A Wider Perspective

The Dalai Lama, Tibet

Spiritual leader of the people of Tibet

(Submitted by The Office of H.H. The Dalai Lama)

We can cultivate and achieve happiness, remove and eliminate suffering, provided we are able to engage in a practice which is in tune with the law of nature and in tune with how things actually exist. No matter how strong an individual is, we have to live as a human community.

If someone lives in isolation, he will eventually experience a lot of mental frustration, because it is human nature to be social. Many of our needs, such as sufficient food and shelter, are provided by the efforts of others. That’s the reality, and our daily way of life and thinking should be according to these conditions and factors. Human intelligence is so sophisticated that it sometimes creates an image that hides the reality. Sometimes one is under the false illusion that one is independent and capable of achieving anything, and one does not realize how much one’s life is dependent on the existence, help and support of others.

This applies not only to people, but also to the environment and other species; in fact, to everything. A lot of problems and suffering are caused because one is unable to realize the help and support one receives from the surrounding environment, and because one does not pay proper attention and understand their importance.

Even though your focus may be on your personal happiness and well-being, once you are able to understand how much your personal life is dependent on the surrounding environment, you will be able to widen your perspective and your realization of reality. This widened perspective will enable you to create a more harmonious life, not only for yourself but for others as well.

That kind of wider perspective or view then automatically results in a sense of commitment and concern for others. This is not for reasons holy or sacred, but because one’s own future depends on these factors.

We have to engage in the practice of non-violence and compassion because of the reality of our interdependence with all other sentient beings.

Used by kind permission of the office of H.H. The Dalai Lama. From 'The Transformed Mind', by the Dalai Lama and Renuka Singh, Hodder & Stoughton 1999

Image credit: http://gcmouli.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/dalai.jpg