The current Buddhist spiritual leader was identified by the monks as the reincarnation of his predecessor, the Dalai Lama XIII, when he was only two years old, in 1937. In his more than 70 years on the Tibetan throne, Tenzin Gyatso has attracted universal recognition and has been awarded numerous honors and awards, such as the Nobel Peace Prize for his “zone of peace” program, which advocates for disarmament and for the harmonious coexistence of man and nature. Youth Time had the opportunity to attend a press conference with His Holiness in Prague. As a result, we would like to present to you a sort of a spiritual lesson from one of the wisest people in the world.
Let’s start our conversation…
With your permission, I will start with a small speech. Whenever I meet media representatives, young people – I always share two of my commitments. First of all: we’re all equal. In the world, there are seven billion human beings and all are the same. Physically, mentally and emotionally – we are the same! Everyone is entitled to one happy life, a prosperous life. Everyone has the right to achieve a happy and a successful life. Unfortunately, in the modern world, there are many cases where people feel that the ultimate source of happiness and a successful life is money, material opportunities. That is wrong. For the body, for physical comfort, material values are very, very helpful. However, the real purpose of material values is to bring physical comfort and nothing more. For spiritual comfort and in order to bring peace to our minds, we must find intellectual ways and means of doing so. After all, when doctors say that you need complete relaxation, complete rest, it doesn’t actually mean that you have to physically lie down on your bed. Not only that. Your mind must be relaxed. Relaxation means being in a certain mental state and not a physical one. Therefore, to achieve real psychological relaxation, we must find the true reason, the right worldview combined with self-confidence. Self-confidence is very much based on honesty. If you tell lies to other people, then deep inside, you feel somewhat uncomfortable. If you act honestly, truthfully, transparently, you get self-confidence. Therefore, these psychological qualities are the ultimate source of a happy life, a successful life. So my number one commitment is to create more awareness about these inner values in order to fulfill our goal – achieving a happy life. A happy family, a happy humanity, must originate from individuals.
As for my second commitment, it is at a religious level. All major religious traditions have a different philosophy. Obviously, some say that there’s a creator; others say that there isn’t. This is certainly a big difference. However, absolutely all religions carry in themselves the message of love and compassion. This includes forgiveness, tolerance, self-discipline and contentment. This way, all major religious trends refer to the same basic principles. We all have the same experience as we practice compassion and serve other people; we help others and don’t harm them.
What makes you happy?
People. Human brothers and sisters. I never feel any kind of a barrier – I am Buddhist, and they are not; I’m Tibetan and they are European. We are the same. Therefore, whenever I meet people, I immediately try to develop some kind of an affinity, which will bring complete relaxation to my mind. Then, there’s a sense of humour. I think that we, Tibetans, are cheerful people. We always tease and make fun of each other. Sometimes, I notice that some politicians or religious leaders try to look very serious, even stern. They try to show that they are superior. I think that this is wrong. As I already said, it’s important, in the first place, to see the human being in each other. It’s very useful not only for a close contact, but also because you will get more inner satisfaction.
What can disappoint you? How do you deal with frustration?
First of all, it’s very important to be realistic. Any misconceptions will lead to a disaster. To be realistic, it’s necessary to know the reality. To know the reality, it’s necessary to see events from different points of view, not only from one angle. Here is an example of Tibet’s relations with China. There are six million Tibetans and over a billion of our Chinese brothers and sisters. In this context there are difficulties in the dialogue. However, right from the beginning, we were prepared and expected that our struggle may take generations. Therefore, we must plan our settlement in India as a Tibetan colony, and eventually, also in Europe. Today, there are about 4000 Tibetan settlers in Switzerland. They settled there as a reliable community, as law-abiding citizens of Switzerland. In America and Canada there are also a few thousand. So you see, new generations are born in these areas but still remain very good Tibetans, their Tibetan spirit is very strong. This approach was the most realistic. This way, we had no reason to feel disappointment. If you have too many expectations, thinking: “oh I want something good, the more the better and the faster the better”, then there’s a real danger of disappointment. One of the greatest Buddhist teachers of the VIII century, the master of Buddhism, once gave a very good advice. He said: “When you face a problem, it’s important to analyze it properly – comprehensively. If the problem can be solved, then there’s no need to worry, no need for disappointment. Make an effort and that’s it. If the problem can’t be solved, then, again, there’s no need to worry. In any case, you won’t be able to do anything about it!”