Essay by Luke Foster
“The basic source of happiness is a sense of kindness and warm-heartedness towards others. “
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Recently I have been studying the transcripts of the Dalai Lamas talks and occasionally his talks on YouTube for a few hours a day and I intermittently stop to draw and write quotes or my own perceptions on his teachings. With my favourite ones I have read them three or four times and each time I read I see more and more wisdom.
It’s been a humbling experience and made me realise many of my hang ups and errors of thinking and feeling.
Firstly, when I write and talk there is far too much “I” and “me” and the Dalai Lama says to develop peace of mind and tranquillity you need a sense of kindness and warm heartedness, so your focus isn’t egotistical but has a true sense of compassion and understanding for others.
After researching his teachings, I realised that jokingly I say that the most selfish emotions are unconditional love and kindness as this benefit your own peace of mind as much as anyone who encounters you and creates a general air of tranquillity.
Its challenging to develop these positive emotions while living alone like I do but while I beach walk, I try to meet people or at least smile and wave and say hello. I’ve found a great ice breaker to start a conversation here is have you seen any whales today as at this time of year in Australia they are migrating north.
The Dalai Lama says to cultivate love and compassion you don’t just have to think they are nice ideas, but you need to overcome negative emotions such as fear, anger, jealousy, and attachment through self-inquiry.
In my previous essay about the importance of having a team I also elaborated on the idea that having a team or a true sense of community if that’s either a family, group of friends, country or global brotherhood and sisterhood then each member in the group can make small steps and then working together can achieve amazing things.
Another way the Dalai Lama has influenced me in the past week of study is his fantastic writing and oratory style. Its as complex for the most intelligent intellectual but as simple that even a child can get a lot of benefit and understanding too. Also who doesn’t love his jokes and jovial demeanour.
While at art school in the nineties I went through a rigorous practise to try to find my own drawing and sculpture style and at first imitated my favourite artists like German Joseph Beuys and Indian/English artist Annish Kapoor. Anyone with a knowledge of contemporary art could see that I wasn’t original. The same thing is happening with my writing.
Up until now I have interweaved a series of quotes by people, I liked with short explanations why I chose these quotes, and they’re benefit for society and me. Now I am beginning to find my own writing style, but I am no Haruki Murakami or Patrick White. Murakami is Japanese and White was Australian.
The Dalai Lamas style is very influential on me now. Perhaps for a while I shall reduce the quotes I use to in the opening of my essays as the Dalai Lama doesn’t quote his mentors like Gandhi, Martin Luther King and of course Buddha. However, he talks about how their legacies have influenced him.
However as much as I love the Dalai Lama and Tibetan people I also love and have deep respect for Chinese people as I have known Chinese people in Australia and who were very kind-hearted and loving towards me. Also, my first knowledge of Buddhist philosophy was the tv show Monkey Magic that aired in the afternoon on ABC tv before the English comedy the Goodies and it was Chinese. However, there were Chinese and Japanese versions of Monkey Magic.
In conclusion in writing this essay I realised there is still too much “I” and “me” when I should talk more about a sort of warm-heartedness in community or “we” and “us” thinking and writing. There are even other practical benefits to this way of thinking. Apparently according to the Dalai Lama if people often say “I” and “me” not “we” and “us” they are far more likely to have a heart attack.