It’s hard to think of a more genuinely good person than the Dalai Lama. As the spiritual leader of the people of Tibet, a country where religious and political freedom have long been repressed, his broad shoulders carry a heavy load. Yet, to see him in public, is to witness a man who appears care-free.
The Dalai Lama has been described as “witty and effervescent,” “the personification of compassion” and “the most peace-loving person on earth.” He sincerely seems more concerned about the well-being of others than he is about himself, as illustrated at the website His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet:
(He) is concerned with encouraging people to be happy—helping them understand that if their minds are upset, mere physical comfort will not bring them peace, but if their minds are at peace even physical pain will not disturb their calm. He advocates the cultivation of warm-heartedness and human values such as compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment and self-discipline.
What makes this guy tick? How is he able to remain so happy and offer such great compassion and do-gooding-ness, day-in and day-out? I have written about the Dalai Lama’s ever-present smile (he has called smiling more important than meditating), but one wonders how he is able to tap into this constant steam of good will without pause. One clue may be in the prayer he recites daily.
I have read conflicting reports of whether the Dalai Lama says this prayer in the morning or at bedtime. Perhaps he recites it both upon awakening and at night. Yet, to read its words is to realize that some people are called to, and live up to, a higher standard.
The Bodhisattva Prayer for Humanity
May I be a guard for those who need protection
A guide for those on the path
A boat, a raft, a bridge for those who wish to cross the flood
May I be a lamp in the darkness
A resting place for the weary
A healing medicine for all who are sick
A vase of plenty, a tree of miracles
And for the boundless multitudes of living beings
May I bring sustenance and awakening
Enduring like the earth and sky
Until all beings are freed from sorrow
And all are awakened.
It’s easy to read this prayer and feel the positive energy that’s contained within it. I am reminded of a story I wrote a couple of years ago titled, “If You’re Not Drowning, You’re a Lifeguard.” The fact is no matter how difficult your own life may sometimes feel, there are others in greater need, people around you who are suffering and can use your guidance, support or help.
Consider that during this holiday season: Who do you know in your own life who can use your assistance, even if it’s just a kind word? Our role in life should not be to tend solely to our own needs, but to the needs of our family, friends and community. The payoff is huge because, in the words of Florence Shenn, what you do for others, you are also doing for yourself.