H.H. the Dalai Lama Birthday Celebration Speech

by David Spiekerman, Board of Advisors President

As millions of fellow human beings celebrate His Holiness 14th Dalai Lama’s magnificent activities and qualities as a world spiritual leader, wishing him good health and a long, happy life on the occasion of his 80th birthday, I would like to listen to His Holiness speak for himself as a Buddhist teacher.  These short quotes from his book The Heart of Compassion written in 1997 capture the essence of the Bodhisattva view, which he embodies with the strength of a million suns.

His Holiness Dalai Lama writes, “All wandering beings desire happiness and do not want suffering.  Therefore both I and others must engage in those means which give rise to happiness and do not bring suffering.  Whatever we may do, there is no more perfect and complete means of establishing the causes of happiness and the elimination of suffering and harm than practicing the dharma.”  On His Holiness’s 80th birthday, we must remember his pure and perfect commitment and motivation to practice the dharma until the enlightenment of all sentient beings is attained.

His Holiness Dalai Lama writes, “To be good followers of the Buddha, it is essential that we practice compassion and honesty.”  He writes, “Showing kindness to others, we can learn to be less selfish; sharing the sufferings of others, we develop more concern for the welfare of all living beings. This is the basic teaching.  To implement this teaching, we practice deep meditation and cultivate wisdom.”

Bodhisattva’s like His Holiness Dalai Lama understand that in suffering there is no distinction between the perpetrator of a harmful, violent act and his victim.  Although our emotions by default immediately identify with the suffering of the victim, forgetting the suffering of the perpetrator, the bodhisattva knows to hold all suffering as originating in ignorance.  

His Holiness Dalai Lama through great mindfulness and wisdom understands in every fiber of his being the transformative power of this wish: May the suffering of all sentient beings ripen in my mind stream.  For in the enlightened mind all defilements and obscurations without exception are utterly pacified and purified.

His Holiness Dalai Lama is our faithful and untiring spiritual guide, lighting the way out of ignorance into the brilliant light of Buddhahood.  His value to our spiritual development is immeasurable.  Thank you your holiness for naturally and joyfully embodying the essential compassion and wisdom of Lord Buddha.