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132 Dalai Lama Quotes: Daily Wisdom for a Better Life

Spiritual leader and political refugee the Dalai Lama, has used the power of words to inspire thousands across the globe. We’ve put together this collection of Dalai Lama quotes to help you find your inner calm when the storms of life are raging.

Best Dalai Lama Quotes
via IMDB

If you’d like to learn from this wise man, then check our list of 132  inspirational Dalai Lama quotes and spark change in your life!

“I Have a Precious Human Life”

Born Lhamo Thondup, Tenzin Gyatso became the 14th Dalai Lama in 1940, four years after the death of his predecessor, Thubten Gyatso.

Like those before him, the Dalai Lama is seen as a living Bodhisattva and an incarnation of Avalokiteśvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion. He is also the longest-living Dalai Lama to date and the most renowned.

Following his exile from Tibet, His Holiness began visiting other world governments to promote social issues such as better education, environmentalism, healthcare, nonviolence, and world peace. He has also authored several books, including The Art of Happiness and A Simple Path.

As both a holy man and human rights advocate, the Dalai Lama uses his work to explore philosophical questions and encourage compassion.

Touching on peace, hardship, personal growth, and more, we’ve gathered 132 Dalai Lama quotes to inspire your spiritual journey.

12 Famous Dalai Lama Quotes 

Though separated from his country and people, the Dalai Lama is a highly respected world leader. Many view him as a paragon of peace and often look to him for guidance during difficult times.  

Famous Dalai Lama Quotes
via Inner Pilgrim

Even if you’re unfamiliar with his advocacy, you may recognize one of these 12 famous Dalai Lama quotes:

1. “True change is within; leave the outside as it is.”


2. “We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.”


3. “The goal is not to be better than the other man, but your previous self.”


4. “Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.”


5. “As you breathe in, cherish yourself. As you breathe out, cherish all beings.”


6. “It is under the greatest adversity that there exists the greatest potential for doing good, both for oneself and others.”


7. “Real change in the world will only come from a change of heart.”


8. “Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.”


9. “We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot survive without human affection.”


10. “To conquer oneself is a greater victory than to conquer thousands in a battle.”


11. “This is my simple religion. No need for temples. No need for complicated philosophy. Your own mind, your own heart is the temple. Your philosophy is simple kindness.”


12. “As people alive today, we must consider future generations: a clean environment is a human right like any other. It is, therefore, part of our responsibility toward others to ensure that the world we pass on is as healthy, if not healthier, than we found it.”

18 Short Dalai Lama Quotes

In addition to being a prominent religious figure, the Dalai Lama is a wordsmith and scholar. Through his speeches, books, and teachings, he utilizes the power of language to educate and uplift others.

Short Dalai Lama Quotes
via The Toronto Star

Here are 18 short Dalai Lama quotes from his various works: 

13. “Don’t let a little dispute injure a great relationship.”


14. “Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.”


15. “Someone else’s action should not determine your response.”


16. “Forget the failures. Keep the lessons.”


17. “Sleep is the best meditation.”


18. “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”


19. “In the practice of tolerance, one’s enemy is the best teacher.”


20. “Anger is the ultimate destroyer of your own peace of mind.”


21. “The true hero is one who conquers his own anger and hatred.”

We Should All Practice Compassion
via Time

22. “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”


23. “I believe the ultimate source of blessings is within us.”


24. “I defeat my enemies when I make them my friends.”


25. “When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.”


26. “Let us try to recognize the precious nature of each day.”


27. “Once a year, go somewhere you’ve never been before.”


28. “A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.”


29. “Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.”


30. “Choose to be optimistic. It feels better.”

16 Dalai Lama Quotes To Help You Worry Less

Despite facing endless oppression, the Dalai Lama is a firm believer in optimism. He motivates his followers to embrace positivity and nurse their inner strength through hardship instead of giving in to despair or defeat.

Greaet Dalai Lama Quotes to Control Our Own Actions
via BFriars

If you’re struggling with excessive stress or worry, then you may find these 16 Dalai Lama quotes helpful:

31. “If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”


32. “Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.”


33. “Just one small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.”


34. “When you care for others, you manifest an inner strength despite any difficulties you face.”


35. “When we have inner peace, we can be at peace with those around us.”


36. “Optimism leads to success; pessimism leads to defeat.”


37. “Calm mind brings inner strength and self-confidence, so that’s very important for good health.”


38. “There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.’ No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.”

Dalai Lama Quotes to Create a Disciplined Mind
via LearningFromDogs

39. “You may go to bed at night confronted by many problems in your life, but it’s hope that motivates you to get out of bed and carry on with your life the next morning.”


40. “In order to carry out a positive action, we must develop a positive vision.”


41. “I find hope in the darkest days and focus on the brightest.”


42. “Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.”


43. “Time passes unhindered. When we make mistakes, we cannot turn the clock back and try again. All we can do is use the present well.”


44. “Optimism doesn’t mean that you are blind to the reality of the situation. It means that you remain motivated to seek a solution to whatever problems arise.”


45. “Even when we have physical hardships, we can be very happy.”


46. “Although you may not always be able to avoid difficult situations, you can modify the extent to which you can suffer by how you choose to respond to the situation.”

12 Dalai Lama Quotes on the Importance of Peace

By the mere practice of preaching peace, the Dalai Lama has been the subject of extreme controversy and debate. His thought-provoking discussions explore the concept of peace and how we might achieve it individually or collectively as a society.

The Dalai Lama Believes in Peace
via Wikipedia

Below, we’ve gathered 12 of the greatest Dalai Lama quotes about peace: 

47. “If there is love, there is hope that one may have real families, real brotherhood, real equanimity, real peace.”


48. “Peace does not mean an absence of conflicts; differences will always be there. Peace means solving these differences through peaceful means; through dialogue, education, knowledge; and through humane ways.”


49. “Each of us must learn to work not just for oneself, one’s own family or nation, but for the benefit of all humankind. Universal responsibility is the key to human survival. It is the best foundation for world peace.”


50. “Inner peace is the key: if you have inner peace, the external problems do not affect your deep sense of peace and tranquility—without this inner peace, no matter how comfortable your life is materially, you may still be worried, disturbed, or unhappy because of circumstances.”


51. “Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace.”


52. “Cultivating a close, warmhearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. It helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the principal source of success in life. Since we are not solely material creatures, it is a mistake to place all our hopes for happiness on external development alone. The key is to develop inner peace.”

The Dalai Lama Understands We All Need to Practice Compassion
via OnBeing

53. “In order to lead a meaningful life, you need to cherish others, pay attention to human values and try to cultivate inner peace.”


54. “When our community is in a state of peace, it can share that peace with neighboring communities, and so on.”


55. “We all want to live a happy life, so we have to learn to live together in trust and mutual respect. We do have differences of race, nationality, religious faith, and so on, but these differences are secondary in comparison to our equality in being human.”


56. “World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not just the mere absence of violence. Peace is, I think, the manifestation of human compassion.”


57. “Creating a more peaceful world requires a peaceful mind and a peaceful heart. As human brothers and sisters, we must live together in tolerance and affection.”


58. “If we ourselves remain angry and then sing about world peace, it has little meaning. First, our individual self must learn peace. This we can practice. Then we can teach the rest of the world.”

18 Dalai Lama Quotes About Love and Humanity

In his Buddhist teachings, the Dalai Lama occasionally touches on the subject of love. Aside from romantic love and familial love, the Dalai Lama strongly believes in loving our fellow man, no matter who they are or what they’ve done.

Dalai Lama on Love and Humanity
via LionsRoar

Here are 18 Dalai Lama quotes that urge us to love and respect others: 

59. “Ultimately, humanity is one, and this small planet is our only home. If we are to protect this home of ours, each of us needs to experience a vivid sense of universal altruism.”


60. “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”


61. “Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to come back, and reasons to stay.”


62. “Because we all share this planet earth, we have to learn to live in harmony and peace with each other and with nature. This is not just a dream, but a necessity.”


63. “A heart full of love and compassion is the main source of inner strength, willpower, happiness, and mental tranquility.”


64. “We must recognize that the suffering of one person or one nation is the suffering of humanity.”


65. “Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.”

The Dalai Lama Knows Great Compassion
via Tricycle

66. “The more you are motivated by love, the more fearless and free your action will be.”


67. “The creatures that inhabit this earth—be they human beings or animals—are here to contribute, each in its own particular way, to the beauty and prosperity of the world.”


68. “People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.”


69. “The planet does not need more successful people. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of all kinds.”


70. “Love is the absence of judgment.”


71. “Most people prefer a smile to a frown. It’s human nature. Even dogs respond with wagging tails to a smile and other shows of affection.”


72. “It’s good to remember that other human beings are like us. We are born the same way; we die the same way. While we’re alive, it’s better to be able to trust each other as friends.”


73. “When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it also helps us to develop inner happiness and peace.”


74. “The remedy is to look deeper and recognize that we human beings are physically, mentally, and emotionally the same.”


75. “We need to learn how to keep our natural compassion alive and how to extend and develop it so it can encompass the whole of humanity.”


76. “When the heart is closed it leads to fear, stress, and anger. Nurturing the idea of the oneness of humanity has the effect of opening the heart.”

12 Dalai Lama Quotes to Inspire You to Do Better

Many admirers cite the Dalai Lama as a guiding force during their respective spiritual journeys by sharing Buddhist wisdom and promoting self-improvement.

Be Inspired by the Dalai Lama
via The Conversation

Whether you’re on a similar path or not, we can all learn from these 12 inspirational Dalai Lama quotes:

77. “In order to become prosperous, a person must initially work very hard, so he or she has to sacrifice a lot of leisure time.”


78. “When we are motivated by compassion and wisdom, the results of our actions benefit everyone, not just our individual selves or some immediate convenience.”


79. “The challenge today is to convince people of the value of truth, honesty, compassion and a concern for others.”


80. “If you have a particular faith or religion, that is good. But you can survive without it.”


81. “I want to be just a pure spiritual leader.”


82. “Don’t ever mistake my silence for ignorance, my calmness for acceptance, or my kindness for weakness. Compassion and tolerance are not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.”


83. “If we are to create a more peaceful world, made up of peaceful individuals, we need a greater concern for others—altruism. That gives inner strength.”


84. “Look at situations from all angles, and you will become more open.”


85. “Kindness and a good heart are the foundation for success in this life, progress on the spiritual path, and the fulfillment of our aspirations. Our need for them is not limited to any specific time, place, society, or culture.”


86. “Too much self-centered attitude, you see, brings, you see, isolation. Result: loneliness, fear, anger. The extreme self-centered attitude is the source of suffering.”


87. “It is our collective and individual responsibility to preserve and tend to the environment in which we all live.”


88. “Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend—or a meaningful day.”

14 Dalai Lama Quotes on the Value of Compassion

The Dalai Lama’s staunch support of human rights has made him one of the most influential Buddhists in modern history. During his fight for various causes, he has preached nonviolence, forgiveness, and, most importantly, compassion. 

Dalai Lama on the Value of Compassion

The following 14 Dalai Lama quotes are powerful examples of his beliefs: 

89. “Compassion is the radicalism of our time.”


90. “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”


91. “There are two kinds of compassion. The first comes from a natural concern for friends and family who are close to us. This has limited range but can be the seed for something bigger. We can also learn to extend a genuine concern for others’ well-being, whoever they are. That is real compassion, and only human beings are capable of developing it.”


92. “Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek.”


93. “Appreciation of humanity, compassion, and love are key points. If we develop a good heart, whether our field is science, agriculture, or politics, since motivation is so crucial, they’ll all improve.”


94. “Compassion naturally creates a positive atmosphere, and as a result, you feel peaceful and content.”


95. “Compassion is of little value if it just remains an idea. It must motivate how we respond to others and be reflected in all our thoughts and actions.”


96. “You must not hate those who do wrong or harmful things; but with compassion, you must do what you can to stop them—for they are harming themselves, as well as those who suffer from their actions.”


97. “Compassion is the wish for another being to be free from suffering; love is wanting them to have happiness.”


98. “True compassion isn’t just an emotional response but a firm commitment founded on reason. Therefore, our compassion for others doesn’t change even if they behave negatively. Our sense of responsibility for others gives rise to a wish to help them actively overcome their problems.”


99.“A truly compassionate attitude toward others does not change even if they behave negatively or hurt you.”


100. “Generosity is the most natural outward expression of an inner attitude of compassion and loving-kindness.”


101. “I believe compassion to be one of the few things we can practice that will bring immediate and long-term happiness to our lives. I’m not talking about the short-term gratification of pleasures like sex, drugs, or gambling (though I’m not knocking them), but something that will bring true and lasting happiness. The kind that sticks.”


102. “The topic of compassion is not at all religious business; it is important to know it is human business, it is a question of human survival.”

16 Dalai Lama Quotes to Change Your Life Philosophy 

With a worldview shaped by Tibetan Buddhism and political strife, it’s no wonder that so many people are interested in the Dalai Lama’s life philosophy.

The Teachings of the Dalai Lama Might Change your Life

From religion, youth, and the true meaning of existence, here are 16 great Dalai Lama quotes about life:

103. “Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I’m going to have kind thoughts toward others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”


104. “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others, and if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”


105. “All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion, and forgiveness. The important thing is they should be part of our daily lives.”


106. “Look at children. Of course, they may quarrel, but generally speaking, they do not harbor ill feelings as much or as long as adults do. Most adults have the advantage of education over children, but what is the use of an education if they show a big smile while hiding negative feelings deep inside?”


107. “Let us reflect what is truly of value in life, what gives meaning to our lives, and set our priorities on the basis of that.”


108. “Proper utilization of time is so important. While we have this body, and especially this amazing human brain, I think every minute is something precious.”


109. “What is the meaning of life? To be happy and useful.”


110. “We can’t say that all religions are the same. Different religions have different views and fundamental differences. But it does not matter, as all religions are meant to help in bringing about a better world with better and happier human beings.”

Meeting the Dalai Lama

111. “Thinking of ourselves as somehow special isolates us.”


112. “Hard times build determination and inner strength. Through them, we can also come to appreciate the uselessness of anger. Instead of getting angry, nurture a deep caring and respect for troublemakers because by creating such trying circumstances they provide us with invaluable opportunities to practice tolerance and patience.”


113. “Neither a space station nor an enlightened mind can be realized in a day.”


114. “We all have to live together, so we might as well live together happily.”


115. “When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways—either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits or by using the challenge to find our inner strength.”


116. “The basis of moral principles is to have a real concern for the well-being of others and an appreciation of the oneness of humanity. Whether science or religion is constructive or destructive depends on our motivation and whether we are guided by moral principles.”


117. “Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something, and sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent.”


118. “There is only one important point you must keep in your mind and let it be your guide. No matter what people call you, you are just who you are. Keep to this truth. You must ask yourself how you want to live your life. We live, and we die; this is the truth that we can only face alone. No one can help us, not even the Buddha. So consider carefully, what prevents you from living the way you want to live your life?”

14 Dalai Lama Quotes on Finding Happiness

Continuing our conversation about optimism, the Dalai Lama believes true happiness comes from within.

Positive Motivation from the Dalai Lama

While this is easier said than done, there may be something in the following 14 Dalai Lama quotes you can learn from:

119. “We need to learn to want what we have, not to have what we want, in order to get stable and steady happiness.”


120. “A disciplined mind leads to happiness, and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering.”


121. “Those who have little interest in spirituality shouldn’t think that human inner values don’t apply to you. The inner peace of an alert and calm mind are the source of real happiness and good health. Our human intelligence tells us which of our emotions are positive and helpful and which are damaging and to be restrained or avoided.”


122. “We need to ask ourselves how to find happiness—it’s not in money and power.”


123. “I believe that happiness can be achieved through training the mind.”


124. “It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible. From this, happiness in both the short term and the long term for both yourself and others will come.”


125. “Happiness doesn’t always come from a pursuit. Sometimes it comes when we least expect it.”

Understanding the Moral Ethics of the Dalai Lama
via NY Times

126. “We begin from the recognition that all beings cherish happiness and do not want to suffer. It then becomes both morally wrong and pragmatically unwise to pursue only one’s own happiness oblivious to the feelings and aspirations of all others who surround us as members of the same human family. The wiser course is to think of others when pursuing our own happiness.”


127. “Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.”


128. “True happiness comes from having a sense of inner peace and contentment, which in turn must be achieved by cultivating altruism, love, and compassion, and by eliminating anger, selfishness, and greed.”


129. “From the very core of our being, we simply desire contentment. Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness.”


130. “The basic thing is that everyone wants happiness, no one wants suffering. And happiness mainly comes from our own attitude, rather than from external factors. If your own mental attitude is correct, even if you remain in a hostile atmosphere, you feel happy.”


131. “‘Happiness’ means mainly a sense of deep satisfaction. The object of life or our goal, then, is satisfaction.”


132. “We seek happiness in external things without realizing that they don’t help when we have problems within. We need to focus instead on the joy that comes with peace of mind that allows us to remain happy whatever happens.”

Closing Thoughts: Dalai Lama Quotes

As one of the most beloved spiritual leaders of our time, the Dalai Lama has used his position to promote peace and understanding. He’s directed conversations toward important social issues, rallied followers against violence, and advocated for interfaith dialogue, amongst other movements. 

Although he’s long since scaled-down traveling due to age and health concerns, His Holiness’ impact continues to be felt in the countries he’s visited and the people he’s connected with.

If his teachings also inspire you, what are your favorite Dalai Lama quotes? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!