The Dalai Lama, When Asked What Surprised Him Most About Humanity, Answered “Man”

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Dalai Lama quote
Background image – *christopher* – Wikipedia – lic. under CC BY-SA 2.0



“The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, then dies having never really lived.”

Tenzin Gyatso (1950 – present), more commonly called as the “the Dalai Lama” is the 14th and current Dalai Lama. He received multiple awards for his significant contributions as a Tibetan spiritual leader. He is believed to be the reincarnation of the Thubten Gayatso, the 13th Dalai Lama. Despite these, he still views himself as a simple Buddhist monk who lives to serve and not to be served—exactly what Buddhism is all about. He is a religious figure and an activist for the liberation of Tibet from the People’s Republic of China.

Dalai Lamas are considered as enlightened beings that chose to be reincarnated as spiritual leaders instead of reaching Nirvana. To be declared as Dalai Lama is the highest achievement for a Tibetan Buddhist monk. “Dalai Lama” means “Ocean Teacher”, implied as a guru who holds deep wisdom and knowledge. However, in contrast to other spiritual teachers, the Dalai Lama believes in the importance of Science in expanding human consciousness and discovering the truth.

The quote illustrates human’s lack of mindfulness and how it affects their quality of life. Studies have revealed that Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) improves immunity and alleviates chronic pain. Furthermore, meditation has been proven to improve one’s general outlook, reducing the tendency for depression, obesity, drug-use, and other harmful practices. A study on Neuroscience even discovered the effects of meditation on shrinking the “fight and flight” response and improving the area on decision-making, awareness, and concentration.

“Buddhist mindfulness is about the present, but I also think it’s about being real. Being awake to everything. Feeling like nothing can hurt you if you can look it straight on.” – Krista Tippett


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