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Reflections From Lama Tenzin

What makes you happy and why?

When I am able to help someone smile and do something good for other people.

How do you always stay calm and untroubled? Is this because of a particular mindset, or do you have any specific tools you use to stay relaxed?

I am not calm all the time but I do practice, and one of the reasons I am more relaxed than other people is because I always look from the wider perspective of life and the holistic way, whether it be my problem or someone else's problem, I am always concerned. Also, I consider my life sacred and therefore I want to spend my life calmly or then it would be a waste.

Do you have any specific tool to stay calm– for example, do you meditate?

I do meditate, but I am not great at meditating. I still use it as a tool to stay tranquil.

Why do you think most people don’t live like you do, and are instead stuck focusing on the little negatives in their life?

Most people live very hectically because they don't care about their inner qualities and always think that external things can make them happy, like material items or money. They always want that and then become unhappy. This stuff can bring short term happiness but they don't make you happy. No one can make you happy, only you can. Don't ask God or Buddha to make you happy. It's your job to make yourself happy, people try to get other things to make you satisfied, but people’s problems come from inside and that’s where they have to be solved.

How was your transition into American society from your previous home? What are the the differences?

Well, I was born in Tibet and spent most of my life in India, but have been in the US over 20 years. Our culture here is very different than to India’s and Tibet’s and I don't see many happy people. From that, I learn that power doesn't come from money or fame because then the U.S.A. should be the happiest, but we are not. That's why happiness comes from the inside."

Do you ever encounter any challenges to your mindset living in the American society?

Our lifestyle never makes it difficult for me to live my lifestyle and there are many good things to follow in America but there are also many things I don't want to follow.

If you could teach one lesson to the Friends Academy community, what would that lesson be about?

I'd teach them they should do whatever makes them happy and to live in the present moment and let others live happily. Happiness should be their main goal, not to be a doctor or engineers, but they should do whatever makes them happy. Also, that the best way to stay happy is to take care of other, don't be mean or nasty, be kind and compassionate.

What is the most important characteristic a person can have?

The most important characteristic is to be kind and caring and affectionate and loving. Its very, very important it's like your dna. Without love and care we will not survive because everything that survives in this world survives because you care for it, but if you're bad to it, it will go down, just like the bird and flies. This good nature is very important but that doesn't mean other natures are bad but if you lose kindness it's very, very bad.

Do you have anything in particular that you’d like to say to the Friends Academy community?

Our education system should be a holistic education system. What we teach in schools only tries to make people smart and that's okay, but smart people often use that intelligence to make material things. More importantlym we need to teach people how to be good human beings. If we have a holistic education that educates the brain and the heart , that's good because with good hearts and good brains, many, many happy people will be on earth and make the world a better place. But if we don't teach to have a good heart, problems will continue in our world. For example, it’s good to teach someone how to drive, but before you teach them to drive, you must tell them the rules and regulations since if they don't follow them they can get hurt. That's why education is like a tool that can be used the right way and wrong way. If someone is good they'll use it for good, if they’re not they'll use it for bad.

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