dalai lama
by Ali Berman
Categories: Healthy Living, Lifestyle
Tags: .

The Dalai Lama is perhaps one of the most admired religious leaders and serves as a source of inspiration for people all over the world. While he spreads his message of compassion to millions through speaking engagements across the globe, one of the easiest ways to get acquainted with his philosophies is through his twitter account. Yes, the Dalai Lama is quite active on the social media service, and, with nearly 5 million followers, he is reaching the masses from his keyboard.

We have selected 10 tweets we think showcase some of his most vital teachings.

Asking people to practice compassion and love for all beings is His Holiness’s most common subject on twitter. He not only believes that compassion is key to personal happiness but it is also necessary to the wellbeing of the world and, as he notes, the “survival of our species.” With threats of war, environmental destruction, water scarcity and more, we have to agree with him.

 

The Dalai Lama isn’t looking for temporary fixes to the world’s biggest problems. As we can see from this tweet, he seeks the very best for the future. One could easily apply this to the environment. Band-aids to major issues like deforestation and climate change won’t solve our longterm problems. And sadly, on our current trajectory future generations will indeed experience tremendous difficulties. Solutions that look to 500 years from now instead of just 10 years from now would truly serve the planet’s interests as well as our own.

 

Another major theme in the Dalai Lama’s teachings is practicing patience. Controlling one’s negative feelings like anger and jealousy, and instead letting ourselves be guided by rationality improves our lives as well as the lives of others. (Just think of all the road rage that would be avoided by people taking a few breaths instead of utilizing their middle fingers.)

 

No one enjoys suffering, but out of great dispair can come great transformation and positive action. Consider those who have been diagnosed with cancer and have gone on to fight for a cure to the disease. Or those who struggled with addiction and therefore have dedicated their lives to helping others overcome their addictions. When we experience suffering, we are better able to understand the struggles of others which makes us more compassionate. There is, after all, a reason that the phoenix rises from the ashes.

 

While he is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, the Dalai Lama has a following that goes beyond Tibet and Buddhism. People of all faiths value his wisdom and teachings. Perhaps that’s because he doesn’t believe a person needs to follow any specific faith in order to be a good person. While most religions actively try to recruit others to their faith, the Dalai Lama has said time and time again that anyone, regardless of faith, can achieve greatness through practicing compassion and ethical behavior. As he said in another tweet, “I believe that whether a person follows any religion or not is unimportant, he or she must have a good heart, a warm heart.”

 

Try as we might to influence others, at the end of the day, the only person you can control is yourself. That’s why, as the Dalai Lama says, correcting our shortcomings is so important. Imagine if we all chose to set higher standards for ourselves. We could create a more compassionate world overnight.

 

We can all say with absolute certainty that death is coming for us one day. Impermanence, the fact that everything in the world is changing at every moment, can be a scary idea. But, if we look at our lives, and accept that they will one day end, we are able to feel a sense of urgency that inspires us to make use of the time we have. In other words, carpe diem, dear readers.

 

Thankfully, more and more schools are incorporating social justice issues into their curriculum. Humane education combined with academics is an amazing combination that nourishes the minds and the hearts of children so they can grow up to be successful and compassionate adults. Teaching human rights, animal protection and environmental ethics alongside science, english, history and math can only improve our education system and our young citizens.

 

This one, to me, shows the difference between thinking something, and putting that thought into action. I can go to the beach and be as indignant as I want about the trash that people have left, but if I don’t go clean it up, then my thoughts did nothing. Every kind act begins in the brain, but to be truly effective, we must use our hands and voices to make positive change.

 

What a wonderful way to wake up in the morning. And one I think we’ll end this list with. It’s a simple and yet powerful way to reaffirm your desire daily to make the world a better place.

Follow His Holiness the Dalai Lama on his twitter account for a whole lot more wisdom. He has been tweeting since February of 2010.

Photo Credit: vipflash / Shutterstock.com 

About Ali Berman

Ali Berman is the author of Choosing a Good Life: Lessons from People Who Have Found Their Place in the World (Hazelden) and Misdirected (Seven Stories Press). She works as a humane educator for HEART teaching kids about issues affecting people, animals and the environment. Her published work can be found on her website at aliberman.com. In early 2012 Ali co-founded flipmeover, a production company with the mission to use media to raise awareness of social issues.

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  • Abby Bean

    Unfortunately, the Dalia Lama is neither vegan nor vegetarian. His compassion for all beings ceased when his doctor told him he “needed meat” and he complied.