Dalai Lama quote

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Dalai Lama quote

Postby CoreyNiles92 » Fri Oct 26, 2012 7:55 pm

"In the West, I do not think it advisable to follow Buddhism. Changing religions is not like changing professions. Excitement lessens over the years, and soon you are not excited, and then where are you? Homeless inside yourself."

I wonder what he meant by this, would anyone care to enlighten me?
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Re: Dalai Lama quote

Postby equilibrium » Fri Oct 26, 2012 8:21 pm

Do you have the source?

He is talking about true commitment, generally, if one is already on another religion then why would Buddhism be any different for them over the years, what makes them think that they will make it. Excited is based on reaction hence jumping ship.....more importantly why did one take up religion in the first place?.....eventually one usually being "Homeless" in the process.....someone not truly benefited from the religion.
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Re: Dalai Lama quote

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Oct 26, 2012 8:25 pm

http://books.google.co.nz/books?id=7pDd ... f.&f=false

http://www.isgsp.net/namaste/dalai_lama ... eches.html
26 May 2001
The man from the town of Roaring Tiger (TA)
The Age - Melbourne


HIS HOLINESS the 14th Dalai Lama, the leader of millions of Buddhists, has sloping shoulders and the headlong bowlegged shamble of a bear. His gaze is intense and his crewcut so short that you want to rub his head as soon as you see him up close, although this is frowned upon by tradition and the very tall US State Department agents who hover near him at all times.

Recently, his travels brought him to Oregon, where he sat on a cushion at the visitors' end of the basketball court at a Catholic university and addressed an audience of people of every religious stripe imaginable.

Before His Holiness entered the arena proper he was ushered into a holding room at the university, a room where its athletic heroes are enshrined with mammoth wall plaques.

"Who are these famous people?" he asked.

"Football stars, mostly," he was told.

"Ah, America," said His Holiness.

"Too much ideas and ambition make you mad," he said to the president of the Catholic university a minute later. "That why a university with a spiritual context is a very good thing. A warm heart is more important than anything, isn't that so?"

"I couldn't agree more," said the president of the Catholic university.

Once inside the basketball arena, His Holiness bowed to everyone in sight and they bowed back, and the crowd stood silent and reverential for a long moment. The absolute silence of thousands of people is a remarkable sound. Then he mounted a little platform and folded himself on to his cushion and began to rock back and forth gently for two hours, during which time he talked pretty much continuously, in English for a while and then for a long time in Tibetan, his patient and gentle-voiced translator trying to keep up with His Holiness' thought, which was quicksilver and ranged far afield.

"Whenever I give a large teaching, I always make clear that it is safer to follow your own traditions, rather than change to another tradition," he said. "There's less confusion. Here in the West, I do not think it advisable to follow Buddhism. Changing religions is not like changing professions. Excitement lessons over the years, and soon you are not excited, and then where are you? Homeless inside yourself.

I will switch to Tibetan now, thank you. Sometimes when I speak in English, not only do I confuse you, but I have no idea what I am saying.

"Love and compassion are common to all faith traditions. Compassion for all sentient beings made by your Creator, this is integral to Christianity. Christians strive to fulfil the wishes of your Creator, and the primary wish of your Creator is love, is that not so? The Buddha and the Christ were similar men: ascetics, men used to hardship and not to luxury, men of perseverance and effort, extraordinary teachers. And, indeed, such hardship and ascetic practice are common to all the great spiritual teachers of the world. Yet now we seem to believe that our intellectual progress has advanced us past the great teachers of the past; we seem to believe we are superior to the simple teachers of long ago. But this is a mistake."

At this point a small girl ran up to one of the State Department agents who bent down from her great height to listen, and then the agent smiled, shook her head no gently, and the girl ran back to her seat. The agent said later that the girl had asked if she could speak to the Dalai Lama alone now.

His Holiness had a great many other things to say, but finally the Dalai Lama's two allotted hours in the gym drew to a close and so did his peroration. "All things are transient," concluded His Holiness suddenly, and there came a great silence. He rocked back and forth on his cushion. "Things change moment to moment, things are impermanent. We worry over the past, we anticipate the future, and we barely perceive a shred of the passing moment. But all of us of every faith tradition possess the possibility of pure light, is that not so? The question of who we are is very much open."
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Re: Dalai Lama quote

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:47 pm

Context is important and as Mike's reference shows he was speaking to a Catholic University and probably didn't want to come across as a missionary to convert them.

If we do read it literally, then I disagree with the Dalai Lama. He is a well-deserved respected teacher, but he comes from a very traditional-cultural, homogenous society (Tibet). Many of us come from diverse backgrounds and have more choices. Some in the West are born into families with no religion and no religious upbringing. For them, what is the religion that they are to stay in?

And some of us just don't want the cultural baggage that we were raised in and are not looking to adopt another one either. Among many in the West who adopt Theravada / vipassana, do so without any cultural baggage and just focus on the Dhamma teachings of Buddha. I admire the Dalai Lama, but as a Theravadin I would rather take advice from Bhikkhu Bodhi, Ajahn Brahm, Bhante Dhammanando, Bhikkhu Pesala, Ven. Appicchato, Bhikkhu Samahita, and other Theravada teachers (who left their birth religions).
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Re: Dalai Lama quote

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Oct 26, 2012 11:12 pm

While I'm not a follower of the Dalai Lama, I think he does a great job of speaking according to context. He came here after our earthquakes, was introduced by the Anglican Bishop, and gave an extremely positive talk. There was enough in there that one could recognise his wisdom in a Buddhist sense, but he did a lot more good for an audience of 5000 or so by concentrating on his non-Buddhist audience than he would by giving a technical presentation.

In recent Dhamma talks:
http://feeds.amaravati.org/AmaravatiTalks
I think in this one as well as others:
Ajahn Amaro: Buddhism in Britain in the next 200 years (2012)
[Which is a very interesting talk in it's own right...]
Ajahn Amaro mentioned that he was at a Buddhist meeting, where they were discussing some sort of rules of conduct for Dharma teachers. From memory what he said was that the draft had the first duty of teachers being to spread Buddhism. The Dalai Lama disagreed, the first duty was, he said, to encourage all people to be more kind and compassionate. :heart:

:anjali:
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Re: Dalai Lama quote

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Fri Oct 26, 2012 11:43 pm

With all due respect, a part of me wonders whether or not the Dalai Lama has anything to say anymore besides the most basic platitudes. I think, at least in America, he's become so much the adopted poster child for the liberal post-religious movement that he seems afraid, or at least uninterested, to voice any opinion that could even possibly paint Buddhism as anything but a rationalist secular humanism. I'm honestly confused about what he is trying to accomplish.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Dalai Lama quote

Postby Kusala » Sat Oct 27, 2012 12:32 am

CoreyNiles92 wrote:"In the West, I do not think it advisable to follow Buddhism. Changing religions is not like changing professions. Excitement lessens over the years, and soon you are not excited, and then where are you? Homeless inside yourself."

I wonder what he meant by this, would anyone care to enlighten me?


Since its inception, Buddhism has always been open to all regardless of race, creed, color, gender, etc. Attaching labels to the Dharma is limiting the Dharma...
Image

Homage to the Buddha
Thus indeed, is that Blessed One: He is the Holy One, fully enlightened, endowed with clear vision and virtuous conduct, sublime, the Knower of the worlds, the incomparable leader of men to be tamed, the teacher of gods and men, enlightened and blessed.

Homage to the Teachings
The Dhamma of the Blessed One is perfectly expounded; to be seen here and now; not delayed in
time; inviting one to come and see; onward leading (to Nibbana); to be known by the wise, each for himself.
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Re: Dalai Lama quote

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Oct 27, 2012 12:35 am

I don't follow the Dalai Lama's teachings, and I can't know what he's trying to accomplish, but perhaps for the general public he feels that encouraging compassion, tolerance, and so on is the most useful thing that he can do with his numerous invitations to speak. My understanding is that he has typically given public talks as part of a visit that includes much deeper teachings. So when he visited New Zealand in 2009 he had:

http://www.dalailamavisit.org.nz/public-talk.html
A Peaceful Mind
Saturday December 5th 2009, 2.00pm
Everybody wants a happy, successful life. Of course, external conditions are important, but I think that for a happy life, a happy family, and a happy community, much depends on our mental attitude. The key factor, I feel, is human compassion, a sense of caring for one another.
...

http://www.dalailamavisit.org.nz/public-teaching.html
Nagarjuna's Commentary on Bodhicitta
Sunday December 6th 2009, 10am -12 Noon, 1.30pm -3.30pm.
Developing a kind heart and awakening the mind is not just a sentimental or religious goal..

Nagarjuna's text is a commentary on a verse from the root tantra of Guhyasamaja.

In introducing Nagarjuna's text, His Holiness discusses the etymology of Bodhicitta, noting that the Bodhisattva path relies on the analytical power of intelligence to transform the mind through purification of afflictions and obscurations and attainment of realizations of ultimate reality.
...

In 2011 he visited a few months after our devastating earthquake.
http://www.dalailamavisit.org.nz/christchurch2011.html
His Holiness the Dalai Lama is to visit Christchurch, to offer prayers and support for the people of Christchurch, particularly for those who died in the earthquake and their families, but also for the wider community.

His Holiness will offer prayers and speak publicly at the CBS Canterbury Arena, Addington, at 12 noon on Wednesday June 8th.

This will be a free non ticketed event. The CBS Canterbury Arena will open to the public from 10.30am. All are welcome to attend.

Clearly, he has different messages for different audiences.

I've noticed the same thing with most Theravada teachers I've met. If they have a deep knowledge it often expresses itself as as an ability to tailor their message to the audience.

And it's sometimes hard to tell how serious someone is from reports, public talks, or internet recordings. I thought, for example, that Ajahn Brahm was a bit lightweight and frivolous (based on his Friday talks on the internet) before I saw him give a couple of talks and a workshop a few years ago.

:anjali:
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Re: Dalai Lama quote

Postby darvki » Sat Oct 27, 2012 1:52 am

LonesomeYogurt wrote:With all due respect, a part of me wonders whether or not the Dalai Lama has anything to say anymore besides the most basic platitudes. I think, at least in America, he's become so much the adopted poster child for the liberal post-religious movement that he seems afraid, or at least uninterested, to voice any opinion that could even possibly paint Buddhism as anything but a rationalist secular humanism. I'm honestly confused about what he is trying to accomplish.

He has a lot more he could be saying, but appropriately, he saves it for Vajrayana practitioners who want to hear those teachings from a great master. It's difficult to dip into your deepest well of knowledge when the audience isn't interested in or at least knowledgeable of the subject.

As for secular humanism, while a common ideology (whether or not individuals choose to label it as such), it is far from actualized. Being secular, people make the mistake of (usually unconsciously, I would imagine) placing it far from religion regarding how it should be approached. The result is insufficient spiritual/personal investment and therefore insufficient commitment. More power to His Holiness for encouraging its follow through.
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Re: Dalai Lama quote

Postby waimengwan » Sat Oct 27, 2012 9:42 am

Buddhism is actually not focused on converting others it is about trying to bring the truth to others. And many people can get very excited about the new 'toy' as in Buddhism, but there is a Chinese saying that goes 'New Toilet' - everyone is very excited when they get a new toilet/swanking toilet. Now that I have written it, hmmm the cultural context may not be as appropriate. But perhaps many people who are used to the concept of a permanent self or Judeo Christian God thoeries it will be difficult to accept Buddhist doctrines.
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Re: Dalai Lama quote

Postby barcsimalsi » Sat Oct 27, 2012 11:17 am

waimengwan wrote:Buddhism is actually not focused on converting others it is about trying to bring the truth to others. And many people can get very excited about the new 'toy' as in Buddhism, but there is a Chinese saying that goes 'New Toilet' - everyone is very excited when they get a new toilet/swanking toilet. Now that I have written it, hmmm the cultural context may not be as appropriate. But perhaps many people who are used to the concept of a permanent self or Judeo Christian God thoeries it will be difficult to accept Buddhist doctrines.

Sadly, some individuals were already starting to accuse Buddhism of hijacking Jesus because of this documentary:
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Re: Dalai Lama quote

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Sat Oct 27, 2012 2:48 pm

darvki wrote:He has a lot more he could be saying, but appropriately, he saves it for Vajrayana practitioners who want to hear those teachings from a great master. It's difficult to dip into your deepest well of knowledge when the audience isn't interested in or at least knowledgeable of the subject.

Then isn't it a more worthwhile endeavor to teach people about such things instead of just reaffirming basic platitudes about compassion and kindness? Such things are important, but they risk turning Buddhism in the West to little more than positive thinking. He doesn't seem to be interested in bringing about the hard truths or even vaguely challenging notions of the Buddha's teaching, and such an attitude among teachers can be very destructive. Perhaps he doesn't understand the cultural landscape of America perfectly, but he has undeniably enabled a huge number of self-styled "Buddhists" who have very, very little really Dhamma to work with.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Dalai Lama quote

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Oct 27, 2012 6:10 pm

If everyone must remain in their birth religion then religion becomes nothing but another ethnic identity, just as we have no control over our ethnicity, we would have no control over our religion and our genes would tell us what to believe in.

Buddhism is not like that and is universal, allowing and encouraging others to join us on the Path.

“Wander forth, O bhikkhus, for the welfare of the multitude, for the happiness of the multitude, out of compassion for the world, for the good, welfare, and happiness of devas and humans. Let not two go the same way. Teach, O bhikkhus, the Dhamma that is good in the beginning, good in the middle, good in the end, with the right meaning and phrasing.” Samyutta Nikaya 4.453
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Re: Dalai Lama quote

Postby ignobleone » Sat Oct 27, 2012 6:15 pm

CoreyNiles92 wrote:"In the West, I do not think it advisable to follow Buddhism. Changing religions is not like changing professions. Excitement lessens over the years, and soon you are not excited, and then where are you? Homeless inside yourself."

I wonder what he meant by this, would anyone care to enlighten me?

Hi CoreyNiles92,

He wanted to address a very important issue which is called conviction.
It doesn't mean to be racist as some people might think. The point is, if you want to learn Buddhism then leave your former believe system completely behind. You won't be able to understand the Teaching (won't be in the right Path, etc) if any piece from your former believe system still sticks in you.
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Re: Dalai Lama quote

Postby darvki » Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:18 am

LonesomeYogurt wrote:Then isn't it a more worthwhile endeavor to teach people about such things instead of just reaffirming basic platitudes about compassion and kindness?

I don't know. Is it? My point stands: people rarely react well to being spoon fed something, especially if it's new and is supposed to save them. I can tell from your posts around the forum that you're an admirably dedicated Theravada Buddhist, but not everyone is so predisposed to the teachings. Dukkha, anicca and anatta are hard to swollow, and concepts in Mahayana and Vajrayana like bodhicitta and tantra can be just as or more inaccessible.

LonesomeYogurt wrote:Such things are important, but they risk turning Buddhism in the West to little more than positive thinking.

I fail to see how a prominent Buddhist figure giving secular advice, primarily to non-Buddhists, could possibly reform Buddhism itself.

LonesomeYogurt wrote:He doesn't seem to be interested in bringing about the hard truths or even vaguely challenging notions of the Buddha's teaching, and such an attitude among teachers can be very destructive.

"Destructive" seems a bit extreme. Could you give an example?

LonesomeYogurt wrote:Perhaps he doesn't understand the cultural landscape of America perfectly, but he has undeniably enabled a huge number of self-styled "Buddhists" who have very, very little really Dhamma to work with.

Self-styled Buddhists are responsible for their own practice. If they don't have fifteen seconds to look up, say, His Holiness' extended talks on the Four Noble Truths, surely he cannot be he held accountable for that.
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Re: Dalai Lama quote

Postby Buckwheat » Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:24 pm

mikenz66 wrote:...the first duty of teachers being to spread Buddhism. The Dalai Lama disagreed, the first duty was, he said, to encourage all people to be more kind and compassionate. :heart:

:anjali:
Mike


Are not these two goals one and the same? I dare say the goal is the same, but the approaches are different. One approach is focused on Buddhism, the other acknowledges the complexity of western culture. Should the Dalai Lama attempt conversion, or should he accept the fact that Christianity is a force to be respected by using terms any Christian should appreciate? It seems to me like the gradual teaching approach.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.
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Re: Dalai Lama quote

Postby Kamran » Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:18 pm

I think the Dalai Lama, and Buddhism in general, is against proselytizing. In many countries trying to convert people to Buddhism would cause a backlash from the clergy and/or religious community, so Dalai Lama is making it clear that that is not his intention.

Ajahn Sumedho also tries to diffuse this issue using a different tactic: he says people can't convert to Buddhism because Buddhism is not a belief system, its just a practice of meditating and learning how to stop your own destructive emotions.
When this concentration is thus developed, thus well developed by you, then wherever you go, you will go in comfort. Wherever you stand, you will stand in comfort. Wherever you sit, you will sit in comfort. Wherever you lie down, you will lie down in comfort.
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Re: Dalai Lama quote

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:13 pm

Buckwheat wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:...the first duty of teachers being to spread Buddhism. The Dalai Lama disagreed, the first duty was, he said, to encourage all people to be more kind and compassionate. :heart:

:anjali:
Mike


Are not these two goals one and the same?

It's certainly a crucial part of Buddhism, but all (sensible) religions encourage kindness, compassion, etc.
Buckwheat wrote: I dare say the goal is the same, but the approaches are different. One approach is focused on Buddhism, the other acknowledges the complexity of western culture. Should the Dalai Lama attempt conversion, or should he accept the fact that Christianity is a force to be respected by using terms any Christian should appreciate? It seems to me like the gradual teaching approach.

Well, yes, I certainly agree with the gradual approach. When I've had to talk to groups of visitors at our Wat I try to find common ground (development of kindness, calm, etc.). Unless someone is really interested in Dhamma and asks specific questions I don't see much point in going into technicalities.

:anjali:
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Re: Dalai Lama quote

Postby m0rl0ck » Sun Oct 28, 2012 8:23 pm

LonesomeYogurt wrote: I'm honestly confused about what he is trying to accomplish.


Does he have to accomplish something? Its seems to me that him just being somewhere to remind people of whats really important is the accomplishment.
"When you meditate, don't send your mind outside. Don't fasten onto any knowledge at all. Whatever knowledge you've gained from books or teachers, don't bring it in to complicate things. Cut away all preoccupations, and then as you meditate let all your knowledge come from what's going on in the mind. When the mind is quiet, you'll know it for yourself. But you have to keep meditating a lot. When the time comes for things to develop, they'll develop on their own. Whatever you know, have it come from your own mind.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: Dalai Lama quote

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:55 pm

All very good points above, but I think some of the posters who are defending the Dalai Lama might be conflating two separate issues. It is good that the Dalai Lama is a great teacher and promoting niceness and compassion and all those good things and not trying to convert others to his religion. However, what if we take his statement literally?

Dalai Lama wrote:Here in the West, I do not think it advisable to follow Buddhism. Changing religions is not like changing professions. Excitement lessons over the years, and soon you are not excited, and then where are you? Homeless inside yourself.


If we take that literally none of us should be here. We should all be following the religion we were born into. We should have let our genes decide what to believe in. I don't think anyone here agrees with that. We should be allowed to examine all philosophies and religions and make our own choices.

If we take it figuratively, then perhaps he meant only those who have the conviction to follow it completely should change religions, but don't know if that was his real meaning. It would be nice if a reporter or someone else close to him asked him for more clarification.
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