I just finished a new book that was recently gifted to me, based on a conversation with the Dalai Lama. I dove into the question, “How do we move forward?” In a world that’s riddled with division, there must be some basic wisdom we can all follow for greater unity, regardless of our views. The Dalai Lama quotes in this post reference the practical wisdom I found in this little book.
“It is more important for schools to have classes on ethics than religion. Why? Because it’s more important for humanity’s survival to be aware of our commonalities than to constantly emphasize what divides us.” — Dalai Lama
The above insight (which I understand may not be the most favorable statement for some) was made by one of the most revered spiritual leaders of our time and inspired the new book, An Appeal to the World: The Way to Peace in a Time of Division, published in 2017.
In no way am I asserting my opinion on religion here; I actually like to practice opposing or challenging perspectives even when I don’t plan on adopting them (to me, that’s a highly spiritual practice in compassion).
In the book, which is based on a conversation between His Holiness and journalist Franz Alt, the topic of universal ethics comes up a lot. In response to the turbulence in the world today, this “handbook” offers invaluable insights aimed to help the whole of humanity focus on what unites us rather than what makes us different.Regardless of our views, compassion is possible. Always. There is no perspective worth losing our compassion over. Click To Tweet
According to the Dalai Lama, teaching “secular ethics” refers to developing inner values for a better and more peaceful world, no matter what perspectives are in play. These values include mindfulness, patience, forgiveness, benevolence, tolerance, generosity, humility, affection, and so on.
When it comes to nurturing strong relationships with our neighbors, our brothers, and our sisters, “a quiet mind is so very important.” “Anger, hatred, and fear eat up our immune system,” and though particular viewpoints may promote division, they also harbor potential for unity.
Out of religion comes the teachings of love; “different philosophical views are simply different methods, different approaches for promoting love.” This also happens to be the greater intention of this little book.
There are certain values that, when lived by and applied in any situation, serve to promote love. A quiet mind teaches love. An open heart teaches love. If more of us could be quiet and open, how much more loving might our connections become?
I hope the following Dalai Lama quotes, all derived from An Appeal to the World, speak to your heart, no matter what beliefs you cherish.
35 Dalai Lama Quotes about Developing the Inner Values That Will Benefit the World
1. “Empathy is the basis of human coexistence. It is my belief that human development relies on cooperation and not competition. That is scientifically proven.” — Dalai Lama
2. “The most important question we can ask for a better world is ‘How can we serve each other?’ To make that shift, we need to sharpen our awareness.” — Dalai Lama
3. “The primary causes of war and violence are our negative emotions. We give them too much space and give too little space to our intellects and our compassion.” — Dalai Lama
4. “I suggest more listening, more contemplation, more meditation.” — Dalai Lama“I will always stand by nonviolence. That means intelligently loving your enemy.” @DalaiLama Click To Tweet
6. “By following purely secular ethics, we will become more easygoing, empathetic, and judicious people. Then there is a chance for the twenty-first century to be a century of peace, a century of dialogue, and a century of a more caring, responsible, and empathetic human race.” — Dalai Lama
7. “Through meditation and contemplation we can learn, for example, that patience is the most potent antidote for anger, satisfaction for greed, bravery for fear, and understanding for doubt. It is not very helpful to rage against others. Instead, we should strive to change ourselves.” — Dalai Lama
8. “We can never change the past, but we can always learn from it to create a better future.” — Dalai Lama
9. “Disarmament is compassion put into practice. But the prerequisite for external disarmament is an inner disarmament of hatred, prejudice, and intolerance.” — Dalai Lama“I am deeply convinced that most human conflicts can be resolved through sincere dialogue.” @DalaiLama Click To Tweet
11. “Now the time has come to understand that we are the same human being on this planet.” — Dalai Lama
12. “The future of individualized nations always depends on the well-being of their neighbors.” — Dalai Lama
13. “We need a worldwide initiative for educating heart and mind, in this modern age.” — Dalai Lama
14. “Intolerance leads to hatred and division. Even our children should grow up with the idea that dialogue, and not violence, is the best and most practical way to solve conflicts.” — Dalai Lama
15. “The real meaning of our life, which we all pursue, whether with or without religion, is to be happy.” — Dalai Lama
16. “When we decide to cultivate the inner values that we all appreciate in other people, we begin to live spiritually.” — Dalai Lama
17. “I don’t have any enemies, only people I haven’t met yet.” — Dalai Lama“There won’t be external peace until there is more inner peace.” @DalaiLama Click To Tweet
19. “Happiness is not just a matter of good luck, it’s an ability that all people hold within themselves. Everyone can be or become happy.” — Dalai Lama
20. “One aspect of compassion is being prepared to act spontaneously for the sake of others.” — Dalai Lama
21. “We often know what to do but we don’t do what we know.” — Dalai Lama
22. “We need to overcome our personal limitations and understand other people’s points of view.” — Dalai Lama
23. “I’m just one person out of more than seven billion. That’s also why I never feel lonely.” — Dalai Lama“Suffering can provide real training for life.” @DalaiLama Click To Tweet
25. “If we want to make this world a better place, we need to become better people ourselves. There isn’t a convenient path. We must start by seeing the humanity in our enemies.” — Dalai Lama
26. “If you respect your enemies, they might become your friends one day.” — Dalai Lama
27. “According to our biological nature, we are animals that thrive in an environment of compassion, caring, affection, and warm-heartedness.” — Dalai Lama
28. “Loving our neighbor is more pleasant for all of us than hating what is different.” — Dalai Lama
29. “All true progress needs to be voluntary and freely chosen.” — Dalai Lama“Science teaches us today that true happiness is not only possible, it is our birthright.” @DalaiLama Click To Tweet
31. “In an age of globalization, tolerance has better prospects than ever.” — Dalai Lama
32. “True patience requires great inner strength.” — Dalai Lama
33. “I have seen that, across the world, the use of force has never solved any problems.” — Dalai Lama
34. “Why should I get upset? Then I’d have to calm down again. And that would be much too exhausting.” — Dalai Lama
35. “I simply cannot live without laughing!” — Dalai Lama
Please share your favorite Dalai Lama quotes from this collection, any insights on healthy relationships and unconditional love, and any stories of change/connection with me in the comments.
Promote love in your world; send these Dalai Lama quotes to a fellow human being who’d love to live in a loving world.
You can make a positive difference every time you choose to respond with love (openness, acceptance, patience, curiosity, etc.) instead of fueling the basic fear of separation. Be Love today.