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The Fourteenth Dalai Lama’s Public and Private Life Essay

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Updated: Aug 19th, 2020

Introduction

The fourteenth Dalai Lama is a source of inspiration not only to Tibetans but also to people all over the globe, regardless of the religion they follow. His wise thoughts are of significant value for dealing with both personal and public matters. At the same time, they are applicable to addressing social and political challenges at the global level. Even though public and private issues are often perceived separately, the Dalai Lama’s wisdom is a representation of the connection between the two.

Analysis

In public, the fourteenth Dalai Lama is a humble inspiration. He never thinks of himself as a superman. Instead, he refers to himself as a simple monk, an experimenter, who rarely does what anyone else could not. Traveling the world and visiting the smallest villages across the globe, the Dalai Lama teaches people to remember that everything is in a constant state of flux so that there is no time for mourning the past and taking new directions is always possible.

Moreover, he preaches what is known as global ethics—individual kindness and personal responsibility, which should be devoted to improving the world and making every decision for some good, regardless of belonging to any religion (Iyer 8-9). Still, the central message of the fourteenth Dalai Lama centers on the belief that everyone is free to explore the laws of nature and God and investigate what is and should be done within them to benefit others, or at least do no harm to them. In other words, there is no need to be distracted by religion, nor to believe anything on blind faith. Instead, religion should become the foundation for finding answers regarding the world because it does not give knowledge, but helps to create it (Iyer 47).

At the same time, in private, the fourteenth Dalai Lama always follows his belief that religion should not be blinding and distracting. He believes that spiritual life is more than blind dedication. Instead, it is hard work, determination, and fighting to surrender to something larger that would benefit the world. One way to achieve this is to keep one’s body clean and the mind clear. He spends hours meditating, as he believes that meditation is the best preventive medicine (Iyer 89).

Moreover, the Dalai Lama preaches that people are all equal, regardless of their social status or race, because everyone has the same potential of intelligence, and it is the self-confidence that determines one’s chances for success, not one’s background (Iyer 92).

All in all, he never thinks of himself as a final authority, as his mind can be changed once specific arguments are provided. At the same time, he would never attempt to address medical issues, as he believes in the power of science and recent breakthroughs in this field. In other words, the Dalai Lama follows the preached belief and avoids doing harm to people in cases of being incompetent and having no ideas for solving others’ problems (Iyer 67). That said, the focus is on the fact that, although religion and internal power are helpful for self-healing, sometimes it is better to seek help from the outside (Iyer 94).

For me, both public and private aspects of the preached philosophy are inseparable and should be viewed together instead of focusing only on the postulates of the Dalai Lama’s wisdom in public and in private. The very belief that people should pay significant attention to the needs of their bodies and minds (keeping them clean and clear) but still strive for benefitting others or, at least, not hurting them because people are small parts of a bigger organism determines the interrelation between the two dimensions of his philosophy. The same is true for recognizing the power of religion for self-healing but seeking the help of science in the case of severe instances. Finally, this connectivity is in pointing to the constant state of flux, as both conditions and minds are easily adaptable to new developments in one’s life, as well as communicating with other people or obtaining new knowledge.

Even though I believe that both private and public ideas should be perceived together, there are some aspects of the public philosophy that appeal to me. The very concept of global ethics (individual responsibility and kindness) is what initially caught my attention, due to the belief that it is the only way to benefit those around me. At the same time, it is closely related to the idea that religion should become the basis for creating knowledge, instead of a blind trust that religious postulates are the basis for giving knowledge. This belief is interwoven with the assumption that no human is a superman or final authority, which points to personal responsibility for one’s life instead of trying to impose particular opinions on others.

Conclusion

In summary, the wisdom of the fourteenth Dalai Lama is the representation of the necessity to strive for unity between private and public matters and to seek harmony in life. At the same time, it points to the harmony between science and religion, as the Dalai Lama highlights the role of recent scientific breakthroughs in supporting both body and mind, as well as the contribution of religion to self-healing.

Work Cited

Iyer, Piko. The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. Bloomsbury, 2009.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "The Fourteenth Dalai Lama's Public and Private Life." August 19, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-fourteenth-dalai-lamas-public-and-private-life/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'The Fourteenth Dalai Lama's Public and Private Life'. 19 August.

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