We, humans, are social beings. We come into the world as the result of others’ actions. We survive here in dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives in which we do not benefit from others’ activities. For this reason, it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others. Nor is it so remarkable that our greatest joy should come when we are motivated by concern for others. But that is not all. We find that not only do altruistic actions bring about happiness, but they also lessen our experience of suffering. Here I am not suggesting that the individual whose actions are motivated by the wish to bring others happiness necessarily meets with less misfortune than the one who does not. Sickness, old age, mishaps of one sort or another are the same for us all. But the sufferings which undermine our internal peace — anxiety, doubt, disappointment — these are definitely less. ~ ‘The Pocket Dalai Lama,’ pages 6-7, by His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama
Monthly Archives: September 2012
I have great hopes that the world may become a better, more peaceful, more equitable place in the twenty-first century. From my own experience, at 16 I lost my freedom, at 24 I lost my country and for the last, more than 50 years have faced all sorts of problems, but I have never given up hope. We have a Tibetan saying, ‘Nine times fall down, Nine times pick yourself up.’ ~ His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama
Generally speaking, even if money brings us happiness, it tends to be the kind that money can buy: material things and sensory experiences. And these, we discover, become a source of suffering themselves. As far as actual possessions are concerned, we must admit that they often cause us more, not less, difficulty in life. The car breaks down; we lose our money, our most precious belongings are stolen, our house is damaged by fire. Or we worry about these things happening.
The problem is not materialism as such. Rather it is the underlying assumption that full satisfaction can arise from gratifying the senses alone. Unlike animals whose quest for happiness is restricted to survival and to the immediate gratification of sensory desires, we human beings have the capacity to experience happiness at a deeper level, which, when achieved, can overwhelm unhappy experiences. ~ His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama, The Pocket Dalai Lama, Pages 3-4.
It’s our nature to want happiness and not want suffering. Thus, Buddhists do not ask that one give up the pursuit of happiness, but merely suggest that one become more intelligent about how happiness is pursued. – Jeffrey Hopkins, “Equality.”
Truth is best served by recognizing a viewpoint as only a viewpoint and refraining from taking that extra step of regarding it as true to the exclusion of all other views. In other words, all views—even correct views—are best held gently, rather than grasped firmly. ~ Andrew Olendzki, “Blinded by Views.”