Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama
- an excerpt -


It is important first of all to understand what we mean by love.  Love is the desire to see happiness in those who have been deprived of it.  We feel compassion toward those who suffer; this is the desire to see them released from their suffering.  We habitually feel affection and love for those closest to us and for our friends, but we feel nothing for strangers and even less for those who seek to harm us.  This shows that the love for those closest to us is heavily tinged with attachment and desire and that it is partial.  Genuine love is not limited to those close to us but extends to all beings, for it is founded on the knowledge that everyone, like us, wishes to find happiness and avoid suffering.  Moreover, this extends to all people the right to find happiness and be free of pain  As such, genuine love is impartial and includes everyone without distinction, including our enemies.

As for compassion, we must not confuse it with commiserating pity, for that is tainted with a certain scorn and gives the impression that we consider ourselves superior to those who suffer.  True compassion implies the wish to put an end to others' suffering and a sense of responsibility for those who suffer.  This sense of responsibility means that we are committed to finding  ways to comfort them in their trouble.  True love for our neighbor will be translated into courage and strength  As courage grows, fear abates; this is why kindness and brotherly love are a source of inner strength.  The more we develop love for others, the more confidence we will have in ourselves; the more courage we have, the more relaxed and serene we will be. 

The opposite of love is malice, the root of all faults.  On this basis, how can we define an enemy?  Generally, we say an enemy is someone who seeks to harm our person or those who are dear to us, or our possessions; someone, therefore, who opposes or threatens the causes of our contentment and our happiness.  When an enemy strikes against our belongings, our friends, or our loved ones, he is striking against our most likely sources of happiness.  It would be difficult, however, to affirm that our friends and possessions are the true sources of happiness, because in the end the governing factor is inner peace; it is peace of mind that makes us relaxed and happy, and we become unhappy if we lose it.

It is no an external enemy who has the ability to destroy our happiness.  In fact, anger, hatred, and malice, if we feel them, are quite apt to destroy our inner peace and in so doing reduce our happiness to nothing,  These are our true enemies.  Those who know great inner peace remain relaxed and serene even when confronted with the most difficult situations, where everything seems to go against their happiness.  But the person whose mind is ravaged by the destructive fires of malice, hatred, and jealousy will know nothing but unhappiness even under the best circumstances imaginable. 

Thus, upon consideration, we find that the true enemy of happiness is to be found within; we cannot designate an actual external enemy.  The key to genuine happiness is in our hands.  To think about it in this way is to discover the essential values of kindness brotherly love, and altruism.  The more clearly we see the benefits of these values, the more we will seek to reject anything which opposes them; in this way we will be able to bring about inner transformation.

                                                 -- Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama
                                                     from Beyond Dogma: Dialogues & Discourses


Beyond Dogma: Dialogues & Discourses
by His Holiness the Dalai Lama
edited by Marianne Dresser; translated by Alison Anderson
A collection of public conferences given in France in the autumn of 1993.
Noth Atlantic Books; softcover; 230 pages

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