What does the Dalai Lama mean to you?
By: Khadro Tsokyi Norbu
What does the Dalai Lama mean to you? I feel like this question has been asked multiple times. As a British TIbetan I feel as if I should automatically know the answer. The question should be so simple to answer yet every time I become emotionless. As my thoughts race to gather for a valid answer, my mind just drops back to the same question and self-contemplates, what really does the Dalai Lama mean to me?
How could I ask myself this question? I am a 16 year old British Tibetan girl living in a traditional Tibetan household, learning my language, history, instruments and religion every week. Is it not a necessity for me to understand the Dalai Lama’s importance as a Tibetan? The guilt of not knowing the answer as a Tibetan is suffocating but it gives me some comfort that there are some young Tibetans brought up in exile who have the same feeling. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that our parents have been baby feeding us the fact that we should always respect the Dalai Lama. Our respect has been dug into our brain so deep that if we question it, it becomes slightly taboo. Due to this I have tried to enlighten myself on the topic further by asking deeper and constructive questions with my family and through online research; my weekly history and language Tibetan classes have additionally educated me on the Dalai Lama and what he not only means to Tibetans but to the world.
While investigating my answer I noticed that everybody has a different interpretation towards what the Dalai Lama means to them, despite us all being grateful for his holiness’ contributions. For example my sister, acha Pema, believes the Dalai Lama stimulates hope for the Tibetan people and our struggle for freedom. My Pala believes that the Dalai Lama’s determined spirit towards persevering our culture, language and politics has given the Tibetan people a sense of identity despite China’s attempt to break it. Occasionally my Amala tells me stories of her life in Tibet, she once told me that despite China’s occupation, Tibetans still revered His Holiness the Dalai Lama, they thought of him as a god. If the weather was bad with thunder and rain, they would be very concerned that something unpleasant was happening to His Holiness, other respected lamas or even that the Tibetan Government in Exile was facing trouble. My mother’s family and the entire village would organize prayers and go to the mountains to offer sangsol.
2020 largely exposed a society that talks, walks and breaths for the desire of power. The media revealing murder, police brutality, war, concentration camps, abuse and discrimination. Violence. Violence in every street, every town, every city and every country. Violence has become a source of power in the eyes of mankind and has engulfed all of what is in existence today. Despite all the chaos, the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyasto has brought light and hope among the depths of darkness. For example, in the early months of lockdown caused by Covid-19, His Holiness gave an Avalokiteshvara Empowerment teaching with the intent to give comfort and guidance in this difficult time. However the Dalai Lama is still a realist and believes while prayer is helpful, action will ultimately be more beneficial. “We are all worried about loved ones and the future, of both the global economy and our own individual homes. But prayer is not enough. This crisis shows that we must all take responsibility where we can. We must combine the courage doctors and nurses are showing with empirical science to begin to turn this situation around and protect our future from more such threats.” – Dalai Lama (Dalailama.com).
His Holiness seeks peace and preaches to cultivate compassion through action and kindness to all beings. His holiness spends his life committed to benefiting humanity and his teachings enlightens me. As a teenager in the 21st century, I can be easily influenced and act ignorantly. Therefore listening to his teachings has benefitted my emotional intelligence and how I treat the people around me which I am very grateful for. The Dalai Lama has 19.3 million followers on twitter, he regularly addresses advice on achieving inner peace. He has guided people all around the world, promoting inner peace and non violence. His teachings have also fueled hope and joy especially within Tibetans in Tibet, as most of what they valued have been stripped away. His determination and resilience for healing our corrupt world inspires me, feeling like an adrenaline rush.
The Dalai Lama helped build and guide the Central Tibetan Administration (Tibetan Government in Exile) which includes various departments such as Information, Education, Home, Security, Religious affairs and Economic affairs. His Holiness has also promulgated a draft constitution for Tibet which assures a democratic form of government. His major contributions have allowed us to preserve our Tibetan identity and rich heritage. Due to this His Holiness was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his non violence efforts for the liberation of Tibet from China’s repression. On account of his exceptional actions, he has assisted many Tibetan refugees to reassemble their new lives in exile. Allowing new vibrant communities, Tibetan refugee children to have an education, security and safety for new refugees and good health. Therefore I am vastly thankful and certainly obliged ,as a part of the new Tibetan generation, to perverse and promote our rich cultural traditions. “We should use our truth, justice and courage as weapons to eventually prevail in regaining freedom for Tibet.” – Dalai Lama. I will keep this quote as a reminder of our people’s struggle and the work I must do for our nation. Learning more about His Holiness’ work has rejuvenated strength within me.
The Dalai Lama to me is a role model. His efforts are tremendous, yet his great and pure soul is what alarms me first. His Holiness’ revolutionary determination and motivation toward supporting all human beings amazes me. He fights his battles with words giving speeches around the world while sharing messages of harmony and compassion. For example despite the Chinese communists tearing apart his homeland the Dalai Lama yet calls them “brothers and sisters”. Even though His Holiness is 85 years old he still travels globally promoting kindness and compassion. His resilience empowers me. Furthermore not only does the Dalai Lama promote Buddhism, he promotes all religions and encourages religious harmony between religious people and non religious. He believes all religions have great qualities in benefiting humanity and therefore we should all see each other as one and unite, instead of creating wars and conflict. I believe this is a crucial message as many of the conflicts in the 21st century revolve around religious inequality.
As I work on this essay I realise unknowingly his holiness’ work has affected my daily life and the choices I make. For example as the Dalai Lama says, we must be compassionate to all sentient beings and as a result I have begun eating less meat products and spent more time in nature. Moreover I try to meditate while self reflecting on my actions and how I can react in a positively effective manner: when meditating I also aim to become more grateful towards my family and friends around me. As well as this, I also continuously join Tibetan school, Summer camps and extra Tibetan projects or competitions (such as the essay I am writing currently). Before I would not bevery enthusiastic about further learning about our cultural traditions. But recently, I have discovered the beauty in studying about Tibet. I join these extra activities as I understand the importance of educating myself on my Tibetan language, history, dance, politics and religion allowing me to therefore preserve and play a part in protecting our culture and identity and also to pass this on to the next generation.
What does His Holiness the Dalai Lama mean to you?
By: Tenzin Dechen Lobsang (17)
His Holiness the Dalai Lama has acted as a guidepost for the majority of my entire life. I am only seventeen, yet I have felt the effects and learnt lessons to last me for the duration of my entire lifetime.
These seventeen years have felt like a dream and also a nightmare in many ways in which are too tedious and perhaps even too painful to look back on; however in recent years and especially following the lockdown, I have looked to His Holiness the Dalai Lama as someone who has inspired me and so many others through this uncertain and certainly distressing time.
Admittingly, throughout my younger years I have not paid the right and respectable amount of my time and attention to internalise the lessons and life long advice from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. This is something that I regret – but then again I have come to realise that regret isn’t healthy or helpful to my future actions. A lesson that I have really stuck to which has helped me deal with certain outcomes is the idea revolving around what lesson I can learn from an unfortunate event. The failure that has happened has happened, and there’s undoubtedly no way to prevent this from happening if it has already taken place, but it’s how I deal with this that matters. This quote “When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.” has stuck with me. I have personally struggled with dealing with events that haven’t gone to plan to me. With this simple yet inconspicuous method, I have been able to manage bad test results and other events that haven’t gone my way, and developed a way to really observe the lesson that is available to learn here. It isn’t necessarily what His Holiness the Dalai Lama means to me, but more the case of how he has impacted my way in a positive light, and to continuously inspire, motivate and educate me. This is one way in which I am able to show my appreciation for His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Unwittingly we are all our own biggest haters and criticisers as well as occasionally being our own biggest fans. The concept of happiness is entirely subjective and for most people is a goal. Yet goals such as a big house, a fast car and the best phone are usually linked to this subjective idea of happiness. At a young age this very may well be the case, young minds are impressionable and subject to influence and perhaps even manipulation. His Holiness the Dalai Lama addresses this issue in a more subtle way in my own personal opinion, but even so done so subtly, in a manner which resonates with every single person. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has taught me to find happiness, joy and pleasure in everything and every situation around me. This links to the idea of regret and also being able to scope out the lesson in every situation rather than dwelling on the negative aspects. As well as this, His Holiness the Dalai Lama says “Happiness is not ready made – it comes from our own actions” and this is something I have come to firmly believe in. Happiness is completely and entirely subjective to every single individual. A lesson that I have learnt from His Holiness the Dalai Lama regarding happiness is a crucial one around inner peace. To be able to be a positive person, inner peace within yourself is a must. I tend to focus on myself and my wellbeing everyday for at least 20 minutes, regardless of how much homework or revision I have to do. This usually happens at the end of the day, to really reflect the emotions and thoughts throughout the day and what I have learnt. This has changed my mindset immensely and in turn has opened my mind to more possibilities and perhaps achieve things I never would have. His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s lesson on this has really allowed me to turn negative feelings into ones of me trying to challenge why I feel negative, and many times results in me channeling negativity into a productive task or doing something which I enjoy to reduce the negative energy in me. This has turned into a huge coping mechanism – the whole concept of inner peace and actually allowing yourself for a few moments a day to be entirely selfish as long as there is no harm to anyone else.
Life is hectic enough as it is without yourself criticising things you do. It can be beneficial at times to evaluate and question what you, of course. Yet when done excessively can be incredibly damaging to someone’s self esteem and sense of themselves. Perhaps the most prominent and widespread message that His Holiness the Dalai Lama has spread is one of compassion. Compassion refers to the ability to ‘recognise the suffering of others and then taking action to help. Compassion embodies a tangible expression of love for those who are suffering.’ This word holds a deep meaning that simply must be acknowledged and most importantly internalised in everyone’s behavior and mindset worldwide. This act of compassion that I believe is equally as important is to treat yourself with this compassion. Yes, it is incredibly important to express compassion and sympathy to your loved ones and people who you may not like as much when in times of suffering, but recently I have come to believe that it really is just as important to allow yourself to treat yourself with the same sympathy and kindness. In the Western society and specifically the generation that I have grown up in tends to have very high and sometimes unrealistic expectations of themselves, and almost never allows time to appreciate what you’ve done so far and celebrate all the good things that you have achieved. His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s lesson of compassion towards people has not only enabled me to become compassionate to my friends, family and peers, but also gives me the motivation and makes me want to cut myself slack and show appreciation for myself. Although this may sound self centred, the drive to love and appreciate yourself as much as other people is central to inner peace. It is impossible to allow your mind and soul to be at peace if there are feelings of resentment towards yourself.
Once again I don’t think it is necessarily or strictly what His Holiness the Dalai Lama means to me as I believe this is almost too fickle for me to delve into, but I wanted to place more focus on the lessons and teachings that His Holiness the Dalai Lama imposes upon both Buddhists and non-Buddhists, and how we are able to take this wisdom to positively impact ourselves and others’ lives. To conclude, His Holiness the Dalai Lama acts as someone who I look up to and someone who imparts wisdom in a way that appears simple yet the message and meaning behind are able to influence my life in many ways as previously mentioned. His Holiness the Dalai Lama means a great deal to me and has shaped the person who I am today to be more compassionate, considerate and optimistic.
What does His Holiness the Dalai Lama mean to you?
By Tenzin Lodhen Phuntsok 11 years old
I personally think that His Holiness is a very good and inspirational Lama. This is because The Dalai Lama has influenced and shown people how to do the right things such as advising peaceful solutions for not just respect but helping others in need. I also think that education is very important as well just like how The Dalai Lama shows. He is one of my favourite icons and pioneers because has inspired me that I should never give up and that happiness is important because it can help us be motivated and ready to try out new activities. You should always try new things that you have never experienced, sometimes you could even like it. The Dalai Lama has taught me that it is alright that you fail sometimes because it teaches you a lesson on how you could always try again. You shouldn’t feel upset just because you have done something wrong because it is vital that you could learn what you have done wrong and work on it harder. To add to this the Dalai Lama has taught me that there is no need to be better than anyone else but focusing on yourself. It is very important that this has impacted and changed my actions and responsibilities because it helps me be a better person. It is very interesting that he has helped and changed people by doing good deeds to the world to make a better environment. I feel very proud and happy to be a Tibetan because it is unique and without a spiritual leader who has shown that you could follow your dreams just like the Dalai Lama. Dalai Lama was born into poverty, he worked hard and got what he has deserved to be where he is right now. It is quite interesting about how not just rich people could be successful but anyone could if you work your way up. It is amazing how Dalai Lamas’ past hasn’t really made him depressed but instead he got over it and decided to be a happy person. The Dalai Lama is a courageous and heroic Lama who has had a tragic past as China had invaded Tibet while the Dalai Lama had to flee to India. Without the help of Dalai Lamas family making the TCV community, we would have fallen apart and most of the people would have stayed nowhere. I am very pleased and lucky that we have the TCV community because it makes a group of us Tibetans unite and come together just like a family. I feel very blessed to have such an amazing Tibetan who has received the Congressional Gold medal which is why we should have a very big celebration for something very amazing that rarely anybody could achieve. The Dalai Lama has taught me life values and lessons and I have a lot more to still learn from him from; quotes, books, speeches, talk shows, going to different countries and many more. The Dalai Lama has also made interesting meaningful books such as; the book of joy, freedom in exile, the art of happiness. One day I would like to read the book The art of happiness because it sounds very enjoyable and I’m a bit curious about what it is like. It is very true that all forms of violence especially war, are really intolerable. The speeches and advice Dalai Lama make me want to strive to be the best I could be and help people, so I can carry on the legacy that Tibetans carry in the community. When many people think of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the words peace and love come to mind as it does to mine. In the future, I would love to work and help the Tibetan community and also eventually inspire young people to be like The Dalai Lama. One day I would love to meet the Dalai Lama in the future when I’m older and have a chat with my questions that are still unanswered.
What does the Dalai Lama mean to me?
By: Tenzing Gyandun
What does the Dalai Lama mean to me?
By: Tenzin Lobsang
My existence in the world, and being brought up in the United Kingdom is due to my parents who was fortunate enough to come to England for a scholarship, because of His holiness’s good deeds. I never used to understand the teachings of the Dalai Lama but I now know and understand that it is important to have an inspiration and someone to look up to. The Dalai Lama’s teachings have helped me a lot throughout my recent years. As a teenager, growing up in London, Kundun’s quotes have been inspirational as sometimes I find it hard to be resilient and patient.
“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible”. This quote by His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the one quote that I have always remembered and has taught me that happiness is everywhere. This quote is a life lesson that I stick to as much as possible in my everyday life. His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing this to us gives us the added motivation to be kind and positive to everything and everyone. What this quote means to me is that kindness surrounds us continuously and has made me try to seek kindness all around me.
The Dalai Lama, often referred to as His Holiness, is the Head of State and spiritual leader of Tibet. He fights a battle with China. Without weapons or hate, he fights his battles with words giving speeches around the world, sharing messages of kindness and compassion. He doesn’t believe that violence would help anything. The Dalai Lama is known around the globe for being a messenger for peace and love.
His holiness the Dalai Lama, the political leader of Tibet, won the Nobel Peace Prize award in 1989 for his non violent campaign to end the Chinese Government domination of Tibet.
Every year, us Tibetans celebrate the award of the Nobel Peace Prize that His holiness had received in 1989. We get to learn new dances and songs and it’s really fun to participate in these performances and to be a part of an community that you can relate to and grow up along the way with.
In June 2012, The London Tibetan Community had an opportunity to sing at the Royal Albert Hall in front of the Dalai Lama. At the end of the performance, Kundun came over for a group photo when I spotted a spider on the microphone. As soon as I saw the spider, I tugged on Kundun’s robe and said “look spider.” Everyone started to laugh and I kept going on about the spider on the mic. Then when Kundun heard me, he started to chuckle and say” I don’t know.” I had stopped the whole night for 15 seconds! That was one of the funniest and best moments of my life.
What does dalai lama mean to me? the importance of celebrating the Nobel peace prize.
The Dalai Lama is the head monk of Tibetan Buddhism and the person who used to govern Tibet. Not only is he just important to me, he is important to everyone around the world. The Dalai Lama is one of the important spiritual leaders within Buddhism. He tries to create peace around the world. He says, “Only through compassion and inner peace, can one spread peace in the world. Inner peace leads to a peaceful individual and then this peaceful individual can build a peaceful family, then a peaceful community, then a peaceful world,”. Throughout the year he has influenced many to change with his teachings. He has written many books and speeches to do with world peace. He is always smiling and never intends to hurt any being, including insects. He inspires many people from all ages and makes them happy. In 1989 Dalai lama won the Nobel peace prize. Celebrating the Nobel peace prize is important as it is awarded to the person who in the preceding year “shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his nonviolent campaign to end the Chinese domination of Tibet. This was one of his most famous achievement, and it is important to celebrate it as it shows how great he is.