For episode 75 of the Metta Hour Podcast, Sharon shares an archival talk from when His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama visited the Insight Meditation Society in 1979 in honor of the H.H. Dalai Lama’s 83rd birthday!
Sharon starts the episode with a newly recorded introduction which includes a personal story about how the Dalai Lama came to visit IMS in 1979, and her experience with him at that time. This talk was recorded at the Insight Meditation Society in the main hall, and in it His Holiness looks at the potential for spiritual practice to transform ourselves and the world we live in. He reflects on Buddhist teachings that could most dramatically change the lives of Western practitioners. Find teachings and keep up with the Dalai Lama: dalailama.com
All One (Opening) – Introduction by Sharon Salzberg, speaking about how the H.H. Dalai Lama came to visit the Insight Meditation Society in 1979, and what it was like to have him visit their retreat center. His Holiness the Dalai Lama reflects on the commonalities between all spiritual faiths and the need for genuine respect for one another’s practices and philosophies. He looks at the transformative qualities of compassion and selflessness shared by the Buddha and Jesus that we can cultivate in ourselves by following their example.
“I greatly respect your faith, not for political reasons or just to be polite, but sincerely I think your tradition has been of great service to humankind. This is because our human mind has several mental dispositions, there is a rich variety in the philosophies of religion that is very necessary and very useful.” – His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
Happiness and the Middle Way (11:50) – The Dalai Lama discusses The Buddha’s teaching of the middle way and its role in our happiness. He looks at some of the primary ingredients for finding contentment and happiness in our lives.
“If you take the essence of all Buddhism and put it into two sentences it would be: If you can, you must help others. If you cannot help, then do not harm others. So you can see, the whole of Buddhist teaching is based on compassion and love. Not much emphasis on God, but on humans and all sentient beings – these are The Buddha’s basic teachings.” – His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
Serving the World (19:55) – We look at our responsibility to make changes and improvements to ourselves first before we try to change the world. His Holiness discusses the long road of spiritual practice ahead of us all, including all of the development left for himself. He reminds us of the need to serve our communities whenever possible and to not become isolated in our Dharma practice.
Karma, Fear and the Self (27:30) – His Holiness investigates the interconnection between identity, fear and karma. He offers wisdom for understanding and overcoming our greatest fears.
“The fear that you are having today comes as a result of some of your own actions of the past. If you have fear of some pain or suffering, you should examine whether there is anything you can do about that suffering. If you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry about it. If you can’t do anything about it then there is still no reason to worry about it. You can then investigate who is it that is getting afraid and examine the nature of the self. Who is ‘I’ and where is it?” – His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
Our Value (35:50) – Words of wisdom about self-worth and the power of the mind to allow for happiness.
“One shouldn’t be discouraged, all human potential is the same. Your thinking or feeling that you have no value is absolutely wrong, you are deceiving yourself.” – His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama