Lessons We Can Learn From Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso)

Tenzin Gyatso (1935) is the current Dalai Lama of Tibet, the title of the leader of the Tibetan government in exile and spiritual leader of Lamaism, or Tibetan Buddhism, before the Chinese invasion. In 1989, the Dalai Lama received the Nobel Peace Prize. In 2007, the U.S. Congress awarded him the Gold Medal for his protest against the Chinese government; and in 2010 he was received at the White House by Barack Obama. In 2011, the Dalai Lama announced that he was renouncing all political positions he held in the Tibetan government in exile, to remain only as a spiritual and religious leader. His figure has given rise to several films, including Seven Years in Tibet and Kundun.

Here are some lessons we can learn from the life and exploits of the Dalai Lama of Tibet: 

1. Keep in mind that great loves and great accomplishments carry great risks. 

People should never be asked what they want to achieve in life, but what they are willing to lose, because that is indicative of the degree of commitment to the cause they yearn for. Big goals, big risks. Common sense. There is a difference between living and surviving. To live is to gamble on what you want and risk making things happen. Surviving is sticking to the sure thing and hoping that nothing interesting happens. Only you decide whether you choose one or the other.

2. When you lose, don't forget the lesson. 

Sometimes you win and sometimes you learn. If a lesson is learned from mistakes, failures and losses, they are no longer lessons, but one more step on the ladder towards our goals. It all adds up. Any successful biography is forged on the basis of setbacks. Marshal Turenne used to say, "You have to have been defeated two or three times before you can be somebody." The problem is when, out of pride, one insists on denying mistakes or looking for excuses or guilty parties so as not to assume one's own responsibility. Change is only possible from acceptance, never from denial. What you resist, persists; what you accept, transforms you.

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

Sometimes, the best thing that can happen to a person is what he would never have wished to happen to him. A layoff, for example, can be a marvelous turning point, since thanks to that decision of the company that seems tremendous to us, it is the beginning of a new journey that in other circumstances we would never have dared to undertake on our own initiative. Pascal affirmed that "misfortune discovers to the soul lights that prosperity fails to perceive." Often crises act as a vital alarm clock, they take us out of our routine and awaken us with their questions.

4. Through meditation we can achieve inner peace, and through it, world peace. 

Meditation consists of calming all those sabotaging thoughts that flutter in our head. Meditation is nothing more than calming the mind, helping it, and its practice allows direct connection with the soul. Aldous Huxley noted, "Meditation has been practiced all over the world since the earliest times as the way to get to know the essential nature of things." Meditating helps us to positively channel our thoughts, which results in an improvement of the quality of psychic life, and therefore, of the quality of physical life, given the close relationship between mind and body. Practicing meditation curbs anxiety and stress and leads us to a state of inner peace that helps us to better connect with ourselves, with others and with the rest of the universe. It promotes muscle relaxation, improved circulation and a stronger immune system, among other benefits. The mind can be the most powerful tool we have as people, but at the same time the most destructive depending on how we use it.

5. Remember that silence is sometimes the best response. Spend some time alone every day. 

We are afraid of silence. And it scares us because silence is eloquence. In silence we find answers, many of which are contrary to our way of life, which would produce in us, first, a great emotional shock, and, second, a great anxiety by forcing us to take action and change, to face uncertainty, to leave behind one way of life to move to a different one. Dating oneself means being totally honest and not disguising reality, as well as assuming that, many times, we are not leading the life we would like, but the one imposed by third parties. Often, we only dare to have a sincere conversation with ourselves when adversity knocks at our door and we have no escape.

6. My true religion is kindness. 

It has been scientifically proven that the more involved a person is with a certain social cause to which he or she dedicates part of his or her life as a volunteer or in some other altruistic way, the more he or she significantly increases his or her life expectancy, improves his or her quality of life and declares himself or herself to be happier. David McClelland, a psychologist at Harvard University, conducted an experiment with a group of students who were shown a film in which Mother Teresa of Calcutta was performing her work with the sick and poor. The students were moved by the film, and soon after, when their saliva was analyzed, an increase in the level of immunoglobulin A, an antibody that helps fight viral and bacterial infections, was discovered. Kindness not only makes us feel good emotionally, it also makes us feel good physically. The Dalai Lama himself said: "Live a good and honorable life. Later, when you are older and look back, you will be able to enjoy it a second time."

7. Open your arms to change, but don't lose your values. 

Life is change and change is life, but it is not about change for the sake of change, but to do it in a direction and in a sense. Not all change is admissible. There are limits, those of values, which delimit the playing field on which to move with dignity. Principles must be the "GPS" that show us where to move forward with our heads held high. Success is not only about achieving results, but also about not doing so without leaving ethics aside. Success without values is not success and, moreover, leaves us very empty. Changes in the market, pressure for results or other factors can lead us to make certain decisions that compromise us in the long term and put our happiness on the ropes. 

8. Don't let a small dispute damage a great friendship. In disagreements with your loved ones, worry only about the current situation. Don't bring up the past. 

Sometimes, small frictions can produce big ruptures that, because they are not managed at the right time, become entrenched in a serious way making it very difficult to resolve them. On the other hand, when conflicts occur and one intends to resolve them favorably, it is important to know how to look ahead. To forgive implies not to stir up the past too much; otherwise it is complicated for the future to exist. Those who do not know how to forgive indicate that they have not been able to heal the wounds of the past and still harbor feelings of resentment that cause a desire for revenge that is very harmful to our happiness. Martin Seligman, father of positive psychology, has stated, "You cannot hurt the guilty by not forgiving, but you can free yourself by forgiving them."

9. Share your knowledge. It is a way to attain immortality. 

The Dalai Lama's philosophy is clear: "The essence of spiritual life is formed by our feelings and our attitudes toward others." From selfishness it is impossible to have a full life. Knowledge, if not shared, rots like stagnant water. Moreover, knowledge does not belong to us, because all knowledge starts from something previous. Everything we have built is born of previous work. That is why we also have the moral obligation to contribute with our personal contribution to the chain of knowledge and evolution of society. Those who do not adopt a posture of generosity when it comes to sharing show their insecurity, a product of fear of losing what they have, forgetting that the more you give, the more you receive. 

10. Follow the three R's: Respect for yourself, Respect for others and Responsibility for all your actions. 

First, respect for yourself. Sometimes we mistreat ourselves too much, and that ends up reflecting directly on our relationship with the world and with others. If you're not good with yourself, you can't be good with other people. Getting along badly with yourself makes it very difficult to live together. Second, respect for others. There is no greater loyalty to a person than to respect his or her decisions without judging them. Each person has the right to be the person he or she has decided to be, even if it does not coincide with our way of seeing life. And third, responsibility for our actions. Do not blame anyone for your life, since it is the result of all those decisions you have been making throughout your existence.

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