The Three Jewels
The Buddha
The Dharma (teachings)
The Sangha (community)
Three Vehicles
The Four Noble Truths
Death & Rebirth
The Mind
Four Immeasurables
Compassion & Bodhicitta
Wisdom of Emptiness
Spiritual Teacher
Going for Refuge
FAQ- sheet
Practice & Meditation
Everyday Behaviour
What is Meditation
How to Meditate
58 Meditations
Tantric Preliminaries
Tantric Practice
Problematic Emotions
Lack of Self-Confidence
Other Delusions
In General Buddhism
In Tantra
5 Dhyani Buddhas
In Tibetan Buddhism
In the Kalachakra Tantra
Stories, Quotes & Fun
Stories from the Heart
Buddhist Stories
New Buddhist Quotes
Quotes of Wisdom
Funny Pages...
My Main Teachers
The Dalai Lama
Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche
Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Sutras & Practices

Vows & Prayers...

Teksty w jezyku polskim
History of Buddhism...
Recommended Books

New Controversy
A to Z Glossary
Number Glossary
Contact & about me
Tibetan Buddhism
Buddhism in Tibet
Tibetan Calendar
Tibetan Astrology
Tibetan Symbolism
A Taste of Zen
Buddhism in Japan
Zen FAQ-sheet
Zen Poems and Haiku
Zen Stories
Zen Computer Fun
Web Links
Search this Site



    Modern version of the Eternal Knot by Charles Huttner
A View on Buddhism
Teksty w jezyku polskim     Deutsche Seiten

Quotations on:

Return to the Quotations Index

His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Sometimes we feel that one individual's action is very insignificant. Then we think, of course, that effects should come from channeling or from a unifying movement. But the movement of the society, community or group of people means joining individuals. Society means a collection of individuals, so that initiative must come from individuals. Unless each individual develops a sense of responsibility, the whole community cannot move. So therefore, it is very essential that we should not feel that individual effort is meaningless- you should not feel that way. We should make an effort.
The Dalai Lama's Book of Love and Compassion'

We can't blame one individual for what happens in our world. I think we should blame our entire society. Society produces our leaders and politicians, and if we try to develop a more compassionate and affectionate society, we will have human beings with a more peaceful nature. Leaders, politicians, and businesspeople coming from such a society would offer hope for a better world. Our long-term responsibility--everyone's responsibility, whether they are believers or nonbelievers--is to find ways to promote a peaceful and compassionate society.
I think one way is quite simple. Each individual must try to ensure peace and compassion in his [or her] family. Put together ten peaceful, compassionate homes, or one hundred, and that's a community. The children in such a society would receive affection in their family and in their schools from the educators concerned. We might have one or two setbacks, but generally I think we could develop a sensible society. Sensible here means a sense of community, a sense of responsibility, and a sense of commitment.
Many Ways to Nirvana: Reflections and Advice on Right Living

External disarmament is very, very important. Already, there is some movement. My dream is that one day the whole world will be demilitarized, but we cannot achieve this overnight. Also, we cannot achieve it without a proper, systematic plan; however, it is important to make the target clear. Even though it may take one hundred years, or fifty years, that doesn't matter. Establish a clear idea or clear target; then try to achieve it step by step. As a first step, we have already started with the elimination of antipersonnel mines and biological weapons. Also, we are already reducing nuclear weapons; eventually, there should be a total ban on nuclear weapons. This is now foreseeable; the idea of its possibility is approaching. These are great, hopeful signs.
The Art of Peace: Nobel Peace Laureates Discuss Human Rights, Conflict and Reconciliation

As human beings, we are all the same. So there is no need to build some kind of artificial barrier between us. At least my own experience is that if you have this kind of attitude, there is no barrier. Whatever I feel, I can express; I can call you 'my old friend'. There is nothing to hide, and no need to say things in a way that is not straightforward. So this gives me a kind of space in my mind, with the result that I do not have to be suspicious of others all the time. And this really gives me inner satisfaction, and inner peace.
So I call this feeling a 'genuine realization of the oneness of the whole of humanity'. We are all members of one human family. I think that this understanding is very important, especially now that the world is becoming smaller and smaller. In ancient times, even in a small village, people were able to exist more or less independently. There was not so much need for others' co-operation. These days, the economic structure has completely changed.... We are heavily dependent on one another, and also as a result of mass communication, the barriers of the past are greatly reduced. Today, because of the complexity of interdependence, every crisis on this planet is essentially related with every other, like a chain reaction. Consequently it is worthwhile taking every crisis as a global one. Here barriers such as 'this nation' or 'that nation' , 'this continent', or 'that continent' are simply obstacles. Therefore today, for the future of the human race, it is more important than ever before that we develop a genuine sense of brotherhood and sisterhood. I usually call this a sense of 'universal responsibility'.
Dzogchen: The Heart Essence of the Great Perfection

Look around us at this world that we call "civilized" and that for more than 2,000 years has searched to obtain happiness and avoid suffering by false means: trickery, corruption, hate, abuse of power, and exploitation of others. We have searched only for individual and material happiness, opposing people against each other, one race against another, social systems against others. This has led to a time of fear, of suffering, murder, and famine. If in India, Africa, and other countries, misery and famine rule, it is not because natural resources are lacking, nor that the means of bringing about lasting well-being are flawed. It is because each person has looked only for his own profit without fear of oppressing others for selfish goals, and this sad and pitiful world is the result. The root of this civilization is rotten, the world suffers, and if it continues in this way, it will suffer more and more.

War, sadly, has remained a part of human history up to the present, but I think the time has come to change the concepts that lead to war. Some people consider war to be something glorious; they think that through war they can become heroes. This attitude toward war is very wrong. Recently an interviewer remarked to me, "Westerners have a great fear of death, but Easterners seem to have very little fear of death."
To that I half-jokingly responded, "It seems to me that, to the Western mind, war and the military establishment are extremely important. War means death--by killing, not by natural causes. So it seems that, in fact, you are the ones who do not fear death, because you are so fond of war. We Easterners, particularly Tibetans, cannot even begin to consider war; we cannot conceive of fighting, because the inevitable result of war is disaster: death, injuries, and misery. Therefore, the concept of war, in our minds, is extremely negative. That would seem to mean we actually have more fear of death than you. Don't you think?
The Compassionate Life

In today’s highly interdependent world, individuals and nations can no longer resolve many of their problems by themselves. We need one another. We must therefore develop a sense of universal responsibility . . . It is our collective and individual responsibility to protect and nurture the global family, to support its weaker members, and to preserve and tend to the environment in which we all live.

Many places have been totally changed through the use of police force and the power of guns--the Soviet Union, China, Burma, the Philippines, many communist countries, countries in Africa and South America. But eventually, you see, the power of guns and the power of the will of ordinary human beings will change places. I am always telling people that our century is very important historically for the planet. There is a big competition between world peace and world war, between the force of mind and the force of materialism, between democracy and totalitarianism. And now within this century, the force of peace is gaining the upper hand. Still, of course, the material force is very strong, but there is a kind of dissatisfaction about materialism and a realization or feeling that something is missing.
...entering the twenty-first century, I think the basic concerns are human values and the value of truth. These things have more value, more weight now.
A Policy of Kindness

Another problem we face today is the gap between rich and poor. In this great country of America, your forefathers established the concepts of democracy, freedom, liberty, equality, and equal opportunity for every citizen. These are provided for by your wonderful Constitution. However, the number of billionaires in this country is increasing while the poor remain poor, in some cases getting even poorer. This is very unfortunate. On the global level as well, we see rich nations and poor ones. This is also very unfortunate. It is not just morally wrong, but practically it is a source of unrest and trouble that will eventually find its way to our door. of my elder brothers, who is no longer alive, would tell me of his experiences living in America. He lived a humble life and told me of the troubles, the fears, the killings, theft, and rape that people endured. These are, I think, the result of economic inequality in society. It is only natural that difficulties arise if we must fight day by day in order to survive while another human being, equal to us, is effortlessly living a luxurious life. This is an unhealthy situation; as a result, even the wealthy--the billionaires and millionaires--remain in constant anxiety. I therefore think that this huge gap between rich and poor is very unfortunate.
...So, for those of you who are poor, those who come from difficult situations, I strongly urge you to work hard, with self-confidence, to make use of your opportunities. The richer people should be more caring toward the poorer ones, and the poor should make every effort, with self-confidence.
An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life

I consider it very important for religion to have an influence on politicians. Politicians need religion much more than pious people who have withdrawn from the world need it. There is a constant increase in the scandals in politics and business that can be traced back to the lack of self-discipline on the part of the responsible parties. In India, the minister-president of West Bengal once said to me with what he considered a humble attitude that he was a politician and not a religious person. I responded to him: politicians need religion more than anyone else.
When hermits in solitude are bad persons, the result is that they harm themselves alone and no one else. But when such influential people as politicians are full of bad intentions, they can bring misfortune to many. This is why religion, as continuous work on our inner maturity, is important for political rulers.
A politician must have moral principles. I am convinced of this. Seen in this light, politics and religion belong together. In the United States, church and state may be separate, but when the president takes office, he makes a vow in the name of God with his hand on the Bible. This means that God should be the witness that the president will conscientiously fulfill his official duties.
Path of Wisdom, Path of Peace: A Personal Conversation

It is not enough to be compassionate. You must act. There are two aspects to action. One is to overcome the distortions and afflictions of your own mind, that is, in terms of calming and eventually dispelling anger. This is action out of compassion. The other is more social, more public. When something needs to be done in the world to rectify the wrongs, if one is really concerned with benefiting others, one needs to be engaged, involved.

I make a distinction between Buddhism with a Capital 'B' and buddhism with a small 'b'. Sri Lanka has the former, in which the state uses Buddhism as an instrument of power, so there are even Buddhists monks who say the Tamils should be eliminated. Thai Buddhists are not perfect either. Some Thai Buddhist monks have compromised with the kind and possess cars and other luxuries. In many Buddhist countries, the emphasis is on being goody-goody, which is not good enough.
I am for buddhism with a small 'b' which is non-violent, practical and aims to eliminate the cause of suffering..
Ven. Sulak Sivaraksa

In order for the chickens to produce more eggs, the farmers create artificial days and nights. They use indoor lighting to create a shorter day and night so that the chickens believe that 24 hours have passed, and then they produce more eggs. There is a lot of anger, a lot of frustration, and much suffering in the chickens. They express their anger and frustration by attacking the other chickens next to them. They use heir beaks to peck and wound each other. They cause each other to bleed, to suffer and to die. That is why farmers now cut the beaks off all the chickens... So when you eat the flesh or egg of such a chicken, you are eating anger and frustration. So be aware.
A Lifetime of Peace : Essential Writings By & About Thich Nhat Hanh

Previous Page | ^Top of Page   Quotations Index

Last updated: December 11, 2016