The Dalai Lama, and His Views on Life and Happiness

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 868 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Nov 5, 2020

Words: 868|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Nov 5, 2020

Table of contents

  1. The Dalai Lama's Perspective on Life
  2. The Impact of an Affectionate State of Mind
    Western Society's Challenge in Pursuing True Happiness
    Coping with Suffering and Embracing Perspective
    The Path to Genuine Happiness
    Living an Examined Life
  3. Conclusion
  4. References

In Western society, happiness is frequently misconstrued as the pursuit of immediate, fleeting pleasures, often tied to material possessions or physical gratification. This perspective, although not inherently negative, distorts the true essence of happiness and can prove detrimental to an individual's well-being. The Dalai Lama, on the other hand, contends that authentic happiness is rooted in a serene state of mind characterized by affection, gentleness, and compassion — a quality inherent to human nature. This essay explores the Dalai Lama's perspective on happiness, emphasizing the significance of one's state of mind in achieving lasting fulfillment. It also delves into the societal challenges that hinder the pursuit of genuine happiness in Western cultures.

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The Dalai Lama's Perspective on Life

According to the Dalai Lama, true happiness emanates from cultivating a tranquil and benevolent state of mind. This approach contrasts starkly with the pursuit of fleeting pleasures, as it emphasizes enduring contentment over momentary gratification. The Dalai Lama asserts that compassion, affection, and gentleness are fundamental human traits that, when nurtured, lead to profound and lasting happiness. This perspective challenges the prevailing notion that pleasure-seeking impulses are the gateway to happiness, illuminating the inherent instability and transience of desires rooted in pleasure.

The Impact of an Affectionate State of Mind

The Dalai Lama's perspective underscores the profound impact of an affectionate, calm, and wholesome state of mind on both individual well-being and society at large. Such a mental disposition promotes physical and psychological health while fostering societal harmony. Conversely, negative emotions like anger, fear, and agitation not only harm individual health but also have detrimental consequences for society. A serene and compassionate state of mind enhances our capacity to understand the benefits of positive emotions, thereby contributing to greater peace and long-term happiness.

Western Society's Challenge in Pursuing True Happiness

In Western societies, the pursuit of happiness is often commercialized and reduced to materialism. Advertisements bombard individuals with messages about what can make them happy, perpetuating the idea that happiness is attainable through consumption and profit. This pervasive cultural belief conflates happiness with financial success, reinforcing the notion that wealth is the key to a fulfilling life. Shifting this perspective can be a challenging endeavor, particularly in cultures where time and energy constraints limit opportunities for self-reflection and personal growth.

Coping with Suffering and Embracing Perspective

Suffering is an inherent part of the human experience, rooted in the ever-changing nature of life. The Dalai Lama acknowledges the inevitability of suffering and encourages individuals to reflect on how they respond to it. Unhealthy coping mechanisms often emerge when faced with unexpected adversity, reinforcing the idea that suffering is inherently negative and inescapable. However, accepting suffering as part of existence and recognizing its transient nature can lead to greater resilience and a deeper understanding of empathy and compassion, both for oneself and others.

The Path to Genuine Happiness

Genuine happiness, as advocated by the Dalai Lama, is discovered through love, affection, closeness, and compassion. A fundamental step in this pursuit is understanding the detrimental effects of negative emotions and behaviors on both personal and societal levels. Cultivating positive mental states, such as kindness and compassion, not only contributes to psychological well-being but also promotes happiness. Achieving authentic happiness requires a profound shift in one's outlook and satisfaction with life, an endeavor that is often challenging but immensely rewarding.

Living an Examined Life

An examined life entails a continuous process of self-evaluation and heightened awareness of one's surroundings, challenges, and societal influences. It involves critically examining personal actions, emotions, and their underlying motivations. While the Dalai Lama encourages individuals to think critically and reflect on their beliefs and actions, he also acknowledges the discomfort that such self-examination can entail. Living an examined life necessitates a commitment to constant self-evaluation, fostering greater awareness of the world, society, and oneself.

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The Dalai Lama's perspective on true happiness challenges prevailing notions in Western societies, where materialism often overshadows the pursuit of enduring contentment. His emphasis on cultivating a calm and compassionate state of mind underscores the profound impact of positivity on individual and societal well-being. While Western cultures grapple with commercialized views of happiness, the Dalai Lama's teachings offer an alternative path rooted in mindfulness, compassion, and self-examination. Ultimately, the quest for genuine happiness transcends fleeting pleasures and requires a shift in perspective, embracing the enduring values of love, affection, and compassion.


  1. Dalai Lama & Cutler, H. C. (2009). The Art of Happiness. Penguin.
  2. Ricard, M. (2006). Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill. Little, Brown, and Company.
  3. Davidson, R. J., & Harrington, A. (2002). Visions of compassion: Western scientists and Tibetan Buddhists examine human nature. Oxford University Press.
  4. Keltner, D., & Kring, A. M. (1998). Emotion, social function, and psychopathology. Review of General Psychology, 2(3), 320-342.
  5. Seppala, E. M., Hutcherson, C. A., & Lutz, A. (2014). Loving-kindness meditation: A tool to improve healthcare provider compassion, resilience, and patient care. Journal of Compassionate Health Care, 1(1), 1-6.
  6. Vittersø, J., Oelmann, H. I., Wang, A. L., & Williams, D. R. (2009). The Concept of Eudaimonic Well-Being and Its Measurement: The Flourishing Scale (FS). In E. G. Carmona-Halty (Ed.), Eudaimonia and Well-Being: Ancient and Modern Conceptions (pp. 247-266). Springer.
  7. Wilson, T. D., & Gilbert, D. T. (2003). Affective forecasting. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology (Vol. 35, pp. 345-411). Academic Press.
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The Dalai Lama, and His Views on Life and Happiness. (2020, October 31). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 13, 2024, from
“The Dalai Lama, and His Views on Life and Happiness.” GradesFixer, 31 Oct. 2020,
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