Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama Quotes 1–30 of 98 Quotes

His Holiness, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama (born 6 July 1935). Head of state and spiritual leader of the people of Tibet; Awarded the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize; born Lhamo Dhondrub, renamed Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso (Holy Lord, Gentle Glory, Compassionate, Defender of the Faith, Ocean of Wisdom) upon being officially recognized as the Dalai Lama. Tibetans often refer to him as Yeshe Norbu, the "Wishfulfilling Gem" or just Kundun - "The Presence."

Below are 30 of 98 sourced Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama quotes. Sources and related information appear under each quote. Use the 'Cite this quote' link to get citation references.

“From my own limited experience 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 our own sense of well-being becomes. Cultivating a close, warm-hearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. This helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the ultimate source of success in life.”

— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

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Quote source: Compassion and the Individual

“Ultimately, the reason why love and compassion bring the greatest happiness is simply that our nature cherishes them above all else. The need for love lies at the very foundation of human existence. It results from the profound interdependence we all share with one another.”

— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

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Quote source: Compassion and the Individual

“I believe that at every level of society - familial, tribal, national and international - the key to a happier and more successful world is the growth of compassion. We do not need to become religious, nor do we need to believe in an ideology. All that is necessary is for each of us to develop our good human qualities. I try to treat whoever I meet as an old friend. This gives me a genuine feeling of happiness. It is the practice of compassion.”

— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

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Quote source: Compassion and the Individual

“My true religion is Kindness.”

— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

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More on this quote: Kindness, Clarity, and Insight (1984)
  • As quoted in Tibet, a Guide to the Land of Fascination (1988) by Trilok Chandra Majupuria and Indra Majupuria.

“It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible. From this, happiness in both the short term and the long term for both yourself and others will come.”

— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

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Quote source: Kindness, Clarity, and Insight (1984).

“It is very good to recite the mantra Om mani padme hum, but while you are doing it, you should be thinking on its meaning, for the meaning of the six syllables is great and vast. The first, Om is composed of three letters, A, U, and M. These symbolize the practitioner's impure body, speech, and mind; they also symbolize the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha. Can impure body, speech, and mind be transformed into pure body, speech, and mind, or are they entirely separate? All Buddhas are cases of beings who were like ourselves and then in dependence on the path became enlightened; Buddhism does not assert that there is anyone who from the beginning is free from faults and possesses all good qualities. The development of pure body, speech, and mind comes from gradually leaving the impure states and their being transformed into the pure. How is this done? The path is indicated by the next four syllables.”

— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

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Quote source: A Talk on OM MANI PADME HUM, Shambhala Publications, (Autumn 2002)

“There is a saying in Tibetan that “at the door of the miserable rich man sleeps the contented beggar”. The point of this saying is not that poverty is a virtue, but that happiness does not come with wealth, but from setting limits to one’s desires, and living within those limits with satisfaction.”

— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

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Quote source: In Rubin, Gary (April 2013), Your Emotional Fitness: Everything You Need to Know to Live a Life of Abundance, pages: 173–, publisher: Balboa Press, ISBN: 978-1-4525-7059-4.

“Religion does not mean just precepts, a temple, monastery, or other external signs, for these as well as hearing and thinking are subsidiary factors in taming the mind. When the mind becomes the practices, one is a practitioner of religion, and when the mind does not become the practices one is not.”

— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

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Quote source: Deity Yoga (1987)

“'''Great wealth can only be obtained through deception and corruption.”

— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

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Quote source: ''37 Practices of the Bodhisattva, teaching at Bodhgaya (January 1974).

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“I feel that the essence of spiritual practice is your attitude toward others. When you have a pure, sincere motivation, then you have right attitude toward others based on kindness, compassion, love and respect. Practice brings the clear realisation of the oneness of all human beings and the importance of others benefiting by your actions.”

— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

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Quote source: Answering the question "Your Holiness, there are many people in the West who want to combine their spiritual practice with social and political responsibility. Do you feel that these two aspects are connected?" in an interview with Catherine Ingram, Dharamsala, India (2 November 1988).

“It is the enemy who can truly teach us to practice the virtues of compassion and tolerance.”

— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

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Quote source: Ocean of Wisdom: Guidelines for Living (1989)

“I am a simple Buddhist monk — no more, no less.”

— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

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Quote source: As quoted in Nobel Prize Winners (1991) by Lisa F. Dewitt.

“Dr. Rajendra Prasad was a true Bodhisatva. His humility brought tears to my eyes.”

— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

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Quote source: Freedom in Exile: The Autobiography of the Dalai Lama (1991).

“Thousands — millions and billions — of animals are killed for food. That is very sad. We human beings can live without meat, especially in our modern world. We have a great variety of vegetables and other supplementary foods, so we have the capacity and the responsibility to save billions of lives. I have seen many individuals and groups promoting animal rights and following a vegetarian diet. This is excellent. Certain killing is purely a "luxury." … But perhaps the saddest is factory farming. The poor animals there really suffer. I once visited a poultry farm in Japan where they keep 200,000 hens for two years just for their eggs. During those two years, they are prisoners. Then after two years, when they are no longer productive, the hens are sold. That is really shocking, really sad. We must support those who are attempting to reduce that kind of unfair treatment. An Indian friend told me that his young daughter has been arguing with him that it is better to serve one cow to ten people than to serve chicken or other small animals, since more lives would be involved. In the Indian tradition, beef is always avoided, but I think there is some logic to her argument. Shrimp, for example, are very small. For one plate, many lives must be sacrificed. To me, this is not at all delicious. I find it really awful, and I think it is better to avoid these things. If your body needs meat, it may be better to eat bigger animals. Eventually you may be able to eliminate the need for meat. I think that our basic nature as human beings is to be vegetarian — making every effort not to harm other living beings. If we apply our intelligence, we can create a sound, nutritional program. It is very dangerous to ignore the suffering of any sentient being.”

— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

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Quote source: Interview in Worlds in Harmony: Dialogues on Compassionate Action, Berkeley: Parallax Press, 1992, pp. 20-21.

“Don't compare me with Jesus. He is a great master, a great master...”

— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

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Quote source: Interview in The New York Times (28 November 1993).

“I believe that in the 20th century, humanity has learned from many, many experiences. Some positive, and many negative. What misery, what destruction! The greatest number of human beings were killed in the two world wars of this century. But human nature is such that when we face a tremendous critical situation, the human mind can wake up and find some other alternative. That is a human capacity.”

— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

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Quote source: Interview in The New York Times (28 November 1993).

“Reason well from the beginning and then there will never be any need to look back with confusion and doubt.”

— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

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Quote source: The Path to Enlightenment (1994)

“Human happiness and human satisfaction must ultimately come from within oneself. It is wrong to expect some final satisfaction to come from money or from a computer.”

— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

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Quote source: The Path to Tranquility: Daily Wisdom (1998) edited by Renuka Singh

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“It is also possible within this lifetime to enhance the power of the mind, enabling one to reaccess memories from previous lives. Such recollection tends to be more accessible during meditative experiences in the dream state. Once one has accessed memories of previous lives in the dream state, one gradually recalls them in the waking state.”

— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

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Quote source: Consciousness at the Crossroads: Conversations with The Dalai Lama on Brain Science and Buddhism (1999)

“If there is love, there is hope that one may have real families, real brotherhood, real equanimity, real peace. If the love within your mind is lost and you see other beings as enemies, then no matter how much knowledge or education or material comfort you have, only suffering and confusion will ensue”

— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

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Quote source: The Little Book of Buddhism (2000)

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

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Quote source: As quoted in Meditations for Living In Balance: Daily Solutions for People Who Do Too Much (2000) by Anne Wilson Schaef, p. 11.

“Within the body there are billions of different particles. Similarly, there are many different thoughts and a variety of states of mind. It is wise to take a close look into the world of your mind and to make the distinction between beneficial and harmful states of mind. Once you can recognize the value of good states of mind, you can increase or foster them.”

— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

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Quote source: The Dalai Lama's Book of Wisdom (2000).

“Compassion without attachment is possible. Therefore, we need to clarify the distinctions between compassion and attachment. True compassion is not just an emotional response but a firm commitment founded on reason. Therefore, a truly compassionate attitude towards others does not change even if they behave negatively. Genuine compassion is based not on our own projections and expectations, but rather on the needs of the other...”

— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

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Quote source: The Compassionate Life (2001), Ch. 2 "How to Develop Compassion" p. 21

“From the moment of birth every human being wants happiness and freedom and wants to avoid suffering. In this we are all the same; and the more we care for the happiness of others the greater our own sense of each other becomes. Many of our problems are created by ourselves based on divisions due to ideology, religion, race, resources, economic status or other factors. The time has come to think on a deeper, more human level and appreciate and respect our sameness as human beings. And to have a respect for endangered cultures that share these principles. We are at the dawn of an age in which many people feel that extreme political concepts should cease to dominate human affairs. We should use this opportunity to replace them with universal human and spiritual values and ensure that these values become the fiber of the global family that is emerging. It is not possible to find peace with anger, hatred, jealousy or greed. At every level of society, familial, tribal, national and international, the key to a happier and more peaceful and successful world is the growth of compassion. We do not necessarily need to become religious, nor even believe in an ideology. We need only to develop our good human qualities and know that love and compassion are the most essential concepts for human survival. So long as human beings live and suffer, the only world open to our present knowledge, the brotherhood of man will seem an unattainable principle. In order for us to achieve real lasting peace among one another, the effort to realize that noblest and most satisfactory moral value must be occupation of every individual intelligence.”

— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

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Quote source: The Compassionate Life (2001) Ch. 3 "Global Compassion".

“According to Buddhism, individuals are masters of their own destiny. And all living beings are believed to possess the nature of the Primordial Buddha Samantabhadra, the potential or seed of enlightenment, within them. So our future is in our own hands. What greater free will do we need?”

— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

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Quote source: Answering the question: "Do sentient beings have free will?" in Dzogchen : The Heart Essence of the Great Perfection (2001), p. 168, .

“We need a little more compassion, and if we cannot have it then no politician or even a magician can save the planet.”

— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

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Quote source: As quoted in Words Of Wisdom: Selected Quotes by His Holiness the Dalai Lama (2001) edited by Margaret Gee, p. 49.

“Compassion and tolerance are not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.”

— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

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Quote source: As quoted in Words Of Wisdom: Selected Quotes by His Holiness the Dalai Lama (2001) edited by Margaret Gee, p. 71.

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Angelina Jolie Audrey Hepburn Mae West Marilyn Monroe

Artists

Bob Ross E. E. Cummings Frida Kahlo Kahlil Gibran Leonardo da Vinci Picasso Salvador Dali Vincent van Gogh Walt Disney

Athletes

Arnold Schwarzenegger Bruce Lee Conor McGregor John Wooden Michael Jordan Mike Tyson Muhammad Ali Vince Lombardi Yogi Berra

Authors

Alan Watts Albert Camus Anne Frank Ayn Rand Barack Obama Benjamin Franklin Bill Gates C. S. Lewis Carl Jung Carl Sagan Charles Bukowski Che Guevara Donald Trump Dr. Seuss E. E. Cummings Eckhart Tolle Edgar Allan Poe Emily Dickinson Ernest Hemingway F. Scott Fitzgerald Friedrich Nietzsche George Bernard Shaw George Carlin George Orwell Goethe Groucho Marx Haruki Murakami Helen Keller Henry David Thoreau Hunter S. Thompson Isaac Newton J. K. Rowling J. R. R. Tolkien Jane Austen John Green John Muir Jordan Peterson Kahlil Gibran Karl Marx Kurt Vonnegut Lao Tzu Machiavelli Mark Twain Maya Angelou Neil deGrasse Tyson Oscar Wilde Rabindranath Tagore Ralph Waldo Emerson Roald Dahl Robert Frost Rumi Shakespeare Stephen Hawking Sylvia Plath Theodore Roosevelt Thich Nhat Hanh Tony Robbins Voltaire Walt Whitman Winston Churchill Zig Ziglar

Businesspeople

Al Capone Bill Gates Coco Chanel Donald Trump Elon Musk Henry Ford Kanye West Michael Jordan Oprah Winfrey Richard Branson Steve Jobs Thomas Edison Walt Disney Warren Buffett

Coaches

John Wooden Tony Robbins Vince Lombardi Yogi Berra Zig Ziglar

Comedians

Charlie Chaplin George Carlin Groucho Marx Mae West Mitch Hedberg Robin Williams Will Smith

Explorers

Christopher Columbus Marco Polo Theodore Roosevelt

Fictional Characters

Albus Dumbledore The Joker Peter Pan Rocky Balboa Yoda

Inventors

Benjamin Franklin Elon Musk Leonardo da Vinci Nikola Tesla Thomas Edison

Military Leaders

Abraham Lincoln Adolf Hitler Alexander the Great Che Guevara Genghis Khan George Washington Julius Caesar Napoleon Sun Tzu Theodore Roosevelt Winston Churchill

Musicians & Singers

Beyoncé Bob Dylan Bob Marley Drake Ed Sheeran Eminem J. Cole Jimi Hendrix John Lennon Justin Bieber Kanye West Kendrick Lamar Kurt Cobain Lana Del Rey Lil Wayne Michael Jackson Taylor Swift Tupac Will Smith Wiz Khalifa

Philosophers

Alan Watts Albert Camus Aristotle Ayn Rand Confucius Dalai Lama Friedrich Nietzsche Henry David Thoreau Karl Marx Lao Tzu Machiavelli Marcus Aurelius Noam Chomsky Plato Ralph Waldo Emerson Socrates Thomas Jefferson Voltaire

Poets

Charles Bukowski E. E. Cummings Edgar Allan Poe Emily Dickinson Friedrich Nietzsche Henry David Thoreau J. R. R. Tolkien Kahlil Gibran Rabindranath Tagore Ralph Waldo Emerson Robert Frost Rumi Shakespeare Walt Whitman

Politicians

A. P. J. Abdul Kalam Abraham Lincoln Adolf Hitler Alexander the Great Arnold Schwarzenegger Barack Obama Ben Carson Benjamin Franklin Confucius Donald Trump Eleanor Roosevelt George Washington Hillary Clinton Isaac Newton John F. Kennedy Julius Caesar Machiavelli Marcus Aurelius Michelle Obama Napoleon Nelson Mandela Ronald Reagan Theodore Roosevelt Thomas Jefferson Winston Churchill

Polymaths

Benjamin Franklin Goethe Leonardo da Vinci Rabindranath Tagore Thomas Jefferson

Religious & Spiritual

Buddha Dalai Lama Gandhi Jesus Martin Luther King Mother Teresa Muhammad Osho Pope Francis Swami Vivekananda Thich Nhat Hanh

Scientists

A. P. J. Abdul Kalam Albert Einstein Aristotle Isaac Newton Leonardo da Vinci Marie Curie Neil deGrasse Tyson Nikola Tesla Stephen Hawking Thomas Edison