10 Lessons the Dalai Llama Taught Me About Living In Peace.
Moves Like Jagger
If you are, a Buddhist like I am the Dalai Llama is sort of like Mick Jagger. So a few weeks ago when he came to speak in Portland many people I knew had tickets.
Unfortunately, I had missed the first sale and by the time, I found out, most of the tickets were gone or super expensive. So, I resigned myself to the fact that I simply wouldn’t be able to see this great teacher.
But life is full of surprises and on the last day of yoga school, a fellow classmate announced that she had tickets for a talk he was giving. She wasn’t able to attend and she asked if anyone wanted the tickets.
I instantly leapt to it and got one of the tickets. I was happy I was going to get to see His Holiness talk after all.
I made my way to the theater only to discover they weren’t letting backpacks in. So, I walked half a mile away and climbed a tree. I hid my backpack in the boughs, grabbed my laptop, and went back to the end of the line.
Nothing was going to keep me from this amazing experience. I got inside just as he began his first address.
Over the next 2 hours I listened to him and a panel of experts talk on the subject of faith and environmentalism. I was impressed by the simple wisdom he offered.
The words he and the other panel members shared applied to both the world as a whole and how each of us might live a life with more peace, wisdom, and compassion.
Intermixed with his wisdom was a charming sense of humor, rambunctious laughter, and kindness. Even though I was more than a basketball court away from him, his energy was amazing. His energetic field casts a shadow that few other people I have seen are capable of.
This simple monk inspired me and shared so much wisdom. Out of that talk, I was able to draw 10 Lessons about living in peace with my neighbors and myself.
10 Lessons of Peace from the Dalai Llama
1. Love and compassion
“People’s faith develops based on their environment. There are many environments so there are many faiths, but wisdom and compassion are the same.” – The Dalai Llama
It is so easy for us to get caught up in our way of doing things. But every place has it’s own way of sharing love and truth. Part of the beauty of this earth is that there are so many ways that people express their care for each other and the world.
Next time you are hung up on how someone is acting, as yourself, is the intention in the right place, but just not in our style.
“Religion can teach us compassion, but it can also teach us hypocrisy”
– The Dalai Llama
Faith can teach us to be compassionate it can also teach us to live divided lives. We are one person at church or temple, but another person at our jobs.
Hypocrisy is always a threat for people who strive to live by their principles. It’s so easy to create these blind spots. To live by faith doesn’t mean to be unyielding, but it does mean that our whole lives become our practice. No part of our being can be left out or we are just kidding ourselves.
“There was once a boy enjoyed playing in the woods. As the boy got older, he started going deeper into the woods and his father became worried.
“Son, every day you go deeper into the woods why do you venture so far?”
The son answered, “I go into the woods is to look for God.”
“But son,” the father replied, “Don’t you know that god is the same everywhere?”
“Yes,” said the boy looking into his father eyes, “but I am not.”
-Story Told by Rabbi Michael Z. Cahana
Though truth may be the same no matter where we go we are not the same wherever we go. Our location and setting makes a big difference in our ability to be at peace.
“When he was in Tibet the water was always so clean and the surroundings so pristine. But things changed when I went to India. For the first time I was told, you can’t drink this water it’s bad for you.”
It’s essential that we always pay attention to how others are living. We must look at the effects our words, thoughts, and actions have not only on those right around us, but on the effect they have on others far away.
“Talk to water and thank it for giving you life” – Grandmother Agnes Baker Pilgrim.
Water is a great symbol for something we take for granted. Water is so essential to our lives and yet we don’t appreciate it at all.
Take a minute and think about one thing you take for granted. What is one way you could practice gratitude for this simple gift?
6. Have Hope
“It is the job of spiritual people to have hope.”
Politicians and scientists make predictions and outlooks, but for those of us who seek to live more deeply we must be hopeful. The world needs hope now more than ever.
7. Learn from Differences
“We must learn from the differences of others” – The Dalai Llama
There are many perspectives and part of our job is to examine other ways and thinking and see what we can learn. We often see difference as a threat, but in truth, difference is an amazing opportunity to see a new approach.
The next time you encounter difference be brave enough to ask the question, “How can I learn from this?”
8. Live Together
“It is not possible for everyone to be the same religion, so let us all learn to live together.” – The Dalai Llama
Sometimes we can get caught up in getting everyone to agree with us. But it is not possible to have everyone agree. So, instead of focusing on disagreement our time is better spent by learning to live together.
Bring to mind one disagreement that has kept your separate, how can learn to live with someone who disagrees with you?
9. Non attachment
I am Buddhist but I am not attached to being one, once you become attached, you become biased. – The Dalai Llama
We all make the best decisions we can in life, but our choices can sometimes become our identities. Once we grow attached to these choices, we become stuck.
We can no longer see how a different choice might be better for others. So, we go around trying to fit the world into our choices.
When we let go of attachment to who we think we are, we become more open to all the possibilities the world has to offer. We give space for they’re to be many options and many ways of being in the world.
10. One truth for one not for many
For one person one truth makes sense, but for a community only many truths make sense. – The Dalai Llama
It is good to have faith and believe strongly in that which gives you strength. That one truth can be a powerful boon in stormy weather. But just because it works for you doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone.
When we honor the truths of others, we honor our own truth. Because the truth becomes more than just something, we choose. It becomes which calls to everyone. We all just answer the call according to the way that we hear it.