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110+ Best Dalai Lama Quotes to Inspire Inner Strength, Peace, and Growth

In the history of Tibetan Buddhism, there have been 14 Dalai Lamas; the 14th being the current Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso. Every Tibetan Buddhist believes that Dalai Lamas are manifestations of Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezig, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, and the patron saint of Tibet. A Bodhisattva is a realized being whose goal is to reach complete enlightenment and be reborn in the world to help all living beings.

Tenzin Gyatso, originally named Lhamo Dhondup, was born on July 6th, 1935 to a farming family in Taktser, Amdo. At the young age of two, he was recognized to be the reincarnated spirit of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso. Becoming the 14th Dalai Lama, he began his monastic education at the age of 6. His teachings consisted of a wide variety of subjects but primarily focussed on Buddhist philosophy. After many years of schooling, between the summer of 1958 and February of 1959, he took his final examinations at the age of 23 in the Lhasa Jokhang Temple. Passing with honors, he received the Geshe Lharampa degree that February which is known to be equivalent to the highest doctorate in Buddhist philosophy one can receive.

Sadly, China’s invasion of Tibet in 1950 began to stir a lot of turmoil, calling the Dalai Lama to assume political power. Over the coming years, Dalai Lama XIV attempted to bridge a peaceful bond between the people of Tibet in China but, to no avail, he was forced to escape in exile in 1959. He has spent the rest of his life in exile in Dharamsala, Northern India while trying to repair relations with China and restore security and peace to the Tibetan people. A few short years later in 1963, the Dalai Lama began the democratization process of Tibet, and eventually in 2001, the people of Tibet elected their leaders for the first time in history. In May of 2011, the Dalai Lama formally transferred his temporal authority over to the elected leader but kept his position as the head of spiritual affairs.

Throughout his lifetime the Dalai Lama has traveled to over 67 countries, received over 150 awards (including a Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his non-violent struggle for the liberation of Tibet), and has authored or co-authored over 110 books. In the coming years, as his health dwindles, he has promised to leave clear instructions on how to find the next true reincarnated Dalai Lama. Due to the increasing divide between the Tibetan people and China’s Republic, the Dalai Lama has had to emphasize that any Dalai Lama claimed by China’s Republic should gain no recognition or success.

The path of peace and mindfulness that the Dalai Lama continues to walk, despite conflict, fear, and tragedy, has inspired many to follow in his footsteps. With the Dalai Lama quotes and Dalai Lama sayings that inspire the search for inner peace, strength, and growth below, it’s easy to find a Dalai Lama quote to think about and implement into daily life.

Dalai Lama Quotes
*christopher* – Flickr: dalailama1_20121014_4639

Dalai Lama Quotes on the Power of Emotion and Peace

“World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not just mere absence of violence. Peace is, I think, the manifestation of human compassion.”

“Inner peace is the key: if you have inner peace, the external problems do not affect your deep sense of peace and tranquility…without this inner peace, no matter how comfortable your life is materially, you may still be worried, disturbed, or unhappy because of circumstances.”

“Those who have little interest in spirituality shouldn’t think that human inner values don’t apply to you. The inner peace of an alert and calm mind are the source of real happiness and good health. Our human intelligence tells us which of our emotions are positive and helpful and which are damaging and to be restrained or avoided.”

“Since we are not solely material creatures, it is a mistake to place all our hopes for happiness on external development alone. The key is to develop inner peace.”

“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.”

“No matter how educated or wealthy you are, if you don’t have peace of mind, you won’t be happy.”

“Appearance is something absolute, but reality is not that way – everything is interdependent, not absolute. So that view is very helpful to maintain a peace of mind because the main destroyer of a peaceful mind is anger.”

“When our community is in a state of peace, it can share that peace with neighboring communities, and so on.”

“If we ourselves remain angry and then sing world peace, it has little meaning. First, our individual self must learn peace. This we can practice. Then we can teach the rest of the world.”

Dalai Lama Quotes on Friendship, Compassion, and Unity

“The creatures that inhabit this earth– be they human beings or animals– are here to contribute, each in its own particular way, to the beauty and prosperity of the world.”

“There are two kinds of compassion. The first comes from a natural concern for friends and family who are close to us. This has limited range but can be the seed for something bigger. We can also learn to extend a genuine concern for others’ well-being, whoever they are. That is real compassion, and only human beings are capable of developing it.”

“As human beings, we need to assess whether anger has any value – it destroys our peace of mind. Compassion, on the other hand, brings optimism and hope.”

“It’s good to remember that other human beings are like us. We are born the same way; we die the same way. While we’re alive it’s better to be able to trust each other as friends.”

“I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. Each of us must learn to work not just for oneself, one’s own family or nation, but for the benefit of all humankind. Universal responsibility is the key to human survival. It is the best foundation for world peace.”

“I am one of the 7 billion human beings alive today. We each have a responsibility to think about humanity and the good of the world because it affects our own future. We weren’t born on this planet at this time to create problems but to bring about some benefit.”

“Anger and hatred are signs of weakness, while compassion is a sure sign of strength.”

“Just as we can learn how helpful love and compassion can be, we can come to understand that anger, pride, jealousy, and arrogance can be detrimental.”

“The way to change others’ minds is with affection and not anger.”

“Anger cannot be overcome by anger. If someone is angry with you, and you show anger in return, the result is a disaster. On the other hand, if you control your anger and show its opposite – love, compassion, tolerance, and patience – not only will you remain peaceful, but the other person’s anger will also diminish.”

“When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.”

“Whether one is rich or poor, educated or illiterate, religious or non-believing, man or woman, black, white, or brown, we are all the same. Physically, emotionally, and mentally, we are all equal. We all share basic needs for food, shelter, safety, and love. We all aspire to happiness and we all shun suffering. Each of us has hopes, worries, fears, and dreams. Each of us wants the best for our family and loved ones. We all experience pain when we suffer loss and joy when we achieve what we seek. On this fundamental level, religion, ethnicity, culture, and language make no difference.”

“One problem with our current society is that we have an attitude towards education as if it is there to simply make you more clever, make you more ingenious… Even though our society does not emphasize this, the most important use of knowledge and education is to help us understand the importance of engaging in more wholesome actions and bringing about discipline within our minds. The proper utilization of our intelligence and knowledge is to effect changes from within to develop a good heart.”

“The various features and aspects of human life, such as longevity, good health, success, happiness, and so forth, which we consider desirable, are all dependent on kindness and a good heart.”

“As you breathe in, cherish yourself. As you breathe out, cherish all beings.”

“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.”

“We must recognize that the suffering of one person or one nation is the suffering of humanity.”

“Every single being, even those who are hostile to us, is just as afraid of suffering as we are, and seeks happiness in the same way we do. Every person has the same right as we do to be happy and not to suffer. So let’s take care of others wholeheartedly, of both our friends and our enemies. This is the basis for true compassion.”

“It is important not to allow ourselves to be put off by the magnitude of others’ suffering. The misery of millions is not a cause for pity. Rather it is a cause for compassion.”

“Compassion is the wish for another being to be free from suffering; love is wanting them to have happiness.”

“We are visitors on this planet. We are here for one hundred years at the very most. During that period we must try to do something good, something useful, with our lives. If you contribute to other people’s happiness, you will find the true meaning of life.”

“When we talk about compassion it has to include having compassion for yourself. It’s not just a matter of self-sacrifice. I have observed a foolish sense of selfishness and a wise sense of selfishness. Since we are social animals, who depend on one another, to show love and compassion to others is wise.”

“Ultimately, humanity is one and this small planet is our only home. If we are to protect this home of ours, each of us needs to experience a vivid sense of universal altruism.”

“As people alive today, we must consider future generations: a clean environment is a human right like any other. It is therefore part of our responsibility toward others to ensure that the world we pass on is as healthy, if not healthier than we found it.”

“A good motivation is what is needed: compassion without dogmatism, without complicated philosophy; just understanding that others are human brothers and sisters and respecting their human rights and dignities. That we humans can help each other is one of our unique human capacities.”

“If love is defined as a wish that others be happy and compassion as the wish that they be free from suffering, and you cultivate love and compassion within yourself, it will ensure happiness, good health and peace of mind.”

“The quality of what we do depends on our motivation, which is why we have to learn how to cultivate a compassionate mind.”

“More compassionate mind, more sense of concern for other’s well-being, is a source of happiness.”

“If at the beginning and end of our lives we depend upon the kindness of others, why in the middle of our lives should we not act kindly toward them? It is the pragmatic choice.”

“I believe compassion to be one of the few things we can practice that will bring immediate and long-term happiness to our lives. I’m not talking about the short-term gratification of pleasures like sex, drugs, or gambling (though I’m not knocking them), but something that will bring true and lasting happiness. The kind that sticks.”

“Compassion is of little value if it just remains an idea. It must motivate how we respond to others and be reflected in all our thoughts and actions.”

“If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them.”

Dalai Lama Quotes on Strength, Growth, and Introspection

“We human beings are all the same in wanting to be happy and not wanting to suffer and yet many of the problems we face are of our own making.”

“A disciplined mind leads to happiness, and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering.”

“I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.”

“We are deluded by attachment and anger, but we can learn to tackle these emotions.”

“Letting yourself be overtaken by negative emotions leads to suffering. Therefore, it’s important to recognize the shortcomings of an unruly, undisciplined mind. If you train your mind, you’ll suffer less.”

“The true hero is one who conquers his own anger and hatred.”

“It is under the greatest adversity that there exists the greatest potential for doing good, both for oneself and others.”

“There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength’. No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.”

“When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways–either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength.”

“Hard times build determination and inner strength. Through them, we can also come to appreciate the uselessness of anger. Instead of getting angry nurture a deep caring and respect for troublemakers because by creating such trying circumstances, they provide us with invaluable opportunities to practice tolerance and patience.”

“I believe that happiness can be achieved through training the mind.”

“Neither a space station nor an enlightened mind can be realized in a day.”

“Just as we employ physical hygiene to protect our health, we need emotional hygiene, the means to tackle our destructive emotions, if we are to achieve peace of mind.”

“Forget the failures. Keep the lessons.”

“When we are able to recognize and forgive ignorant actions of the past, we gain strength to constructively solve the problems of the present.”

“Time passes unhindered. When we make mistakes, we cannot turn the clock back and try again. All we can do is use the present well.”

“In our struggle for freedom, truth is the only weapon we possess.”

“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.”

“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”

Dalai Lama Quotes on Overcoming Materialism, Anger, and One’s Ego

“Anger or hatred is like a fisherman’s hook. It is very important for us to ensure that we are not caught by it.”

“Scientists have shown that where constant anger and hatred undermine our immune systems, compassion strengthens our general well-being. To live more peacefully and joyfully in our day to day lives, we need a warm heart.”

“Violence derives from anger and anger clouds our ability to think straight and properly assess what is happening.”

“In our concern for others, we worry less about ourselves. When we worry less about ourselves an experience of our own suffering is less intense.”

“The more time you spend thinking about yourself, the more suffering you will experience.”

“When you are discontent, you always want more, more, more. Your desire can never be satisfied. But when you practice contentment, you can say to yourself, ‘Oh yes – I already have everything that I really need’.”

“A sense of contentment is crucial to being happy. Physical health, material wealth, and friends contribute to this, but contentment governs our relations with them all.”

“We seek happiness in external things without realizing that they don’t help when we have problems within. We need to focus instead on the joy that comes with peace of mind that allows us to remain happy whatever happens.”

“Anger and aggression sometimes seem to be protective because they bring energy to bear on a particular situation, but what needs to be acknowledged is that that energy is blind. It takes a calm mind to be able to consider things from different angles and points of view.”

“Instead of trying to resolve our differences by force, we must talk and enter into dialogue. This is not a sign of weakness, but of wisdom — a realistic approach.”

“A spoon cannot taste of the food it carries. Likewise, a foolish man cannot understand the wise man’s wisdom even if he associates with a sage.”

“When we are caught up in a destructive emotion, we lose one of our greatest assets: our independence.”

“We need to learn to want what we have, not to have what we want, in order to get stable and steady happiness.”

“No material object, however beautiful or valuable, can make us feel loved.”

“The kind of behavior that really is spiritual practice consists of refraining from falsehood and abiding by the truth, neither humiliating nor mocking others, being humble, and having a good heart and helping others.”

“In this century we have made remarkable material progress, but basically we are the same as we were thousands of years ago. Our spiritual needs are still very great.”

“Instead of looking to blame others and the world around us, we should first look within ourselves.”

Wise Dalai Lama Quotes on Life, Gratitude, and Happiness

“In the practice of tolerance, one’s enemy is the best teacher.”

“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.”

“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”

“If you have fear of some pain or suffering, you should examine whether there is anything you can do about it. If you can, there is no need to worry about it; if you cannot do anything, then there is also no need to worry.”

“Given the scale of life in the cosmos, one human life is no more than a tiny blip. Each one of us is a just visitor to this planet, a guest, who will only stay for a limited time. What greater folly could there be than to spend this short time alone, unhappy or in conflict with our companions? Far better, surely, to use our short time here in living a meaningful life, enriched by our sense of connection with others and being of service to them.”

“All suffering is caused by ignorance. People inflict pain on others in the selfish pursuit of their own happiness or satisfaction.”

“When you practice gratefulness, there is a sense of respect toward others.”

“A lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity.”

“Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.”

“An open heart is an open mind.”

“Develop the heart. Too much energy in your country is spent developing the mind instead of the heart.”

“People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.”

“Happiness doesn’t always come from a pursuit. Sometimes it comes when we least expect it.”

“Let us reflect what is truly of value in life, what gives meaning to our lives, and set our priorities on the basis of that.”

“If someone does not smile at you, be generous, and offer your own smile. Nobody needs a smile more than the one that cannot smile to others.”

“Consider carefully, what prevents you from living the way you want to live your life?”

“Silence is sometimes the best answer.”

“A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.”

“Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to come back, and reasons to stay.”

“There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called Yesterday and the other is called Tomorrow. Today is the right day to love, believe, do, and mostly live.”

“Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.”

“Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something, and sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent.”

“In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision.”

“You have to start giving first and expect absolutely nothing.”

“I defeat my enemies when I make them my friends.”

Dalai Lama Quotes on Religion

“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”

“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.”

“We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot survive without human affection.”

“The whole purpose of religion is to facilitate love and compassion, patience, tolerance, humility, and forgiveness.”

“Love, kindness, compassion, and tolerance are qualities common to all the great religions, and whether or not we follow any particular religious tradition, the benefits of love and kindness are obvious to anyone.”

“I am a man of religion, but religion alone cannot answer all our problems.”

“Open-minded people tend to be interested in Buddhism because Buddha urged people to investigate things – he didn’t just command them to believe.”

“As long as we observe love for others and respect for their rights and dignity in our daily lives, then whether we are learned or unlearned, whether we believe in the Buddha or God, follow some religion or none at all, as long as we have compassion for others and conduct ourselves with restraint out of a sense of responsibility, there is no doubt we will be happy.”

“My main hope is eventually, in modern education field, introduce education about warmheartedness, not based on religion, but based on common experience and a common sort of sense, and then scientific finding.”

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Katee is a lover of language and is in awe of the power it holds. Read more articles from Katee on Thought Catalog.

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