called for an international inquiry into China's treatment of Tibet, which he said amounted to cultural genocide.[51] He has stated that he will step down as leader of Tibet's government-in-exile if violence by protesters in the region worsens, the exiled spiritual leader said 18 March 2008 after China's premier Wen Jiabao blamed his supporters for the growing unrest.[52] On 20 March 2008, he claimed he was powerless to stop anti-Chinese violence.[53] The Dalai Lama on 28 March 2008 rejected a series of allegations from the Chinese government, saying he did not seek the separation of Tibet and had no desire to "sabotage" the 2008 Summer Olympics.[54]

Critics of the news and entertainment media coverage of the controversy charge that feudal Tibet was not as benevolent as popularly portrayed. The penal code before 1913 included forms of corporal punishment and capital punishment.[55] In response, the Dalai Lama agreed many of old Tibet's practices needed reform. His predecessor had banned extreme punishments and the death penalty.[56] And he had instituted major reforms like removal of debt inheritance before the Chinese invaded during 1951.[49]

On 4 June 2008, Dalai Lama said that Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, a territory that is called Southern Tibet in mainland China and still claimed by the People's Republic of China, is part of India, acknowledging the validity of the McMahon Line per the 1914 Simla Agreement signed by Tibetan and British representatives.[57]

On 25 October 2008, the Dalai Lama announced he had given up negotiating for increased autonomy for Tibet within the People's Republic of China. He stated that from now on Tibetans themselves should decide how to continue a dialogue with the Chinese government.[58][59]

Interfaith dialogue

On 6 January 2009, at Gujarat’s Mahuva, the Dalai Lama inaugurated an interfaith "World Religions-Dialogue and Symphony" conference convened by Hindu preacher Morari Bapu. This conference explored "ways and means to deal with the discord among major religions," according to Morari Bapu.[60][61]

Many other meetings and dialogues have been held with other religious, spiritual, philosophical and scientific leaders throughout the life of the 14th Dalai Lama. He was presented Shambhala Buddhism's Living Peace Award at the The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya Which Liberates Upon Seeing in 2006 with representatives of all Abrahamic religions in attendance.[62] He has also helped many authors including Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj by writing the forewords to books such as Inner and Outer Peace Through Meditation.[63]

Social stances

The Dalai Lama at his residence in Dharamsala, India in 1993

The Dalai Lama endorsed the founding of the Dalai Lama Foundation in order to promote peace and ethics worldwide. The Dalai Lama is not involved operationally with this foundation, though he suggests some general direction and his office is routinely briefed on its activities.[64] He has also stated his belief that modern scientific findings take precedence over ancient religions.[65][66]

Democracy, Non-violence, Religious harmony and Tibet's relationship with India

The Dalai Lama says that he is active in spreading India's message of non-violence and religious harmony throughout the world "I am the messenger of India's ancient thoughts world over", he said democracy was deep rooted in India . He says he considers India as a master and Tibet its disciple as great scholars like Nagarjuna went from Nalanda to Tibet to preach Buddhism in the eighth century. He says millions of people had lost their lives in violence and economy of many a countries got ruined due to conflicts in the 20th century "Let the 21st century be a century of tolerance and dialogue."[67]


The Dalai Lama reminds that according to Buddhist precepts abortion is an act of killing,[68] although he has taken a nuanced position, as he explained to the New York Times:

Of course, abortion, from a Buddhist viewpoint, is an act of killing and is negative, generally speaking. But it depends on the circumstances. If the unborn child will be retarded or if the birth will create serious problems for the parent, these are cases where there can be an exception. I think abortion should be approved or disapproved according to each circumstance.[69]


Of all the modern economic theories, the economic system of Marxism is founded on moral principles, while capitalism is concerned only with gain and profitability. Marxism is concerned with the distribution of wealth on an equal basis and the equitable utilisation of the means of production. It is also concerned with the fate of the working classes—that is, the majority—as well as with the fate of those who are underprivileged and in need, and Marxism cares about the victims of minority-imposed exploitation. For those reasons the system appeals to me, and it seems fair. I just recently read an article in a paper where His Holiness the Pope Benedict XVI also pointed out some positive aspects of Marxism (though disapproving of it on the whole).

As for the failure of the Marxist regimes, first of all I do not consider the former USSR, or China, or even Vietnam, to have been true Marxist regimes, for they were far more concerned with their narrow national interests than with the Workers' International; this is why there were conflicts, for example, between China and the USSR, or between China and Vietnam. If those three regimes had truly been based upon Marxist principles, those conflicts would never have occurred.

I think the major flaw of the Marxist regimes is that they have placed too much emphasis on the need to destroy the ruling class, on class struggle, and this causes them to encourage hatred and to neglect compassion. Although their initial aim might have been to serve the cause of the majority, when they try to implement it all their energy is deflected into destructive activities. Once the revolution is over and the ruling class is destroyed, there is not much left to offer the people; at this point the entire country is impoverished and unfortunately it is almost as if the initial aim were to become poor. I think that this is due to the lack of human solidarity and compassion. The principal disadvantage of such a regime is the insistence placed on hatred to the detriment of compassion.

The failure of the regime in the former Soviet Union was, for me, not the failure of Marxism but the failure of totalitarianism. For this reason I still think of myself as half-Marxist, half-Buddhist.[70]


He has also expressed his concern for environmental problems:

On the global level, I think the ecology problem is very serious. I hear about some states taking it very seriously. That's wonderful! So this blue planet is our only home, if something goes wrong at the present generation, then the future generations really face a lot of problems, and those problems will be beyond human control; so that's very serious. Ecology should be part of our daily life.

In recent years, he has been campaigning for wildlife conservation, including a religious ruling against wearing tiger and leopard skins as garments.[71][72]


In 2001, he discussed firearms and self-defence, and Hal Bernton, a staff reporter of The Seattle Times, reports that:

One girl wanted to know how to react to a shooter who takes aim at a classmate.

The Dalai Lama said acts of violence should be remembered, and then forgiveness should be extended to the perpetrators. But if someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, he said, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun. Not at the head, where a fatal wound might result. But at some other body part, such as a leg.[73]


In his view, oral, manual and anal sex (both homosexual and heterosexual) is not acceptable in Buddhism or for Buddhists, but society should tolerate gays and lesbians from a secular point of view.[74] In 1997 he explained that the basis of that teaching was unknown to him and that he at least had some "willingness to consider the possibility that some of the teachings may be specific to a particular cultural and historic context" while reiterating the unacceptable nature saying, "Buddhist sexual proscriptions ban homosexual activity and heterosexual sex through orifices other than the vagina, including masturbation or other sexual activity with the hand... From a Buddhist point of view, lesbian and gay sex is generally considered sexual misconduct".[75] In a 1994 interview with OUT Magazine, the Dalai Lama explained "If someone comes to me and asks whether homosexuality is okay or not, I will ask 'What is your companion's opinion?'. If you both agree, then I think I would say 'if two males or two females voluntarily agree to have mutual satisfaction without further implication of harming others, then it is okay'".[76] However, in his 1996 book Beyond Dogma, he clearly states, "A sexual act is deemed proper when the couples use the organs intended for sexual intercourse and nothing else....Homosexuality, whether it is between men or between women, is not improper in itself. What is improper is the use of organs already defined as inappropriate for sexual contact."[77] He has said that sex spelled fleeting satisfaction and trouble later, while chastity offered a better life and "more independence, more freedom." [78] He says that problems arising from conjugal life could even lead to suicide or murder.[79]

Prior to Tiger Woods' public reports of infidelity, the Dalai Lama had not heard of the American golf player[80]. However, the Dalai Lama has said about Tiger Woods regarding the importance of "self-discipline with awareness of consequences" and that all religions have the same idea about adultery. Woods is Buddhist. [81]

Buddhist vegetarianism

In Tibet, meat being the most common food, most monks have historically been omnivores, including the Dalai Lamas. After getting jaundice, his doctors advised him to return to eating meat. Since then, he abstains from meat every other day.[82]


British journalist Christopher Hitchens criticised the Dalai Lama in 1998, questioned his alleged support for India's nuclear weapons testing, his statements about sexual misconduct, his suppression of Shugden worship, as well as his meeting Shoko Asahara, whose cult Aum Shinrikyo released sarin nerve gas in the Tokyo subway system.[83][84] Hitchens proclaims that he "makes absurd pronouncements about sex and diet and, when on his trips to Hollywood fund-raisers, anoints major donors like Steven Segal and Richard Gere as holy."[85]

Despite protest from China, German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with the Dalai Lama in the Berlin Chancellery on 25 September 2007. The meeting was characterised as "private and informal talks" in order to avert potential retaliation by China such as the severance of trade ties. In response to the meeting, China cancelled meetings with German officials including Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries.[86]

Two months after the 2008 Tibetan unrest and before the 2008 Beijing Olympics, news carried by Xinhua, the Chinese official government news agency, said that the twelfth Samding Dorje Phagmo (considered to be Tibet's "only female living Buddha,") who is also the vice-chairwoman of the standing committee of the Tibetan Autonomous Regional People's Congress, was quoted saying that "The sins of the Dalai Lama and his followers seriously violate the basic teachings and precepts of Buddhism and seriously damage traditional Tibetan Buddhism's normal order and good reputation." She told Xinhua that "Old Tibet was dark and cruel, the serfs lived worse than horses and cattle."[87]

The Dalai Lama's talks in the UK, May, 2008, were attended by Chinese protesters who oppose Tibetan independence.[88]

Dorje Shugden

During a teaching tour of the UK in May, 2008, there were demonstrations by the Western Shugden Society[89][90] and Chinese students. The Western Shugden Society say they are protesting against the ban of a prayer to Dorje Shugden,[89] which they protest constitutes religious persecution.[90] Similar protests occurred in Sydney when the Dalai Lama arrived in Australia in June 2008.[91] The Dalai Lama says he had not banned the practice,[89] but strongly discourages it as he feels it promotes a spirit as being more important than Buddha, and that it may encourage cult-like practices and sectarianism within Tibetan Buddhism.[92] The Shugden worshipers in India protest they are denied admission to hospitals, stores, and other social services provided by the local Tibetan community.[93]

Recognition of the 17th Karmapa

Another controversy associated with the Dalai Lama is the recognition of the seventeenth Karmapa. Two factions of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism have chosen two different Karmapas, leading to a deep division within the Kagyu school. The Dalai Lama has given his support to Urgyen Trinley Dorje, while supporters of Trinley Thaye Dorje claim that the Dalai Lama has no authority in the matter, nor is there a historical precedent for a Dalai Lama involving himself in an internal Kagyu dispute.[94] In his 2001 address at the International Karma Kagyu Conference, Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche—one of the four Karma Kagyu regents—accused the Dalai Lama of adopting a "divide and conquer" policy to eliminate any potential political rivalry arising from within the Kagyu school.[95] For his side, the Dalai Lama accepted the prediction letter presented by Tai Situ Rinpoche (another Karma Kagyu regent) as authentic, and therefore Tai Situ Rinpoche's recognition of Urgyen Trinley Dorje, also as correct.[96] Tibet observer Julian Gearing suggests that there might be political motives to the Dalai Lama's decision: "The Dalai Lama gave his blessing to the recognition of [Urgyen] Trinley, eager to win over the formerly troublesome sect [the Kagyu school], and with the hope that the new Karmapa could play a role in a political solution of the 'Tibet Question.' ...If the allegations are to be believed, a simple nomad boy was turned into a political and religious pawn."[97] However, according to Tsurphu Labrang, articles by Julian Gearing on this subject are biased, unverified and without crosschecking of basic facts.[98]

CIA backing

In October 1998, The Dalai Lama's administration acknowledged that it received $1.7 million a year in the 1960s from the US Government through the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and also trained a resistance movement in Colorado (USA).[47] When asked by CIA officer John Kenneth Knaus in 1995 whether the organisation did a good or bad thing in providing its support, the Dalai Lama replied that though it helped the morale of those resisting the Chinese, "thousands of lives were lost in the resistance" and further, that "the US Government had involved itself in his country's affairs not to help Tibet but only as a Cold War tactic to challenge the Chinese."[99]

Refusal of visa to enter South Africa

The Dalai Lama and fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu share a joke.

In March 2009, the Dalai Lama was denied a visa to enter South Africa in order to attend an international peace conference. The South African government initially stated that it denied his visa to avoid distracting attention from South Africa and its hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, although the visa-refusal precipitated precisely such a distraction.[100] South African government officials later acknowledged that his visa had been denied to maintain close relations with China.[101] Chinese officials had urged the South African government to not admit him.[102]

Two other Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Arch Bishop-emeritus Desmond Tutu and former South African President FW de Klerk, criticised the denial and pulled out of the conference. Current Minister of Health Barbara Hogan was critical of the decision, accusing the Government of "being dismissive of human rights". Opposition parties to the ruling African National Congress, including the Democratic Alliance, Inkatha Freedom Party and Congress of the People, also expressed disgust. "The recent shameful denial of entry to South Africa to a peace icon and Nobel laureate, the Dalai Lama, is a demonstration of the ANC government's willingness to sacrifice the standing of South Africa on the altar of political expediency," said Mvume Dandala, leader of the last-mentioned, as well as former presiding bishop of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa and former head of the All Africa Council of Churches. "This is especially so if the rumours are true that this was because of the funding arrangements between the ANC and the Communist Party of China."

Conference organisers, including the grandson of Nelson Mandela, also expressed outrage over the refusal to issue the Dalai Lama a visa. The conference was subsequently cancelled.[102][103]

The South African government defended its decision as a matter of sovereignty. One South African official publicly criticised the Dalai Lama and lamented a taboo on criticism of him,[104] while another publicly criticised the government for denying his visa.[105]

Withdrawal of Honorary Degree

He was to be offered an honorary doctorate by the University of Tasmania when he would be visiting that Australian state in December 2009 but that offer has since been withdrawn. The University of Tasmania collects $30 million a year from Chinese students and Australian Senator Brown is questioning whether the Dalai Lama's fight for Tibetan independence affected the decision.

The University of Tasmania says the issue was raised in a meeting with Chinese officials but it had already decided to withdraw its offer to the Dalai Lama.[106]

International support

The Dalai Lama has been successful in gaining Western sympathy for Tibetan self-determination, including vocal support from numerous Hollywood celebrities, most notably the actors Richard Gere and Steven Seagal, as well as lawmakers from several major countries.[107]

In 2005[108] and 2008[109] Time placed the Dalai Lama on its list of the world's 100 most influential people.

The Dalai Lama receiving a Congressional Gold Medal in 2007. From left: Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate President pro tempore Robert Byrd and U.S. President George W. Bush

On 22 June 2006, the Parliament of Canada voted unanimously to make The Dalai Lama an honorary citizen of Canada.[110][111] This marks the third of four times in history that the Government of Canada has bestowed this honour, the others being Raoul Wallenberg posthumously in 1985, Nelson Mandela in 2001 and Aung San Suu Kyi in 2007.

In September 2006, the United States Congress voted to award the Dalai Lama the Congressional Gold Medal,[112] the highest award which may be bestowed by the Legislative Branch of the United States government. The actual ceremony and awarding of the medal took place on 17 October 2007. The Chinese Government has reacted angrily to the award, which it merely refers to as "the extremely wrong arrangements". Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said: "It seriously violates the norm of international relations and seriously wounded the feelings of the Chinese people and interfered with China's internal affairs".[113]

In June 2007, during an Australian tour, the Dalai Lama made public appearances in Perth, Bendigo, Melbourne, Geelong, Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane.

On 6 December 2008, Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France and current Chairman of the European Union met the Dalai Lama in Poland and appeased the situation after China postponed a China-EU summit.[114]

In March 2009 a peace conference for Nobel laureates in South Africa was postponed indefinitely after Pretoria refused the Dalai Lama a visa, sparking a storm of controversy, the government being accused of bowing to Chinese pressure. Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former South African President FW de Klerk pulled out of the meeting in protest.[115]

In May 2009, the Prime Minister of Denmark, Lars Løkke met the Dalai Lama after having faced several appeals form China not to do so. After the meeting, the spokesman from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Qin Gang, stated that "China is very dissatisfied with — and is protesting about the meeting".[116]

On 18 February 2010, United States President Barack Obama hosted a meeting at the White House with the Dalai Lama.[117] Obama "commended [the Dalai Lama's] commitment to nonviolence and his pursuit of dialogue with the Chinese government". China expressed "strong dissatisfaction" with the meeting.[118]

Songs for Tibet is an album supportive of the Dalai Lama and a peaceful solution for the Tibetan issue. Several rock bands contributed with their music for the album.


The Dalai Lama during his visit to Italy in 2007

After suffering abdominal pain in October 2008, the Dalai Lama was hospitalized in New Delhi. He had routine surgery on 10 October to remove a gallstone.[119][120][121] Four marks on the Dalai Lama's right arm are the consequence of a childhood smallpox vaccination and do not have any special significance.[122] His right arm is uncovered in accordance with Buddhist tradition.

Possibility of retirement

In May 2007, Chhime Rigzing, a senior spokesman for the Tibetan spiritual leader's office, stated that the Dalai Lama wants to reduce his political burden as he moves into "retirement".[123] However, in 2008 the Dalai Lama himself ruled out such a move, saying "There is no point, or question of retirement."[124]

Rigzing stated "The political leadership will be transferred over a period of time but he will inevitably continue to be the spiritual leader because as the Dalai Lama, the issue of relinquishing the post does not arise".

The Dalai Lama announced he would like the elected Tibetan Parliament in Exile to have more responsibility over administration.

On 1 September 2007, China issued new rules controlling the selection of the next Dalai Lama, declaring that any reincarnation must bear the seal of approval by China's cabinet. These regulations could potentially result in one Dalai Lama approved by the Chinese government, and another chosen outside of Tibet.[125] This would be similar to the present situation with the Panchen Lamas and Karmapas. In November 2007, Tashi Wangdi said the new rules mean nothing. "It will have no effect" said Wangdi. "You can't impose a Pope. You can't impose an imam, an archbishop, saints, any religion... you can't politically impose these things on people. It has to be a decision of the followers of that tradition. The Chinese can use their political power: force. Again, it's meaningless".[126]

During the 2008 unrest in Tibet, the Dalai Lama called for calm[127] and concurrently condemned Chinese violence.[128] His call was met with Tibetan frustration at his methodology[129] and goals[130][131] and Chinese allegations that he himself incited the violence[132] in order to ruin the 2008 Summer Olympics.[133] In response to the continued violence perpetrated by Chinese as well as Tibetans,[134] on 18 March 2008, the Dalai Lama threatened to step down,[135] a move unprecedented[136] in the history of the office of the Dalai Lama.[137] Aides later clarified that this threat was predicated on a further escalation of violence, and that he did not presently have the intention of leaving his political or spiritual offices.[138] Many Tibetan exiles expressed their support for the Dalai Lama, and the People's Republic of China intensified their campaign of attacks against him.[139][140]

In the ensuing months, he held meetings aimed at discussing the future institution of the Dalai Lama, including:

[A] conclave, like in the Catholic Church, a woman as my successor, no Dalai Lama anymore, or perhaps even two, since the Communist Party has, astonishingly enough, given itself the right to be responsible for reincarnations.[141]

He has clarified that his goal is to relinquish all temporal power and to no longer play a "pronounced spiritual role" and have a simpler monastic life.

Awards and honours

The Congressional Gold Medal awarded to the Dalai Lama in 2006

The Dalai Lama has received numerous awards over his spiritual and political career.[142] On 22 June 2006, he became one of only five people ever to be recognised with Honorary Citizenship by the Governor General of Canada. On 28 May 2005, he received the Christmas Humphreys Award from the Buddhist Society in the United Kingdom. Most notable was the Nobel Peace Prize, presented in Oslo on 10 December 1989 (see below).

Other notable awards and honours include:

Nobel Peace Prize

On 10 December 1989 the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.[156] The committee recognized his efforts in "the struggle of the liberation of Tibet and the efforts for a peaceful resolution instead of using violence."[157] The chairman of the Nobel committee said that the award was "in part a tribute to the memory of Mahatma Gandhi." In his acceptance speech the Dalai Lama criticised China for using force against student protesters during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. He said the victims efforts were not in vain. His speech focused on the importance of the continued use of non-violence and his desire to maintain a dialogue with China to try and resolve the situation.[158]

Support for Uyghur Spokesperson Rebiya Kadeer

During the Melbourne International Film Festival, the controversial film The 10 Conditions of Love, which documents the life of exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer, was screened on 8 August 2009 in spite of attempts by the Chinese government (which labels her a terrorist), to block screening of the film. The Dalai Lama sent a message of support:

Australian Federal Labor Member of Parliament, Michael Danby, says he discussed Ms Kadeer with the Dalai Lama recently: "He asked me to convey to you in Melbourne that she is another one of the national leaders who is a paradigm of non-violence," he said. "He wanted to make it very clear to people that the claims of this woman being a violent person or instigating violence, is from his point of view, and with all of his authority, wrong."[159]


Examples of films recently made about Tenzin Gyatso:

See also


  1. ^ a b At the time of Tenzin Gyatso's birth, Taktser was a city located in the Chinese province of Chinghai/Qinghai and was controlled by Ma Lin, a warlord allied with Chiang Kai-shek and appointed governor of Qinhai Province by the Kuomintang. See Thomas Laird, The Story of Tibet. Conversations with the Dalai Lama, Grove Press: New York, 2006 ; Li, T.T. "Historical Status of Tibet", Columbia University Press, p179 ; Bell, Charles, "Portrait of the Dalai Lama", p399; Goldstein, Melvyn C. Goldstein, A history of modern Tibet, pp. 315–317
  2. ^ "The Institution of the Dalai Lama" by R. N. Rahul Sheel in The Tibet Journal, Vol. XIV No. 3. Autumn 1989, pp. 19–32 says on pp. 31–32, n. 1: "The word Dalai is Mongolian for "ocean", used mainly by the Chinese, the Mongols, and foreigners. Rgya mtsho, the corresponding Tibetan word, always has formed the last part of the religious name of the Dalai Lama since Dalai Lama II [sic – should read Dalai Lama III]. The expression Lama (Bla ma) means the "superior one". Western usage has taken it to mean the "priest" of the Buddhism of Tibet. The term Dalai Lama, therefore, means the Lama whose wisdom is as deep, as vast and as embracing as the ocean."
  3. ^ His Holiness the 14th and current Dalai Lama. A Brief Biography. Retrieved on: 8 May 2008
  4. ^ Craig 1997, pg. xxi
  5. ^ Thomas Laird, The Story of Tibet: Conversations With the Dalai Lama, 2007, p. 262. "At that time in my village," he said, "we spoke a broken Chinese. As a child, I spoke Chinese first, but it was a broken Xining language which was (a dialect of) the Chinese language." "So your first language," I responded, "was a broken regional Chinese dialect, which we might call Xining Chinese. It was not Tibetan. You learned Tibetan when you came to Lhasa." "Yes," he answered, "that is correct (...)."
  6. ^ Mark Sappenfield and Peter Ford (24 March 2008).Dalai Lama must balance politics, spiritual role. The Christian Science Monitor Retrieved on: 9 May 2008
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  138. ^ Dalai Lama Threatens to Resign - TIME
  139. ^ China steps up verbal attacks on Dalai Lama over Tibet
  140. ^ Drew, Jill (27 April 2008). "A Day After Offer to Meet, China Assails Dalai Lama". Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/26/AR2008042601655.html. Retrieved 27 April 2008. 
  141. ^ "'I Pray for China's Leadership' SPIEGEL Interviews the Dalai Lama". Der Spiegel. 12 May 2008. http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,druck-552775,00.html. Retrieved 12 May 2008. 
  142. ^ List of awards
  143. ^ CNN.com: Pelosi gives Dalai Lama human rights award
  144. ^ Michael Lollar. "The Dalai Lama became an honorary citizen of Memphis and Shelby County on Tuesday and left behind a white scarf as a blessing of the Mississippi River.". Archived from the original on 25 September 2009. http://www.webcitation.org/5k41AJwnr. Retrieved 23 September 2009. 
  145. ^ http://www.dalaiLama.com, "Dalai Lama Receives Honorary Doctorate In Krakow"
  146. ^ [9]
  147. ^ hellomagazine.com, Dalai Lama receives honorary doctorate of philosophy in London
  148. ^ news.bbc.co.uk, Dalai gets honorary doctorate
  149. ^ Paris makes Dalai Lama honorary citizen
  150. ^ Paris makes Dalai Lama, Chinese dissident honorary citizens
  151. ^ Pais, Arthur J. (11 April 2008). "The Dalai Lama wins Hofstra University's first Guru Nanak Interfaith prize". India Abroad. http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=1466845591&sid=1&Fmt=3&clientId=20886&RQT=309&VName=PQD. Retrieved 25 September 2008. 
  152. ^ Public Law 109-287
  153. ^ [10] "Dalai Lama charms, uplifts New Jersey"
  154. ^ University of Tartu "UT Council Confers Honorary Doctorate on His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso The XIV Dalai Lama "
  155. ^ USFnews Online
  156. ^ Presentation Speech by Egil Aarvik, Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee
  157. ^ "The Nobel Prize". Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso). Archived from the original on 8 October 2009. http://www.webcitation.org/5kNENczrF. Retrieved 6 October 2009. 
  158. ^ "The Government of Tibet in Exile". His Holiness the Dalai Lama's Nobel Prize acceptance speech University Aula, Oslo, 10 December 1989. http://www.tibet.com/DL/nobelaccept.html. 
  159. ^ [11]


  • Craig, Mary. Kundun: A Biography of the Family of the Dalai Lama (1997) Counterpoint. Calcutta. ISBN 1887178643
  • Iyer, Pico. The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama (2008) Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. ISBN 0307387550
  • Knaus, Robert Kenneth. Orphans of the Cold War: America and the Tibetan Struggle for Survival (1999) PublicAffairs . ISBN 978-1891620188
  • Richardson, Hugh E. (1984). Tibet & Its History. 1st edition 1962. 2nd edition, Revised and Updated. Shambhala Publications, Boston. ISBN 0-87773-376-7 (pbk).
  • Shakya, Tsering. The Dragon In The Land Of Snows (1999) Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-11814-7


  • The Leader's Way', co-authored with Laurens van den Muyzenberg, ISBN 978-1-85788-511-8
  • The Art of Happiness, co-authored with Howard C. Cutler, M.D. ISBN 0-9656682-9-0
  • The Art of Happiness at Work, co-authored with Howard C. Cutler, M.D. ISBN 1-59448-054-0
  • Mind in Comfort and Ease, Wisdom Publications, ISBN 0-86171-493-8
  • The World of Tibetan Buddhism, translated by Geshe Thupten Jinpa, foreword by Richard Gere, Wisdom Publications, ISBN 0-86171-097-5
  • The Compassionate Life,Wisdom Publications, ISBN 0-86171-378-8
  • Ethics for the New Millennium, Riverhead Books, 1999, ISBN 1-57322-883-4
  • A Simple Path, ISBN 0-00-713887-3
  • Essence of the Heart Sutra, edited by Geshe Thupten Jinpa, Wisdom Publications, ISBN 0-86171-284-6
  • The Meaning of Life: Buddhist Perspectives on Cause and Effect, Translated by Jeffrey Hopkins, Wisdom Publications, ISBN 0-86171-173-4
  • How to Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life, Transl. and ed. by Jeffrey Hopkins, ISBN 0-7434-5336-0
  • Kalachakra Tantra: Rite of Initiation, Edited by Jeffrey Hopkins, Wisdom Publications, ISBN 0-86171-151-3
  • A Good Heart: A Buddhist Perspective on the Teachings of Jesus, Translated by Geshe Thupten Jinpa, Wisdom Publications, ISBN 0-86171-138-6
  • Opening the Eye of New Awareness, Translated by Donald S. Lopez, Jr., Wisdom Publications, ISBN 0-86171-155-6
  • Freedom in Exile: The Autobiography of the Dalai Lama, London: Little, Brown and Co, 1990 ISBN 0-349-10462-X
  • Imagine All the People: A Conversation with the Dalai Lama on Money, Politics, and Life as it Could Be, Coauthored with Fabien Ouaki, Wisdom Publications, ISBN 0-86171-150-5
  • An Open Heart, edited by Nicholas Vreeland. ISBN 0-316-98979-7
  • The Gelug/Kagyü Tradition of Mahamud, co-authored with Alexander Berzin. Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Publications, 1997, ISBN 1-55939-072-7
  • Practicing Wisdom: The Perfection of Shantideva's Bodhisattva Way, translated by Geshe Thupten Jinpa, Wisdom Publications, ISBN 0-86171-182-3
  • The Wisdom of Forgiveness: Intimate Conversations and Journeys, coauthored with Victor Chan, Riverbed Books, 2004, ISBN 1-57322-277-1
  • Tibetan Portrait: The Power of Compassion, photographs by Phil Borges with sayings by Tenzin Gyatso. ISBN 0-8478-1957-4
  • The Heart of Compassion: A Practical Approach to a Meaningful Life, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin: Lotus Press, ISBN 0-940985-36-5
  • Ancient Wisdom, Modern World: Ethics for the new millennium, Abacus Press, 2000, ISBN 0-349-11443-9
  • My Tibet, co-authored with Galen Rowell, ISBN 0-520-08948-0
  • Sleeping, Dreaming, and Dying, edited by Francisco Varela, Wisdom Publications, ISBN 0-86171-123-8
  • The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality, Morgan Road Books, 2005, ISBN 0-7679-2066-X
  • How to Expand Love: Widening the Circle of Loving Relationships, translated and edited by Jeffrey Hopkins, Ph.D., Atria Books, 2005, ISBN 0-7432-6968-3
  • Der Weg des Herzens. Gewaltlosigkeit und Dialog zwischen den Religionen (The Path of the Heart: Non-violence and the Dialogue among Religions), co-authored with Eugen Drewermann, Ph.D., Patmos Verlag, 2003, ISBN 3-4916-9078-1
  • How to See Yourself As You Really Are, Translated and edited by Jeffrey Hopkins, Ph.D. ISBN 0-7432-9045-3
  • MindScience: An East-West Dialogue, with contributions by Herbert Benson, Daniel Goleman, Robert Thurman, and Howard Gardner, Wisdom Publications, ISBN 0-86171-066-5
  • The New Physics and Cosmology: Dialogues with the Dalai Lama, edited by Arthur Zajonc, with contributions by David Finkelstein, George Greenstein, Piet Hut, Tu Wei-ming, Anton Zeilinger, B. Alan Wallace and Thupten Jinpa, Oxford University Press, 2004, ISBN 0-195-15994-2
  • The Power of Buddhism, co-authored with Jean-Claude Carriere ISBN 0717128032
  • Dzogchen: Heart Essence of the Great Perfection, translated by Geshe Thupten Jinpa and Richard Barron, Snow Lion Publications, 2000, ISBN 1559392193
  • Violence and Compassion: Dialogues on Life Today (With Jean-Claude Carriere), Doubleday, 2001. ISBN 978-0385-50144-6

Further reading

  • Mullin, Glenn H. (2001). The Fourteen Dalai Lamas: A Sacred Legacy of Reincarnation, pp. 452–515. Clear Light Publishers. Santa Fe, New Mexico. ISBN 1-57416-092-3.

External links

14th Dalai Lama
Born: 6 July 1935
Buddhist titles
Preceded by
Thubten Gyatso
Dalai Lama
Recognised in 1937
Political offices
Preceded by
Zhang Jingwu
Chief of the Tibet Region, PRC
Succeeded by
Choekyi Gyaltsen


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The essence of spiritual practice is your attitude toward others. When you have a pure, sincere motivation, then you have right attitude toward others based on kindness, compassion, love and respect.

His Holiness, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama (born 6 July 1935) Head of state and spiritual leader of the people of Tibet; Awarded the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize; born Lhamo Dhondrub, renamed Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso (Holy Lord, Gentle Glory, Compassionate, Defender of the Faith, Ocean of Wisdom) upon being officially recognized as the Dalai Lama. Tibetans often refer to him as Yeshe Norbu, the "Wishfulfilling Gem" or just Kundun - "The Presence."



The Great Vehicle path requires the vast motivation of a Bodhisattva, who, not seeking just his or her welfare, takes on the burden of bringing about the welfare of all sentient beings.
  • My true religion is Kindness.
    • Kindness, Clarity, and Insight (1984)
    • Variant: My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.
      • As quoted in Tibet, a Guide to the Land of Fascination (1988) by Trilok Chandra Majupuria and Indra Majupuria
  • It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible. From this, happiness in both the short term and the long term for both yourself and others will come.
    • Kindness, Clarity, and Insight (1984)
  • Religion does not mean just precepts, a temple, monastery, or other external signs, for these as well as hearing and thinking are subsidiary factors in taming the mind. When the mind becomes the practices, one is a practitioner of religion, and when the mind does not become the practices one is not.
    • Deity Yoga (1987) ISBN 0937938505
I am a simple Buddhist monk — no more, no less.
  • What is the Great Vehicle? What is the mode of procedure of the Bodhisattva path? We begin with the topic of the altruistic intention to achieve enlightenment in which one values others more than oneself. The Great Vehicle path requires the vast motivation of a Bodhisattva, who, not seeking just his or her welfare, takes on the burden of bringing about the welfare of all sentient beings. When a person generate this attitude, they enter within the Great Vehicle, and as long as it has not been generated, one cannot be counted among those of the Great Vehicle. This attitude really has great power; it, of course, is helpful for people practicing religion, but it also is helpful for those who are just concerned with the affairs of this lifetime. The root of happiness is altruism — the wish to be of service to others.
    • The Dalai Lama at Harvard: Lectures on the Buddhist Path to Peace (1988) by Jeffrey Hopkins
  • I feel that the essence of spiritual practice is your attitude toward others. When you have a pure, sincere motivation, then you have right attitude toward others based on kindness, compassion, love and respect. Practice brings the clear realisation of the oneness of all human beings and the importance of others benefiting by your actions.
    • Answering the question "Your Holiness, there are many people in the West who want to combine their spiritual practice with social and political responsibility. Do you feel that these two aspects are connected?" in an interview with Catherine Ingram, Dharamsala, India (2 November 1988).
I believe that in the 20th century, humanity has learned from many, many experiences. Some positive, and many negative...
  • It is the enemy who can truly teach us to practice the virtues of compassion and tolerance.
    • Ocean of Wisdom: Guidelines for Living (1989) ISBN 094066609X
    • Unsourced variant: In the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher.
  • I am a simple Buddhist monk — no more, no less.
    • As quoted in Nobel Prize Winners (1991) by by Lisa F. Dewitt
  • Dr. Rajendra Prasad was a true Bodhisatva. His humility brought tears to my eyes.
    • Freedom in Exile: The Autobiography of the Dalai Lama (1991)
Bodhicitta is the medicine which revives and gives life to every sentient being who even hears of it.
  • Don't compare me with Jesus. He is a great master, a great master...
    • Interview in The New York Times (28 November 1993)
  • I believe that in the 20th century, humanity has learned from many, many experiences. Some positive, and many negative. What misery, what destruction! The greatest number of human beings were killed in the two world wars of this century. But human nature is such that when we face a tremendous critical situation, the human mind can wake up and find some other alternative. That is a human capacity.
    • Interview in The New York Times (28 November 1993)
  • Reason well from the beginning and then there will never be any need to look back with confusion and doubt.
    • The Path to Enlightenment (1994) ISBN 1559390328
  • Human happiness and human satisfaction must ultimately come from within oneself. It is wrong to expect some final satisfaction to come from money or from a computer.
    • The Path to Tranquility: Daily Wisdom (1998) edited by Renuka Singh
  • Bodhicitta is the medicine which revives and gives life to every sentient being who even hears of it. When you engage in fulfilling the needs of others, your own needs are fulfilled as a by-product.
    • The Path to Tranquility: Daily Wisdom (1998) edited by Renuka Singh
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
  • It is also possible within this lifetime to enhance the power of the mind, enabling one to reaccess memories from previous lives. Such recollection tends to be more accessible during meditative experiences in the dream state. Once one has accessed memories of previous lives in the dream state, one gradually recalls them in the waking state.
    • Consciousness at the Crossroads: Conversations with The Dalai Lama on Brain Science and Buddhism (1999) ISBN 1559391278
  • If there is love, there is hope that one may have real families, real brotherhood, real equanimity, real peace. If the love within your mind is lost and you see other beings as enemies, then no matter how much knowledge or education or material comfort you have, only suffering and confusion will ensue
    • The Little Book of Buddhism (2000) ISBN 0712602402
  • If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
    • As quoted in Meditations for Living In Balance: Daily Solutions for People Who Do Too Much (2000) by Anne Wilson Schaef, p. 11
  • Within the body there are billions of different particles. Similarly, there are many different thoughts and a variety of states of mind. It is wise to take a close look into the world of your mind and to make the distinction between beneficial and harmful states of mind. Once you can recognize the value of good states of mind, you can increase or foster them.
    • The Dalai Lama's Book of Wisdom (2000)
True compassion is not just an emotional response but a firm commitment founded on reason...
  • Compassion without attachment is possible. Therefore, we need to clarify the distinctions between compassion and attachment. True compassion is not just an emotional response but a firm commitment founded on reason. Therefore, a truly compassionate attitude towards others does not change even if they behave negatively. Genuine compassion is based not on our own projections and expectations, but rather on the needs of the other...
    • The Compassionate Life (2001), Ch. 2 "How to Develop Compassion" p. 21
All living beings are believed to possess the nature of the Primordial Buddha Samantabhadra, the potential or seed of enlightenment, within them.
  • From the moment of birth every human being wants happiness and freedom and wants to avoid suffering. In this we are all the same; and the more we care for the happiness of others the greater our own sense of each other becomes. Many of our problems are created by ourselves based on divisions due to ideology, religion, race, resources, economic status or other factors. The time has come to think on a deeper, more human level and appreciate and respect our sameness as human beings. And to have a respect for endangered cultures that share these principles. We are at the dawn of an age in which many people feel that extreme political concepts should cease to dominate human affairs. We should use this opportunity to replace them with universal human and spiritual values and ensure that these values become the fiber of the global family that is emerging. It is not possible to find peace with anger, hatred, jealousy or greed. At every level of society, familial, tribal, national and international, the key to a happier and more peaceful and successful world is the growth of compassion. We do not necessarily need to become religious, nor even believe in an ideology. We need only to develop our good human qualities and know that love and compassion are the most essential concepts for human survival. So long as human beings live and suffer, the only world open to our present knowledge, the brotherhood of man will seem an unattainable principle. In order for us to achieve real lasting peace among one another, the effort to realize that noblest and most satisfactory moral value must be occupation of every individual intelligence.
    • The Compassionate Life (2001) Ch. 3 "Global Compassion"
  • According to Buddhism, individuals are masters of their own destiny. And all living beings are believed to possess the nature of the Primordial Buddha Samantabhadra, the potential or seed of enlightenment, within them. So our future is in our own hands. What greater free will do we need?
    • Answering the question: "Do sentient beings have free will?" in Dzogchen : The Heart Essence of the Great Perfection (2001) ISBN 155939157X
As in science so in Buddhism, understanding the nature of reality is pursued by means of critical investigation...
  • We need a little more compassion, and if we cannot have it then no politician or even a magician can save the planet.
    • As quoted in Words Of Wisdom: Selected Quotes by His Holiness the Dalai Lama (2001) edited by Margaret Gee, p. 49
  • Compassion and tolerance are not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.
    • As quoted in Words Of Wisdom: Selected Quotes by His Holiness the Dalai Lama (2001) edited by Margaret Gee, p. 71
  • Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.
    • As quoted in A Small Drop of Ink: A Collection of Inspirational and Moving Quotations of the Ages (2003) by Linda Pendleton
  • My confidence in venturing into science lies in my basic belief that as in science so in Buddhism, understanding the nature of reality is pursued by means of critical investigation: if scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims.
    • The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality (2005)
  • If science proves some belief of Buddhism wrong, then Buddhism will have to change. In my view, science and Buddhism share a search for the truth and for understanding reality. By learning from science about aspects of reality where its understanding may be more advanced, I believe that Buddhism enriches its own worldview.
    • The New York Times (12 November 2005)
All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion and forgiveness... the important thing is they should be part of our daily lives.
  • All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion and forgiveness ... the important thing is they should be part of our daily lives.
    • As quoted in Especially for Christians: Powerful Thought-provoking Words from the Past (2005) by Mark Alton Rose, p. 19
The time has come to educate people, to cease all quarrels in the name of religion, culture, countries, different political or economic systems...
  • His Holiness Pope John Paul II was a man I held in high regard. His experience in Poland and my own difficulties with communists gave us an immediate ground.
    The Pope was very sympathetic to the Tibetan problem. Of course, as the head of an institution trying to establish good relations with China and seriously concerned about the status of millions of Christians in china he could not express this publicly or officially. But right from the start of our friendship he revealed to me privately that he had a clear understanding of the Tibetan problem because of his own experience of communism in Poland. This gave me great personal encouragement.
  • Media people should have long noses like an elephant to smell out politicians, mayors, prime ministers and businessmen. We need to know the reality, the good and the bad, not just the appearance.
  • The time has come to educate people, to cease all quarrels in the name of religion, culture, countries, different political or economic systems. Fighting is useless. Suicide.
    • News conference in Vancouver, B.C. as quoted in The Globe and Mail. (8 September 2006)

Letter to Deng Xiaoping (1981)

Letter to Deng Xiaoping (23 March 1981) Full text online
  • I agree with and believe in the Communist ideology which seeks the well being of human beings in general and the proletariat in particular, and in Lenin's policy of the equality of nationalities. Similarly, I was pleased with the discussions I had with Chairman Mao on ideology and the policy towards nationalities.
    If that same ideology and policy were implemented it would have brought much admiration and happiness. However, if one is to make a general comment on the developments during the past two decades, there has been a lapse in economic and educational progress, the basis of human happiness. Moreover, on account of the hardships caused by the unbearable disruptions, there has been a loss of trust between the Party and the masses, between the officials and the masses, among the officials themselves, and also among the masses themselves.
    By deceiving one another through false assumptions and misrepresentations there has been, in reality, a great lapse and delay in achieving the real goals.
  • It is regrettable that some Tibetan officials, who lack the wisdom and competence required for promoting basic human happiness and the short and long term welfare of their own people, indulge in flattering Chinese officials and, collaborate with these Chinese officials who know nothing about Tibetans and work simply for their temporary fame indulging in fabricating impressive reports. In reality, the Tibetan people have not only undergone immeasurable sufferings, but large numbers have also unnecessarily lost their lives.
  • On the political front, we have always pursued the path of truth and justice in our struggle for the legitimate rights of the Tibetan people. We have never indulged in distortions, exaggerations and criticism of the Chinese people. Neither have we harboured any ill will towards them. Above all, we have always held to our position of truth and justice without siding with any of the international political power blocks.
  • We must improve the relationship between China and Tibet as well as between Tibetans in and outside Tibet. With truth and equality as our foundation, we must try to develop friendship between Tibetans and Chinese through better understanding in the future. The time has come to apply our common wisdom in a spirit of tolerance and broadmindedness to achieve genuine happiness for the Tibetan people with a sense of urgency.
    On my part, I remain committed to contribute my efforts for the welfare of all human beings, and in particular the poor and the weak to the best of my ability without any distinction based on national boundaries.

Nobel acceptance speech (1989)

Nobel acceptance speech (10 December 1989) Full text online
I am convinced that everyone can develop a good heart and a sense of universal responsibility with or without religion.
  • I believe all suffering is caused by ignorance. People inflict pain on others in the selfish pursuit of their happiness or satisfaction. Yet true happiness comes from a sense of inner peace and contentment, which in turn must be achieved through the cultivation of altruism, of love and compassion and elimination of ignorance, selfishness and greed.
    The problems we face today, violent conflicts, destruction of nature, poverty, hunger, and so on, are human-created problems which can be resolved through human effort, understanding and the development of a sense of brotherhood and sisterhood. We need to cultivate a universal responsibility for one another and the planet we share. Although I have found my own Buddhist religion helpful in generating love and compassion, even for those we consider our enemies, I am convinced that everyone can develop a good heart and a sense of universal responsibility with or without religion.
I am optimistic that the ancient values that have sustained mankind are today reaffirming themselves to prepare us for a kinder, happier twenty-first century.
  • With the ever-growing impact of science on our lives, religion and spirituality have a greater role to play by reminding us of our humanity. There is no contradiction between the two. Each gives us valuable insights into the other. Both science and the teachings of the Buddha tell us of the fundamental unity of all things. This understanding is crucial if we are to take positive and decisive action on the pressing global concern with the environment. I believe all religions pursue the same goals, that of cultivating human goodness and bringing happiness to all human beings. Though the means might appear different the ends are the same.
  • As we enter the final decade of this century I am optimistic that the ancient values that have sustained mankind are today reaffirming themselves to prepare us for a kinder, happier twenty-first century.
    I pray for all of us, oppressor and friend, that together we succeed in building a better world through human understanding and love, and that in doing so we may reduce the pain and suffering of all sentient beings.

Nobel lecture (1989)

Nobel lecture (11 December 1989) Full text online
We have to learn to live in harmony and peace with each other and with nature. That is not just a dream, but a necessity.
  • When I meet people in different parts of the world, I am always reminded that we are all basically alike: we are all human beings. Maybe we have different clothes, our skin is of a different colour, or we speak different languages. That is on the surface. But basically, we are the same human beings. That is what binds us to each other. That is what makes it possible for us to understand each other and to develop friendship and closeness.
  • Because we all share this small planet earth, we have to learn to live in harmony and peace with each other and with nature. That is not just a dream, but a necessity. We are dependent on each other in so many ways, that we can no longer live in isolated communities and ignore what is happening outside those communities, and we must share the good fortune that we enjoy.
Inner peace is the key: if you have inner peace, the external problems do not affect your deep sense of peace and tranquility.
  • I speak not with a feeling of anger or hatred towards those who are responsible for the immense suffering of our people and the destruction of our land, homes and culture. They too are human beings who struggle to find happiness and deserve our compassion. I speak to inform you of the sad situation in my country today and of the aspirations of my people, because in our struggle for freedom, truth is the only weapon we possess.
  • Today, we are truly a global family. What happens in one part of the world may affect us all. This, of course, is not only true of the negative things that happen, but is equally valid for the positive developments. We not only know what happens elsewhere, thanks to the extraordinary modern communications technology. We are also directly affected by events that occur far away.
  • Our own security is enhanced when peace breaks out between warring parties in other continents.
    But war or peace; the destruction or the protection of nature; the violation or promotion of human rights and democratic freedoms; poverty or material well-being; the lack of moral and spiritual values or their existence and development; and the breakdown or development of human understanding, are not isolated phenomena that can be analysed and tackled independently of one another. In fact, they are very much interrelated at all levels and need to be approached with that understanding.
  • Peace can only last where human rights are respected, where the people are fed, and where individuals and nations are free. True peace with oneself and with the world around us can only be achieved through the development of mental peace.
  • Inner peace is the key: if you have inner peace, the external problems do not affect your deep sense of peace and tranquility. In that state of mind you can deal with situations with calmness and reason, while keeping your inner happiness. That is very important. Without this inner peace, no matter how comfortable your life is materially, you may still be worried, disturbed or unhappy because of circumstances.
  • Responsibility does not only lie with the leaders of our countries or with those who have been appointed or elected to do a particular job. It lies with each one of us individually.
I would like to take this opportunity to explain the Zone of Ahimsa or peace sanctuary concept...
  • I am deeply touched by the sincere concern shown by so many people in this part of the world for the suffering of the people of Tibet. That is a source of hope not only for us Tibetans, but for all oppressed people.
  • I would like to take this opportunity to explain the Zone of Ahimsa or peace sanctuary concept, which is the central element of the Five-Point Peace Plan. I am convinced that it is of great importance not only for Tibet, but for peace and stability in Asia.
    It is my dream that the entire Tibetan plateau should become a free refuge where humanity and nature can live in peace and in harmonious balance.
  • The following are key elements of the proposed Zone of Ahimsa:
  • the entire Tibetan plateau would be demilitarised;
  • the manufacture, testing, and stockpiling of nuclear weapons and other armaments on the Tibetan plateau would be prohibited;
  • the Tibetan plateau would be transformed into the world's largest natural park or biosphere. Strict laws would be enforced to protect wildlife and plant life; the exploitation of natural resources would be carefully regulated so as not to damage relevant ecosystems; and a policy of sustainable development would be adopted in populated areas;
  • the manufacture and use of nuclear power and other technologies which produce hazardous waste would be prohibited;
  • national resources and policy would be directed towards the active promotion of peace and environmental protection. Organisations dedicated to the furtherance of peace and to the protection of all forms of life would find a hospitable home in Tibet;
  • the establishment of international and regional organisations for the promotion and protection of human rights would be encouraged in Tibet.
For as long as space endures, and for as long as living beings remain, until then may I, too, abide to dispel the misery of the world.
  • For the stability and peace of Asia, it is essential to create peace zones to separate the continent's biggest powers and potential adversaries.
  • When I visited Costa Rica earlier this year, I saw how a country can develop successfully without an army, to become a stable democracy committed to peace and the protection of the natural environment. This confirmed my belief that my vision of Tibet in the future is a realistic plan, not merely a dream.
  • I believe that our Tibetan ability to combine spiritual qualities with a realistic and practical attitude enables us to make a special contribution, in however modest a way. This is my hope and prayer.
    In conclusion, let me share with you a short prayer which gives me great inspiration and determination:
For as long as space endures,
And for as long as living beings remain,
Until then may I, too, abide
To dispel the misery of the world.

The Dalai Lama: A Policy of Kindness (1990)

The Dalai Lama, A Policy of Kindness: An Anthology by and about the Dalai Lama (1990) edited by Sidney Piburn ISBN 8120815122
An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful...
  • 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.
    • As quoted in "Tibet's Living Buddha" by Pico Iyer, p. 32
  • Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn't anyone who doesn't appreciate kindness and compassion.
    • "Kindness and Compassion" p. 47
  • If I say, "I am a monk." or "I am a Buddhist," these are, in comparison to my nature as a human being, temporary. To be human is basic.
    • "Kindness and Compassion" p. 47
  • Today we face many problems. Some are created essentially by ourselves based on divisions due to ideology, religion, race, economic status, or other factors. Therefore, the time has come for us to think on a deeper level, on the human level, and from that level we should appreciate and respect the sameness of others as human beings.
    • "Kindness and Compassion" p. 47
  • 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.
    • "Kindness and Compassion" p. 52
To study Buddhism and then use it as a weapon in order to criticize others' theories or ideologies is wrong. The very purpose of religion is to control yourself, not to criticize others.
  • To study Buddhism and then use it as a weapon in order to criticize others' theories or ideologies is wrong. The very purpose of religion is to control yourself, not to criticize others. Rather, we must criticize ourselves. How much am I doing about my anger? About my attachment, about my hatred, about my pride, my jealousy? These are the things which we must check in daily life with the knowledge of the Buddhist teachings.
    • "A Talk to Western Buddhists" p. 87
  • As Buddhists, while we practice our own teaching, we must respect other faiths, Christianity, Judaism and so forth. We must recognize and appreciate their contributions over many past centuries to human society, and at this time we must strive to make common effort to serve humankind.
    • "A Talk to Western Buddhists" p. 87
  • Sectarian feelings and criticism of other teachings or other sects is very bad, poisonous, and should be avoided.
    • "A Talk to Western Buddhists" p. 87
  • It is necessary to help others, not only in our prayers, but in our daily lives. If we find we cannot help others, the least we can do is to desist from harming them.
    • "A Talk to Western Buddhists" p. 89
As time passes I have firmed my conviction that all religions can work together despite fundamental differences in philosophy. Every religion aims at serving humanity. Therefore, it is possible for the various religions to work together to serve humanity and contribute to world peace.
  • If there are sound reasons or bases for the points you demand, then there is no need for violence. On the other hand, when there is no sound reason that concessions should be made to you but mainly your own desire, then reason cannot work and you have to rely on force. Thus using force is not a sign of strength but rather a sign of weakness.
    • "The Nobel Evening Address" p. 115
  • As a result of more contact with people from other traditions, as time passes I have firmed my conviction that all religions can work together despite fundamental differences in philosophy. Every religion aims at serving humanity. Therefore, it is possible for the various religions to work together to serve humanity and contribute to world peace. So, during these last few years, at every opportunity I try to develop closer relations with other religions.
    • "The Nobel Evening Address" p. 115
  • Buddhism does not accept a theory of God, or a creator. According to Buddhism, one's own actions are the creator, ultimately. Some people say that, from a certain angle, Buddhism is not a religion but rather a science of mind. Religion has much involvement with faith. Sometimes it seems that there is quite a distance between a way of thinking based on faith and one entirely based on experiment, remaining skeptical. Unless you find something through investigation, you do not want to accept it as fact. From one viewpoint, Buddhism is a religion, from another viewpoint Buddhism is a science of mind and not a religion. Buddhism can be a bridge between these two sides. Therefore, with this conviction I try to have closer ties with scientists, mainly in the fields of cosmology, psychology, neurobiology and physics. In these fields there are insights to share, and to a certain extent we can work together.
    • "The Nobel Evening Address" p. 115

Daily Telegraph interview (2006)

"Westerners are too self-absorbed" by Alice Thomson, in The Daily Telegraph (1 March 2006)
  • In the West, you have bigger homes, yet smaller families; you have endless conveniences — yet you never seem to have any time. You can travel anywhere in the world, yet you don’t bother to cross the road to meet your neighbours.
  • Some say I am a good person, some say I am a charlatan — I am just a monk... I never asked people like Richard Gere to come, but it is foolish to stop them. I have Tibetans, Indians, backpackers, Aids patients, religious people, politicians, actors and princesses. My attitude is to give everyone some of my time. If I can contribute in any way to their happiness, that makes me happy.
  • I don't want to convert people to Buddhism — all major religions, when understood properly, have the same potential for good.
  • Fundamentalism is terrifying because it is based purely on emotion, rather than intelligence. It prevents followers from thinking as individuals and about the good of the world.


Instructions for Life

These statements were falsely attributed to the Dalai Lama in an email hoax. They actually derive from advice in Life's Little Instruction Book: 511 suggestions, observations, and reminders on how to live a happy and rewarding life (1991) by H. Jackson Brown, Jr; More information is available on the hoax at Snopes.com
  1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
  2. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.
  3. Follow the three Rs: Respect for self, Respect for others and Responsibility for all your actions.
  4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
  5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
  6. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
  7. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
  8. Spend some time alone every day.
  9. Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values.
  10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
  11. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time.
  12. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don't bring up the past.
  13. Share your knowledge. It's a way to achieve immortality.
  14. Be gentle with the earth.
  15. Once a year, go someplace you've never been before.
  16. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
  17. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
  18. Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.

Quotes about the 14th Dalai Lama

In awarding the Peace Prize to H.H. the Dalai Lama we affirm our unstinting support for his work for peace, and for the unarmed masses on the march in many lands for liberty, peace and human dignity. ~ Egil Aarvik, Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee
  • The Dalai Lama in his struggle for the liberation of Tibet consistently has opposed the use of violence. He has instead advocated peaceful solutions based upon tolerance and mutual respect in order to preserve the historical and cultural heritage of his people.
    The Dalai Lama has developed his philosophy of peace from a great reverence for all things living and upon the concept of universal responsibility embracing all mankind as well as nature.
  • The world has shrunk. Increasingly peoples and nations have grown dependent on one another. No one can any longer act entirely in his own interest. It is therefore imperative that we should accept mutual responsibility for all political, economic, and ecological problems.
    In view of this, fewer and fewer people would venture to dismiss the Dalai Lama's philosophy as utopian: on the contrary, one would be increasingly justified in asserting that his gospel of nonviolence is the truly realistic one, with most promise for the future. And this applies not only to Tibet but to each and every conflict. The future hopes of oppressed millions are today linked to the unarmed battalions, for they will win the peace: the justice of their demands, moreover, is now so clear and the normal strength of their struggle so indomitable that they can only temporarily be halted by force of arms.
    In awarding the Peace Prize to H.H. the Dalai Lama we affirm our unstinting support for his work for peace, and for the unarmed masses on the march in many lands for liberty, peace and human dignity.
  • There's no question that His Holiness is my root guru, and he's been quite tough with me at times. I've had to explain to people who sometimes have quite a romantic vision of His Holiness that at times he's been cross with me, but it was very skillful. At the moment he did it, I'm not saying it was pleasant for me, but there was no ego attachment from his side. I'm very thankful that he trusts me enough to be the mirror for me and not pull any punches. Mind you, the first meetings were not that way; I think he was aware how fragile I was and was being very careful. Now I think he senses that my seriousness about the teachings has increased and my own strength within the teachings has increased. He can be much tougher on me.
  • I found also that the question of His Holiness in terms of a political movement was very tricky. It's a non-violent movement, which is a problem in itself-you don't get headlines with nonviolence. And His Holiness doesn't see himself as Gandhi; he doesn't create dramatic, operatic situations.
    So we've ended up taking a much steadier kind of approach. It's not about drama. It's about, little by little, building truth, and I think it's probably been deeper because of that. The senators, congressmen, legislators and parliamentarians who have got involved go way beyond what they would normally give to a cause they believed in.
    • Richard Gere, in "My Journey as a Buddhist" an interview with Melvin McLeod in Shambhala Sun (May 1999)
  • I think the universality of His Holiness' words and teachings have made this so much bigger than just Tibet. When His Holiness won the Nobel Peace Prize, there was a quantum leap. He is not seen as solely a Tibetan anymore; he belongs to the world.
    • Richard Gere, in "My Journey as a Buddhist" an interview with Melvin McLeod in Shambhala Sun (May 1999)
  • His Holiness opposes violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation. He urges respect, tolerance, compassion and the full recognition of human rights for all.
    • Office of Tibet spokeswoman Dawa Tsering

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