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A Tibetan family praying to the Dalai Lama

As we celebrate the birthday of the 14th Dalai Lama once again amidst the coronavirus pandemic, we are paying tribute to him through some of his teachings and quotes which inspires us to be better human beings: 

”Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions” 

“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.” “There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength’. No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful this experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.” 

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

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

”Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” 

”This is my simple religion. No need for temples. No need for complicated philosophy. Your own mind, your own heart is the temple. Your philosophy is simple kindness.” 

“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.” 

“Man sacrifices his health to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” 

“The planet does not need more successful people. The planet needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds.” 

“World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not just mere absence of violence. Peace is, I think, the manifestation of human compassion. “I am a simple Buddhist monk” - His Holiness describes himself. 

Let us wish him a very happy birthday! Long live His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama! 

Kalsang, July 2021

Kalsang works with the NHS as a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist and also volunteers with Free Tibet. Her parents and four siblings escaped Tibet in 1959.

This piece originally appeared in the newsletter of Tibet Support Group York and has been reproduced here with their and Kalsang's kind permission.