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.
Compassion and love are not a luxury. As the source both of inner and external peace, they are fundamental to the survival of our species.
— Dalai Lama (@DalaiLama) August 2, 2010
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.
If we continue to approach problems from the perspective of temporary expediency, future generations will face tremendous difficulties.
— Dalai Lama (@DalaiLama) July 11, 2010
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.
Patience guards us against losing our presence of mind so we can remain undisturbed, even when the situation is really difficult.
— Dalai Lama (@DalaiLama) May 11, 2012
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.)
To the extent that suffering awakens our empathy and causes us to connect with others, it can serve as the basis of compassion and love.
— Dalai Lama (@DalaiLama) August 28, 2010
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.
There must be a way of promoting human values without involving religion, based on common sense, experience and recent scientific findings.
— Dalai Lama (@DalaiLama) August 25, 2010
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.”
Noticing a single shortcoming in ourselves is far more useful than seeing a thousand in someone else. When it is our own: we can correct it.
— Dalai Lama (@DalaiLama) August 27, 2010
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.
Awareness of impermanence and appreciation of our human potential will give us a sense of urgency that we must use every precious moment.
— Dalai Lama (@DalaiLama) December 31, 2010
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.
It is vital that when we educate our children’s brains we do not neglect to educate their hearts by nurturing their compassionate nature.
— Dalai Lama (@DalaiLama) February 29, 2012
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.
Practicing altruism is the real source of compromise and cooperation; merely recognizing our need for harmony is not enough.
— Dalai Lama (@DalaiLama) June 26, 2010
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.
When I wake in the morning I make a wish to be useful to others.
— Dalai Lama (@DalaiLama) August 15, 2012
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.
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