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Dalai Lama Leadership


Dalai Lama LeadershipDalai Lama (1935-  )


Leader of Tibet, forced into exile in 1959 by its Chinese invaders.

He (pictured right) has since fought for his country’s freedom, winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.


Why is he a great leader?


1. Ideals and purpose

He strongly believes in:


a) love

(compassion and non-violence even towards the Chinese who have killed many thousands of his people and taken their freedom away)

For example, he told the Tibetan army to stop fighting the Chinese.


b) serving people’s needs

(particularly truth, justice, freedom and democracy).


c) protecting the environment

People must develop a sense of “universal responsibility” for one another and the planet, because we are all interdependent.


He is horrified at how materialism and greed are destroying the planet and human relationships.


2. Religion and philosophy

He has found his Buddhism very helpful in generating love for others, even the Chinese.

But he admires Christianity and other religions, because of their principles - love, compassion and forgiveness

He strongly believes in the importance of love and spirituality with or without religion.

“True happiness comes from a sense of inner peace and contentment, which in turn must be achieved through the cultivation of altruism, of love, of compassion and through the elimination of anger, selfishness and greed”, he says.


3. Learning and reflectiondalai lama leadership

He was chosen to be the spiritual leader of Tibet at the age of two.

Because it is a devout Buddhist country, he was brought up in a monastery where he became a monk at the age of six (pictured right as a boy).

There he learned the value of academic knowledge and reflection.


4. Determination

He had to endure vicious attacks from the Chinese government, which called him the “wolf in monk’s robes”.

But he still keeps fighting for his principles and his people.


5. Pragmatic realismDalai Lama Leadership

The Dalai Lama (pictured right talking with president Barack Obama in 2011) is realistic and knows that Tibet can’t overthrow the Chinese by force.

So he tries to achieve his people’s freedom through non-violent protest and persuasion.

Thought and reflection must be converted into positive action, he says, because:

“Responsibility for our future lies on our shoulders”.

He also advises that we can change the world by

  • how we look at it
  • how we change ourselves.


Key quotes on happiness

True happiness comes from a sense of inner peace and contentment.

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

If you want others to be happy, practise compassion. If you want to be happy, practise compassion.


Key quote on ethics and society

Responsibility for our future lies on our shoulders.

In our struggle for freedom, truth is the only weapon we possess.


Key quotes on change

Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.

If you have willpower, then you can change anything.


Key quote on stress management

Sleep is the best meditation.


Key quotes on ethics and religion

My religion is kindness.

If we each selfishly pursue only what we believe to be in our own interest, without caring about the needs of others, we not only may end up harming others but also ourselves.

If you don’t love yourself, you cannot love others.


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