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The Dalai Lama: Why I Laugh

--by The Dalai Lama (Feb 24, 2014)


I have been confronted with many difficulties throughout the course of my life, and my country is going through a critical period. But I laugh often, and my laughter is contagious. When people ask me how I find the strength to laugh now, I reply that I am a professional laugher. [...]

The life of exile is an unfortunate life, but I have always tried to cultivate a happy state of mind, appreciating the opportunities this existence without a settled home, far from all protocol, has offered me. This way I have been able to preserve my inner peace.

If we are content just to think that compassion, rationality, and patience are good, that is not actually enough to develop these qualities. Difficulties provide the occasion to put them into practice. Who can make such occasions arise? Certainly not our friends, but rather our enemies, for they are the ones who pose the most problems. So that we truly want to progress on the path, we must regard our enemies as our best teachers.

For whoever holds love and compassion in high esteem, the practice of tolerance is essential, and it requires an enemy. We must be grateful to our enemies, then, because they help us best engender a serene mind! Anger and hatred are the real enemies that we must confront and defeat, not the “enemies” who appear from time to time in our lives.

Of course it is natural and right that we all want to have friends. I often say jokingly that a truly selfish person must be altruistic! You have to take care of others, of their well-being, by helping them and serving them, to have even more friends and make more smiles blossom. The result? When you yourself need help, you will find all you need! On the other hand, if you neglect others’ happiness, you will be the loser in the long run. Is friendship born of arguments, anger, jealousy, and unbridled competition? I don’t think so. Only affection produces authentic friends. […]

As for me, I always want more friends. I love smiles, and my wish is to see more smiles, real smiles, for there are many kinds—sarcastic, artificial, or diplomatic. Some smiles don’t arouse any satisfaction, and some even engender suspicion or fear. An authentic smile, though, arouses an authentic feeling of freshness, and I think the smile belongs only to human beings. If we want those smiles, we must create the reasons that make them appear.

-- The Dalai Lama, in an excerpt from his book "My Spiritual Journey"


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22 Previous Reflections:

 
On Oct 5, 2015 Smithk484 wrote:

 



On Jun 27, 2014 Kami wrote:
 This is the worst advice ever!!! Just like the doctors, who treat the symptoms instead of trying to cure the actual CAUSE of those symptoms! Even a person of average intelligence will understand how useless is that, to the patient of course. To the doctor and the industry, it is very useful. But why do people behave as if they are of very low intelligence? Very good answers to this are in this book: Why we love dogs, eat pigs and wear cows by Melanie Joy

On May 23, 2014 Ruth R wrote:

 
Was smiling as I read and laughed at the 1st comment.  Let us share this joyous contagion :)  
Thanks, RR 



1 reply: Always | Post Your Reply
On Mar 3, 2014 vincy wrote:

 Simple things in life make me laugh. Not many share a laugh when i do so but it's impossible to stop smiling or laugh aloud. I love animals and little children whose expressions seem similar ...ha ha...sounds cruel to you perhaps....lack of inhibition and innocence makes them seem so vulnerable and divine.



1 reply: Me | Post Your Reply
On Feb 27, 2014 Jyoti wrote:

Pain in inevitable - suffering is optional. Cancer patient who can smile and say it's a good day. Listening to spiritual leaders and remembering their beautiful smile more than their words. When someone hits you, to reach past your pain and stay connected to your inner calm and say: "brother you don't need to do this - come visit my home". Infant's and grandmother's genuine smile, for they don't worry about what other's will think of them. The Dalai Lama and Rev. Desmond Tutu are always ready with a laugh, that I am envious of. Lovely circle of sharing creating ripples of joy all around. Thank you all.  



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On Feb 25, 2014 Rekha Garg wrote:

 I think, it necessary to let go of one's ego, in order to laugh authentically. When you can laugh at yourself as others would, there seems no difference who the subject is. The other aspect of laughing authentically comes up when one learns to let go of control in life, or one figures out that you really don't have control on most anything. You might think you are holding the reigns really tight but you fail to see if the reigns are attached to anything on the other end. Once the realization dawns that its someone else holding the reigns and its okay by me, that's when you can laugh about anything from the bottom of your heart.



On Feb 25, 2014 Jack McKinnon wrote:

 I do laugh preparation exercises.  First work on my muscle memory.  Many years ago I learned that in order to play my mandolin, I had to practice the same thing over and over and then my finger muscles would remember how to do it without me even thinking.  I am training my face muscles to smile all the time. There are 300 muscles in your face and they all can learn to have a smile with practice.  Their natural state is not relaxed, it is what your have taught them to do.  Why not teach them to smile.  What happens then is amazing. People see you smileing and their natural response is to smile back.  Note Dali Lama; he smiles all the time and most people can not help smileing back.  Also, when ever I see myself in a mirror or a window and I am smileing, I cheer right up. It is contageous. The second thing I do to prepare for laughing is I listen carefully for what others say that is funny. I mostly ignore the negative and focus on the funny  See full.

 I do laugh preparation exercises.  First work on my muscle memory.  Many years ago I learned that in order to play my mandolin, I had to practice the same thing over and over and then my finger muscles would remember how to do it without me even thinking.  I am training my face muscles to smile all the time. There are 300 muscles in your face and they all can learn to have a smile with practice.  Their natural state is not relaxed, it is what your have taught them to do.  Why not teach them to smile.  What happens then is amazing. People see you smileing and their natural response is to smile back.  Note Dali Lama; he smiles all the time and most people can not help smileing back.  Also, when ever I see myself in a mirror or a window and I am smileing, I cheer right up. It is contageous. The second thing I do to prepare for laughing is I listen carefully for what others say that is funny. I mostly ignore the negative and focus on the funny.  This is a good exercise in listening and I hear a lot more funny things.  As soon as I hear something funny, I laugh, out loud.  I laugh so the person that said the funny thing hears, so others hear and listen more carefully and also so I hear myself laugh.  This builds my confidence, gets me in a good mood and exercises my already strong smileing muscles even more.  It also helps others to enjoy a good laugh.

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On Feb 25, 2014 marta wrote:

 hi, my name's marta and I'm from Poland. I can, again, definitely confirm that nothing happens accidently. Talking/reading about true smiles, I've just received via post mail 10 smilecards from United States. I'm grateful for it and for the opportunity to be the Kindness Revolution Agent. Sending all of you honest kind and loving smiles from Poland. Be gentle with yourselves and others.  marta.



On Feb 24, 2014 Jagdish P Dave wrote:

I deeply value authenticity and compassion as the two basic attributes of an evolving being. I have observed and experienced these two essential qualities in many people whom I love, admire and emulate. In my life Mahatma Gandhi and Dalai Lama have been such highly evolved human beings. I was blessed to  experience the presence of both of them. Both had gone through very difficult times  in their lives which made them internally strong and grow spiritually. Their authenticity was expressed in what they said and how they lived. I was four years old. My dad used to take us to attend evening prayers held on the bank of the river Sabarmati. I was too little to understand what Gandhiji said but I will never forget his Presence exuberating his compassion, total presence and effortless smile. I felt deeply connected with him though we were age wise widely different. When Dalai Lama migrated to India from Tibet I felt very excited and happy to  See full.

I deeply value authenticity and compassion as the two basic attributes of an evolving being. I have observed and experienced these two essential qualities in many people whom I love, admire and emulate. In my life Mahatma Gandhi and Dalai Lama have been such highly evolved human beings.

I was blessed to  experience the presence of both of them. Both had gone through very difficult times  in their lives which made them internally strong and grow spiritually. Their authenticity was expressed in what they said and how they lived.

I was four years old. My dad used to take us to attend evening prayers held on the bank of the river Sabarmati. I was too little to understand what Gandhiji said but I will never forget his Presence exuberating his compassion, total presence and effortless smile. I felt deeply connected with him though we were age wise widely different.

When Dalai Lama migrated to India from Tibet I felt very excited and happy to have his presence in Dharamashala. When I saw him  at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago I felt his inspiring and uplifting presence and joyful energy. When I listened to him I felt the depth of his wisdom and the heart-felt compassion.

Both have taught me how to go through hardships, struggles and the inevitable pain without breaking down and how to cultivate authenticity and compassion, how to serve and live a fulfilling life.

I value the once-a-week satsanga, the gathering, we have without seeing our faces and without hearing a word. I feel connected without sight and sound.

With love and gratitude. Namaste.

Jagdish P Dave









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On Feb 23, 2014 david doane wrote:

I smile simply seeing a picture of the Dalai Lama's face, and I often laugh when I hear him laugh.  His smile and laugh are contagious.  Even though he has experienced much tragedy, he seems to always be cheerful and have a cheerful demeanor.  Sometimes he seems mischievous, and my response to that is to smile or chuckle even more.  I guess his manner comes from the "happy state of mind" that he has cultivated.  I'm sure a happy state of mind helps me laugh authentically, and laughing authentically also helps me have a happy state of mind.  I think I seldom laugh inauthentically.  I laugh in response to what strikes me as funny, such as funny comments and jokes.  I laugh at times at my own and others' silliness.  I often laugh in response to others' laughing.  Even though I laugh fairly easily, I would like to laugh more, rather than becoming irritated.  I think authentic laughing comes from an awareness of being in this world but  See full.

I smile simply seeing a picture of the Dalai Lama's face, and I often laugh when I hear him laugh.  His smile and laugh are contagious.  Even though he has experienced much tragedy, he seems to always be cheerful and have a cheerful demeanor.  Sometimes he seems mischievous, and my response to that is to smile or chuckle even more.  I guess his manner comes from the "happy state of mind" that he has cultivated.  I'm sure a happy state of mind helps me laugh authentically, and laughing authentically also helps me have a happy state of mind.  I think I seldom laugh inauthentically.  I laugh in response to what strikes me as funny, such as funny comments and jokes.  I laugh at times at my own and others' silliness.  I often laugh in response to others' laughing.  Even though I laugh fairly easily, I would like to laugh more, rather than becoming irritated.  I think authentic laughing comes from an awareness of being in this world but not of it, which gives a perspective from which I can laugh at much of what we humans do, and I'd rather laugh than cry.  I think I inculcate the ability to laugh authentically by growing in wisdom, being grateful, and seeing positively, all of which apparently generate that happy state of mind.  Being with others who laugh authentically and easily definitely also helps.  Authentic laughing is healthy. 

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On Feb 23, 2014 Kristin Pedemonti wrote:

 To laugh authentically one needs to be authentic oneself. I feel fortunate that Laughter comes easy in my llfe. As someone who does her best to live her true self including not caring so much what others think I allow laughter to bubble up and release. this laughter is often infectious. I do my best to laugh or at least smile Every Day. Service space helps because of so many of the positive articles, events, and stories shared. Always there is something to smile about. And as Dalai Lama says, our enemies can often help us smile and laugh too, if we let them in. Hugs to all of you for making me smile. 



On Feb 21, 2014 Conrad P Pritscher wrote:

. I greatly agree with him when he says thinking that compassion, patience, and rationality are good will not produce those qualities just by thinking they are good.  I agree that anger, jealousy and competition are our enemies.  People who are angry, jealous and competitive can more easily remind us to be patient and compassionate. I do not wish to be irrational but to put rationality on a level with patience and compassion is not a good idea.  Some angry, jealous, and competitive people use rational statements to delude others about the value of competition etc. I love his smiling and laughing and I believe they are contagious. I frequently laugh and smile because there is much to laugh and smile about. I understand relatively little about our mysterious universe and my increasing lack of desire to understand much of what I experience makes me smile and sometimes laugh. If I were with you now I would be laughing and smiling. Thank you for the opportunity to respond. W  See full.

. I greatly agree with him when he says thinking that compassion, patience, and rationality are good will not produce those qualities just by thinking they are good.  I agree that anger, jealousy and competition are our enemies.  People who are angry, jealous and competitive can more easily remind us to be patient and compassionate. I do not wish to be irrational but to put rationality on a level with patience and compassion is not a good idea.  Some angry, jealous, and competitive people use rational statements to delude others about the value of competition etc. I love his smiling and laughing and I believe they are contagious. I frequently laugh and smile because there is much to laugh and smile about. I understand relatively little about our mysterious universe and my increasing lack of desire to understand much of what I experience makes me smile and sometimes laugh. If I were with you now I would be laughing and smiling. Thank you for the opportunity to respond. Warm and kind regards to everyone.

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On Feb 21, 2014 Love wrote:

 Authenticity (be it in the form of a laugh, smile, hug or word) always comes from "the core".  Unique, personal and passionate is something/someone authentic.  REAL is the word that comes to mind. 



On Feb 21, 2014 Chandrakant Mishra wrote:

 It is terribly difficult to laugh when one passes through a bad and awful phase of life. This is rarest of rare quality one can possess and I think it is possible only with extra-ordinary people like Dalai Lama. For a common man, if he does not  pass on his cries to his friends and family and is just able to cope up, bear with and contain the problems to himself, he can be considered to be a laugher.