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Quote of the Week: His Holiness the Dalai Lama

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It’s hard to believe that I’ve never included His Holiness the Dalai Lama in this “Quote of the Week” feature, but that seems to be the case!

His Holiness needs little introduction, but here are the basics:

  • • Born on July 6, 1935 in northeastern Tibet
  • • Was recognized as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama when he was two years old
  • • In 1959, he escaped from Tibet to live in exile in Dharamsala, India, where he has been ever since
  • • Proposed a “Five Point Peace Plan” for Tibet in 1987
  • • An extraordinary man, and yet a “simple monk”

Here are words of wisdom from His Holiness (from the anthology The Path of Compassion: Writings on Socially Engaged Buddhism):

Although attempting to bring about world peace through the internal
 transformation of individuals is difficult, it is the only way to achieve a lasting world peace. Even if it is not achieved during my own lifetime, that is all right. More human beings will come–the next generation and the one after that–and progress can continue. I feel that despire the practical difficulties and the fact that this is regarded as an unrealistic view, it is worthwhile to make the attempt. So wherever I go, I express this, and I am encouraged that people from many different walks of life receive it well.

…This is my simple religion. There is no need for complicated philosophies, not even for temples. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple. The philosophy is kindness.

Kindness

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My dharma friend Mitchell Ratner took this photo on his recent pilgrimage to Tibet and Mt. Kailash. I share it with you here because I love this quote. His Holiness the Dalai Lama as a knack for getting to the heart of the matter.

(taken at Kopan Monastery by Mitchell Ratner)

Quote of the Week: Thomas Merton

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Thomas Merton and HH the Dalai Lama

Every once in a while I like to shake things up and include quotes from buddhas, not necessarily “capital B Buddhists.” Trappist monk Thomas Merton (1915 – 1968) falls into that category. Like Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Merton was also a contemporary of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh, and made great contributions to Christian-Buddhist dialogue.

This quote comes from Merton’s book Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander (1968), and seems especially relevant in today’s wired world.

The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence….

The frenzy of the activist neutralizes his work for peace. It destroys his own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of his own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.

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If you enjoyed this post, I invite you to visit my other website: The Liberated Life Project — a personal transformation blog with a social conscience.

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