Although we are all the same in not wanting problems and wanting a peaceful life, we tend to create a lot of problems for ourselves. Encountering those problems, anger develops and overwhelms our mind, which leads to violence. A good way to counter this and to work for a more peaceful world is to develop concern for others. Then our anger, jealousy and other destructive emotions will naturally weaken and diminish. ~ His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama
The process of overcoming our defilements goes in conjunction with gaining higher levels of realization. In fact, when we speak of gaining higher levels of realization in Buddhism we are speaking primarily of the processes through which our wisdom and insight deepen. It is actually the wisdom aspect that enables the practitioner to move from one level to the next on the path.
The attainment of the levels of the path is explained in condensed form in the Heart Sutra, where we find the mantra tadyatha om gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha. Tadyatha means It is thus; gate gate means go, go; paragate means go beyond and transcend; parasamgate means go utterly beyond, go thoroughly beyond; and bodhi svaha means firmly rooted in enlightenment. ~ “Lighting the Way,” by His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama, Pages 25-26.
The doctrines of emptiness and selflessness do not imply the non-existence of things. Things do exist. When we say that all phenomena are void of self-existence, it does not mean that we are advocating non-existence, that we are repudiating that things exist. Then what is it we are negating? We are negating, or denying, that anything exists from its own side without depending on other things. Hence, it is because things depend for their existence upon other causes and conditions that they are said to lack independent self-existence ~ His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama, Answers: Discussions with Western Buddhists pages 31-32.
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
Cover via Amazon
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.
As human beings, we are all the same. We have this marvelous intelligence, which sometimes creates problems for us, but when influenced by warm-heartedness can be very constructive. In this context, we need to appreciate the value of having moral principles. ~ His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama
In meditation, imagine that in front of you are three persons—an enemy, a friend, and a neutral person. At that time, in our minds we have (1) a sense of closeness for one of them, thinking, “This is my friend”; (2) a sense of dislike even when imagining the enemy; and (3) a sense of ignoring the neutral person. Now, we have to think about the reasons why we generate these feelings—the reasons being that temporarily one of them helped us whereas the other temporarily harmed us, and the third did neither. However, when we think in terms of the long course of beginningless rebirth, none of us could decide that someone who has helped or harmed us in this life has been doing so for all lifetimes.
When you contemplate this way, eventually you arrive at a point where a strong generation of desire or hatred appears to you to be just senseless. Gradually, such a bias weakens, and you decide that one-sided classification of persons as friends and enemies has been a mistake. ~ His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama, The Dalai Lama at Harvard: Lectures on the Buddhist Path to Peace, page 166