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The Dalai Lama’s Thinking Style

By Rolf Scheerder

When the Dalai Lama visited the Netherlands, 48 thousand people came to him in the Ahoy stadium in Rotterdam. The ideas the Dalai Lama teaches people all over the world are impressive. He made me curious: what meta programs does this inspiring leader use when he speaks about his beliefs?

I noted down the most obvious meta programs. I list them here,  in the order of their intensity. After each meta program I copied (in quotes) some phrases the Dalai Lama used.

  1. First I noticed that everything the Dalai Lama shared is coming from an internal reference.
  2. Concept: “At the smallest level of matter there is nothing, externally there is only mental projection. Time exists by virtue of past and future, the present consists by virtue of mental projection. Matter at an absolute level does not exist, neither does consciousness (this idea about matter is a concept from quantum physics that was already known 2000 years ago by Buddhist monks).There are four Noble Truths.
    First there is the truth of the basis, the cause, that leads us to happiness and suffering.
    Second there is the truth of stopping the suffering,
    Third there is the truth of practicing the path (emptiness) that leads us to the stopping.
    Fourth is the truth of the state of lasting happiness.
  3. Structure: “’Cause’ versus ‘result’ and ‘suffering’ versus ‘happiness’ are interdependent; 4 values, 16 principles, two truths, two levels, three main issues… Understand that interdependencies without dependencies cannot exist. Violence exists only due to the concept of ‘we’ versus ‘them’; thinking about what is good for us without thinking about what is good for others.”
  4. Reactive: “My philosophy: teaching Buddhism based on the principal acceptance of spiritual messages. Not just out of devotion, first analyse what is said.”
  5. A bit of proactive behaviour was visible when the Dalai Lama helped the presenter getting the microphone in the right position. The Dalai Lama shows a lot of humor, he won’t hesitate to say something funny, even when this might confront the sensitivities of the person concerned. So he invited his female guest of the day, a well-known politician, to sit in his chair because of the size of her body.
  6. Towards: “Get ahead by practicing the path, pursue happiness.“ “Practice basic understanding, find out the causes of suffering, then practice the path, it leads to a state of liberty.”
  7. Some ‘Away from’ in mentioning: “Avoid negativity.”
  8. Procedure: “Every day I get up at 3.30 am, then I do meditation, then I listen to the BBC radio and analyse the news. My daily rhythm goes on till 6.30 pm, then I go to sleep.” “Mentally I easily adjust to different time zones, physically it is more difficult.”
  9. Options: “From my fourth birthday on, I had to learn rituals. I am through with rituals, better go to the core of our thinking.”
  10. Matching: “The cause of suffering is ignorance, everything is an idea based on something else, everything is based on interdependence. Many governments are developed more, and there are still many problems caused by mankind. Action depends on the right motivation and that comes through awareness.”
  11. Mismatching: “There is a global lack of moral ethics, which argues for a secular ethics.” (coming back to matching).
  12. Internal locus of control: “We are the cause of our suffering, by ignorance. Two levels: first not understanding how things work versus having inner peace, second stick to the self as an absolute existence. As sticking to an absolute enemy, it causes anger and 90 % of anger comes from projection.”
  13. People: “Have great compassion for all living beings, free them from suffering.”
  14. Information: “Learn from all religions, schools, quantum physics. Know what you believe in.  Accept information only after your own analysis. Understanding, knowledge is essential. To relax I read the works of great masters of Nalanda.”
  15. Activity: “It comes down to investing.”
  16. General: “7 Billion people are physically, emotionally, mentally the same, a whole. Buddhism does not believe in creation, the world was already there.”
  17. Change: “In the cause of liberation, focus on the suffering. In the cause of enlightenment, focus on the suffering of others.”
  18. Past: “Explained by insights.”
  19. Present: “Be conscious.”
  20. Kinesthetic: “We have to learn to deal with our own emotions, children in basic education, devotion, compassion, love, tolerance. Things that matter exists not by objectivity.”

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