If I told you about the following quote is attributed to the Dalai Lama, what would it make you think? Apparently it was in response to the question, “What surprises you the most about humanity?”
Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then he dies having not really lived.
What does it do to your perception of the lesson inherent in the quote when I tell you that the Dalai Lama never said this, and in fact the quote was misattributed to him in an image that went around Facebook a long time ago, but that since it went around so fast and spread so far, this quote has since been misattributed to the Dalai Lama ever since?
From what I’ve read of the Dalai Lama’s thoughts, I don’t believe that he would allow himself to be so critical of man. He constantly surprises by seeing the positive in things, and I think he would have wrongfooted the asker of any such question far more comprehensively than this particular answer manages to do.
Nevertheless, the answer above outstrips the question in terms of insight. There’s something to be gained from it, and although the lesson is not particularly subtle, depending on who you are, it can remind you to stop and open your eyes from time to time. There’s real value in the message being communicated.
So my thought for the day, for you to meditate on, is whether a piece of insight or knowledge is more or less valuable depending on its source. To what extent are we able to see insight or wisdom for what it is, and benefit from it, and to what extent are we distracted by the cult of personality that surrounds certain individuals, imbuing their public thoughts with more weight than they occasionally deserve, and in counterpart reducing our ability to benefit from the wisdom that might come from the mouth of a child, or a colleague, or – to give a better example – a representative of a political party we would never vote for?
Surely the Dalai Lama would hear the wisdom in the words of even those who would oppress him, if that wisdom was there to be found. How hard is it to keep an open mind?