Dalai Lama Quotes
Buddhism | Compassion | Happiness

101 Powerful Dalai Lama Quotes on Health, Happiness and Compassion

His Holiness the Dalai Lama XIV from Tibet (religious name: Tenzin Gyatso) is one of the most influential spiritual leaders still living today. He has helped people around the world to regain their health away from negativity, anxiety and depression. His Buddhist teachings emphasize the practice of compassion and warm-heartedness by paying attention to the thought patterns of the mind. Below we have collated his most powerful quotes from his renowned works such as The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living (1998) and Dalai Lama’s Book of Wisdom (1997) on topics related to health, happiness, wealth, anger, anxiety and compassion. His words are so powerful that can inspire instant peace inside our heart.

Don’t forget to watch his guide to happiness in the bonus video in the end!

 

Happiness

 

1. “Happiness doesn’t always come from a pursuit. Sometimes it comes when we least expect it.”

Happiness doesn't always come from a pursuit. Sometimes it comes when we least expect it. Dalai Lama

2. “Happiness is determined more by one’s state of mind than by external events.”

3. “Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions”

4. “Once [our] basic needs are met (food, clothing, shelter, etc), the message is clear: we don’t need more money, we don’t need greater success or fame, we don’t need the perfect body or even the perfect mate – right now, at this very moment, we have a mind, which is all the basic equipment we need to achieve complete happiness.”

5. “Our moment-to-moment happiness is largely determined by our outlook. In fact, whether we are feeling happy or unhappy at any given moment often has very little to do with our absolute conditions but, rather it is a function of how we perceive our situation, how satisfied we are with what we have.”

6. All suffering is caused by ignorance. People inflict pain on others in the selfish pursuit of their own happiness or satisfaction. The 14th Dalai Lama Click To Tweet

7. “I believe all suffering is caused by ignorance. People inflict pain on others in the selfish pursuit of their happiness or satisfaction. Yet true happiness comes from a sense of inner peace and contentment, which in turn must be achieved through the cultivation of altruism, of love and compassion and elimination of ignorance, selfishness and greed.”

8. “Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.”

9. “We begin from the recognition that all beings cherish happiness and do not want suffering. It then becomes both morally wrong and pragmatically unwise to pursue only one’s own happiness oblivious to the feelings and aspirations of all others who surround us as members of the same human family. The wiser course is to think of others when pursuing our own happiness.”

10. “Given the scale of life in the cosmos, one human life is no more than a tiny blip. Each one of us is a just visitor to this planet, a guest, who will only stay for a limited time. What greater folly could there be than to spend this short time alone, unhappy or in conflict with our companions? Far better, surely, to use our short time here in living a meaningful life, enriched by our sense of connection with others and being of service to them.”

11. “I believe the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness. Whether one believes in religion or not, whether one believes in that religion or this religion, we are all seeking something better in life. So, I think, the very motion of our life is towards happiness.

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Wealth and Success

 

12. “Our ultimate aim in seeking more wealth is a sense of satisfaction, of happiness. But the very basis of seeking more is a feeling of not having enough, a feeling of discontentment. That feeling of discontentment, of wanting more and more and more, doesn’t arise from the inherent desirability of the objects we are seeking but rather from our own mental state.”

13. “The ultimate source of happiness is not money and power, but warm-heartedness”

14. “Today there are societies that are very developed materially, yet among them there are many people who are not very happy. Just underneath the beautiful surface of affluence there is a kind of mental unrest, leading to frustration, unnecessary quarrels, reliance on drugs or alcohol, and in the worst case, suicide. So there is no guarantee that wealth alone can give you the joy or fulfillment that you are seeking. ”

15. “Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it”

Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it. Dalai Lama

16. “I don’t know whether the universe, with its countless galaxies, stars and planets, has a deeper meaning or not, but at the very least, it is clear that we humans who live on this earth face the task of making a happy life for ourselves. Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness.”

17. “Material progress and a higher standard of living bring us greater comfort and health, but do not lead to a transformation of the mind, which is the only thing capable of providing lasting peace. Profound happiness, unlike fleeting pleasures, is spiritual in nature. It depends on the happiness of others and it is based on love and affection.”

18. “Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

19. “Whether one is rich or poor, educated or illiterate, religious or non-believing, man or woman, black, white, or brown, we are all the same. Physically, emotionally, and mentally, we are all equal. We all share basic needs for food, shelter, safety, and love. We all aspire to happiness and we all shun suffering. Each of us has hopes, worries, fears, and dreams. Each of us wants the best for our family and loved ones. We all experience pain when we suffer loss and joy when we achieve what we seek. On this fundamental level, religion, ethnicity, culture, and language make no difference.”

20. We need to learn to want what we have, not to have what we want, in order to get stable and steady happiness. The 14th Dalai Lama Click To Tweet

See also: Dalai Lama on Twitter

 

Calming the Mind

 

21. “Calm mind brings inner strength and self-confidence, so that’s very important for good health. ”

22. “Whether our action is wholesome or unwholesome depends on whether that action or deed arises from a disciplined or undisciplined state of mind. It is felt that a disciplined mind leads to happiness and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering, and in fact it is said that bringing about discipline within one’s mind is the essence of the Buddha’s teaching.” (from The Art of Happiness)

23. “Inner peace is the key: if you have inner peace, the external problems do not affect your deep sense of peace and tranquility…without this inner peace, no matter how comfortable your life is materially, you may still be worried, disturbed, or unhappy because of circumstances.”

24. “If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”

25. “A disciplined mind leads to happiness, and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering.” (from The Art of Happiness)

A disciplined mind leads to happiness and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering. Dalai Lama

26. “If you have fear of some pain or suffering, you should examine whether there is anything you can do about it. If you can, there is no need to worry about it; if you cannot do anything, then there is also no need to worry.”

27. “When you are discontent, you always want more, more, more. Your desire can never be satisfied. But when you practice contentment, you can say to yourself, ‘Oh yes — I already have everything that I really need.”

28. “Those who have little interest in spirituality shouldn’t think that human inner values don’t apply to you. The inner peace of an alert and calm mind are the source of real happiness and good health. Our human intelligence tells us which of our emotions are positive and helpful and which are damaging and to be restrained or avoided.”

29. “To remain indifferent to the challenges we face is indefensible. If the goal is noble, whether or not it is realized within our lifetime is largely irrelevant. What we must do therefore is to strive and persevere and never give up.”

30. “People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.”

31. “Inner transformation is not a matter of faith or prayer. It involves reason and the use of human intelligence. A calm and healthy mind has a very positive effect on our physical health and well-being.”

32. “Better grounded emotionally through patience, we become stronger mentally and spiritually, and tend to be healthier physically.”

33. “An affectionate disposition not only makes the mind more peaceful and calm, but it affects our body in a positive way too. On the other hand, hatred, jealousy and fear upset our peace of mind, make us agitated and affect our body adversely. Even our body needs peace of mind and is not suited to agitation. This shows that an appreciation for peace of mind is in our blood.”

34. It is very rare or almost impossible that an event can be negative from all points of view. The 14th Dalai Lama Click To Tweet

35. “Motivation is so important. In fact all human action can be seen in terms of movement, and the mover behind all actions is one’s motivation. If you develop a pure and sincere motivation, if you are motivated by a wish to help on the basis of kindness, compassion, and respect, then you can carry on any kind of work, in any field, and function more effectively with less fear or worry, not being afraid of what others think or whether you ultimately will be successful in reaching your goal. Even if you fail to achieve your goal, you can feel good about having made the effort. But with a bad motivation, people can praise you or you can achieve goals, but you still will not be happy.”




36. “Cultivating a close, warmhearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. It helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the principal source of success in life. Since we are not solely material creatures, it is a mistake to place all our hopes for happiness on external development alone. The key is to develop inner peace.”

37. Choose to be optimistic, it feels better. The 14th Dalai Lama Click To Tweet

38. “When our attitude towards our material possessions and wealth is not proper, it can lead to an extreme attachment towards such things as our property, houses and belongings. This can lead to an inability to feel contented. If that happens, then one will always remain in a state of dissatisfaction, always wanting more. In a way, one is then really poor, because the suffering of poverty is the suffering of wanting something and feeling the lack of it.” The Dalai Lama’s Book of Wisdom

39. “The sense of contentment is a key factor for attaining happiness. Bodily health, material wealth and companions and friends are three factors for happiness. Contentment is the key that will determine the outcome of your relations with all three of these factors.”― Dalai Lama XIV, The Dalai Lama’s Book of Wisdom

40. “Negative thoughts and emotions undermine the very causes of peace and happiness. In fact, when we think properly, it is totally illogical to seek happiness if we do nothing to restrain angry, spiteful, and malicious thoughts and emotions.”

41. “Just as we employ physical hygiene to protect our health, we need emotional hygiene, the means to tackle our destructive emotions, if we are to achieve peace of mind.”

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Anger

 

42. “Anger is the ultimate destroyer of your own peace of mind”

43. “Through violence, you may ‘solve’ one problem, but you sow the seeds for another.”

44. “Anger or hatred is like a fisherman’s hook. It is very important for us to ensure that we are not caught by it.”

45. “Although you may not always be able to avoid difficult situations, you can modify the extent to which you can suffer by how you choose to respond to the situation.” (from The Art of Happiness)

46. “Anger and fear undermine our immune system, while warm heartedness brings peace of mind. Therefore, just as we teach children to comply with physical hygiene for the good of their health, we should also counsel them in a kind of hygiene of the emotions.”

47. “The true hero is one who conquers his own anger and hatred.”

True hero is one who conquers his own anger and hatred. Dalai Lama

48. “We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.”

49. “Problems will always arise, but we need to address them differently. We need to engage in dialogue to resolve them rather than resorting to the use of force.”

50. “As human beings we need to assess whether anger has any value – it destroys our peace of mind. Compassion, on the other hand, brings optimism and hope.”

51. “In a world where people easily fall under the sway of anger and hatred, we need love, tolerance and contentment. You may have all the physical amenities you need to be comfortable, but it you have no peace of mind, they won’t make you happy. On the other hand, if you have peace of mind, you’ll be happy whether you have those amenities or not.”

52. “The way to change others’ minds is with affection, and not anger.”

53. “Anger cannot be overcome by anger. If someone is angry with you, and you show anger in return, the result is a disaster. On the other hand, if you control your anger and show its opposite – love, compassion, tolerance and patience – not only will you remain peaceful, but the other person’s anger will also diminish.”

54. “Generally speaking, if a human being never shows anger, then I think something’s wrong. He’s not right in the brain.”

55. “Hard times build determination and inner strength. Through them we can also come to appreciate the uselessness of anger. Instead of getting angry nurture a deep caring and respect for troublemakers because by creating such trying circumstances they provide us with invaluable opportunities to practice tolerance and patience.”

56. “Anger itself makes us feel bad and so, ultimately, it is bad for our health.”

57. “In fact, the enemy is the necessary condition for practicing patience. Without an enemy’s action, there is no possibility for patience or tolerance to arise. Our friends do not ordinarily test us and provide the opportunity to cultivate patience; only our enemies do this. So, from this standpoint we can consider our enemy as a great teacher, and revere them for giving us this precious opportunity to practice patience. ”



58. “Look at children. Of course they may quarrel, but generally speaking they do not harbor ill feelings as much or as long as adults do. Most adults have the advantage of education over children, but what is the use of an education if they show a big smile while hiding negative feelings deep inside? Children don’t usually act in such a manner. If they feel angry with someone, they express it, and then it is finished. They can still play with that person the following day.”

59. “Silence is sometimes the best answer”

60. “To conquer oneself is a greater victory than to conquer thousands in a battle.”

61. “Through violence, you may ‘solve’ one problem, but you sow the seeds for another”

62. “Scientists have shown that where constant anger and hatred undermine our immune systems, compassion strengthens our general well-being. To live more peacefully and joyfully in our day to day lives, we need a warm heart.”

63. “Scientists today are discovering that while anger and hatred eat into our immune system, warm-heartedness and compassion are good for our health.”

64. An eye for an eye… we are all blind. The 14th Dalai Lama Click To Tweet

65. “The various features and aspects of human life, such as longevity, good health, success, happiness, and so forth, which we consider desirable, are all dependent on kindness and a good heart.”

66. “Too much self-centered attitude brings isolation. Result: loneliness, fear, anger. The extreme self-centered attitude is the source of suffering.”

67. “When we are caught up in a destructive emotion, we lose one of our greatest assets: our independence.”

68. “Violence derives from anger and anger clouds our ability to think straight and properly assess what is happening.”

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Compassion

 

69. “Compassion can be roughly defined in terms of a state of mind that is nonviolent, nonharming, and nonaggressive. It is a mental attitude based on the wish for others to be free of their suffering and is associated with a sense of commitment, responsibility, and respect towards others.” From The Art of Happiness

70. “I really feel that some people neglect and overlook compassion because they associate it with religion. Of course, everyone is free to choose whether they pay religion any regard, but to neglect compassion is a mistake because it is the source of our own well-being.”

71. “This is my simple religion. No need for temples. No need for complicated philosophy. Your own mind, your own heart is the temple. Your philosophy is simple kindness.

72. “Compassion naturally creates a positive atmosphere, and as a result you feel peaceful and content.”

73. “Compassion is not religious business, it is human business, it is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability, it is essential for human survival.”

74. “When we are motivated by compassion and wisdom, the results of our actions benefit everyone, not just our individual selves or some immediate convenience. When we are able to recognize and forgive ignorant actions of the past, we gain strength to constructively solve the problems of the present.”

75. “Compassion is the radicalism of our time.”

76. “A truly compassionate attitude toward others does not change even if they behave negatively or hurt you.”

A truly compassionate attitude toward others does not change veen if they behave negatively or hurt you. Dalai Lama

77. “The world’s major religious traditions all give the development of compassion a key role.”

78. “Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek.”

79. “We discover that all human beings are just like us, so we are able to relate to them more easily. That generates a spirit of friendship in which there is less need to hide what we feel or what we are doing.”

80. “I believe compassion to be one of the few things we can practice that will bring immediate and long-term happiness to our lives. I’m not talking about the short-term gratification of pleasures like sex, drugs or gambling (though I’m not knocking them), but something that will bring true and lasting happiness. The kind that sticks.”

81. “World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not just mere absence of violence. Peace is, I think, the manifestation of human compassion.

82. “Love and Compassion are the true religions to me. But to develop this, we do not need to believe in any religion.”

83. “The topic of compassion is not at all religious business; it is important to know it is human business, it is a question of human survival.”

84. If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. (from The Art of Happiness) Click To Tweet

Bonus: Dalai Lama’s Guide to Health and Happiness (video)

Dalai Lama's guide to happiness

85. “There is one aspect to our experience of suffering that is of vital importance. When you are aware of your pain and suffering, it helps you to develop your capacity for empathy, the capacity that allows you to relate to other people’s feelings and suffering. This enhances your capacity for compassion towards others. So as an aid in helping us connect with others, it can be seen as having value.”

86. “As you breathe in, cherish yourself. As you breathe out, cherish all Beings.”

87. When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace. Dalai Lama Click To Tweet

88. “The purpose of all the major religious traditions is not to construct big temples on the outside, but to create temples of goodness and compassion inside, in our hearts.”

89. “Compassion suits our physical condition, whereas anger, fear and distrust are harmful to our well-being. Therefore, just as we learn the importance of physical hygiene to physical health, to ensure healthy minds, we need to learn some kind of emotional hygiene.”

90. “The seed of goodness is found in the soil of appreciation.”

91. “I have found that the greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion. The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being. Cultivating a close, warmhearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. It is the ultimate source of success in life.”

92. “A spoon cannot taste of the food it carries. Likewise, a foolish man cannot understand the wise man´s wisdom even if he associates with a sage.”

See also: Buddha’s Quotes on Friendship

93. “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” (from the Art of Happiness)

94. “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” Click To Tweet

95. “It is not enough to be compassionate. We must act.”

96. “If you think only of yourself, if you forget the rights and well-being of others, or, worse still, if you exploit others, ultimately you will lose. You will have no friends who will show concern for your well-being. Moreover, if a tragedy befalls you, instead of feeling concerned, others might even secretly rejoice. By contrast, if an individual is compassionate and altruistic, and has the interests of others in mind, then irrespective of whether that person knows a lot of people, wherever that person moves, he or she will immediately make friends. And when that person faces a tragedy, there will be plenty of people who will come to help.” The Dalai Lama’s Book of Wisdom

97. When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace. Dalai Lama Click To Tweet

98. “There are various positive side effects of enhancing one’s feeling of compassion. One of them is that the greater the force of your compassion, the greater your resilience in confronting hardships and your ability to transform them into more positive conditions.” from The Dalai Lama’s Book of Wisdom

99. “Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”

100. “Real compassion comes from seeing the suffering of others. You feel a sense of responsibility, and you want to do something for them.”

101. “Sometimes your dear friend, though still the same person, feels more like an enemy. Instead of love, you feel hostility. But with genuine love and compassion, another person’s appearance or behavior has no effect on your attitude.”