"Remember, you are a Westerner. If you want to practice Eastern philosophy such as Tibetan Buddhism you should take the essence and try to adapt it to your cultural background and conditions."
- His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
The Western lifestyle has many things to offer, as do the Eastern methods of self discovery. I think blending the two is very desirable.
Ashrams often become places where there is a hierarchy and a pecking order and not much enlightenment. That is what some people are drawn to. But that has nothing to do with enlightenment.
It is not bad living in a monastery. I've done it many times in many lives. But I think you can do a better job outside the monastery, if you have the necessary component parts.
I think one can advance faster outside a monastery if you use the experiences of daily life to advance yourself.
The spirit of the West, of America, is different than the East. The cultural conditioning is very different. It seems to be harder for people to work in teams, more difficult for people here to live in harmony, in a monastery.
The person in the business suit who works on Wall Street, who does their work perfectly, is probably evolving a lot faster, if they also meditate.
I think to be in a monastery or an ashram is not always the answer because we don't fight, we kick back. We don't listen to Sri Krishna.
I don't think there is a right approach to teaching self discovery. Every situation is unique.
There is a certain beauty and refinement that is often found in our world and it is expensive. It shouldn't necessarily be so. It is just the way our economic system is.
Truth occurs in unusual places. Sometimes it's in the frozen food section of the supermarket, sometimes it appears while you are waiting for your car to be fixed, sometimes you see it while in bed with someone you love, sometimes you find it while you're meditating on a lone mountain.
Between the creative, open and spontaneous approach to life, and the highly disciplined, pragmatic approach, there's a doorway, if you can find it - and it leads to immortality.
It is possible to renounce everything and attain enlightenment. But most people don't want to renounce; they wish to run away from responsibility and hard work.
You need to become a winner to go beyond winning and losing.
This is the fourth age, the Kali Yuga, and it's a time of great darkness. At the end of this age, there's supposed to be a cosmic dissolution and then life begins anew. It's a wonderful cycle of rebirth.
You need a job. You need a career. You need a focus. Otherwise, you will just pick up lots of strange psychic energy because you are not focused.
People in the West sometimes have these marvelous visions of India and Tibet. They assume that there are all these sadhus walking around and everybody is breathing enlightenment. Forget it. Don't look at it through rose-colored glasses.
I don't think people should be primarily concerned with money or material success. They should be concerned with doing that which is right and being in harmony with the way of life.
What we are seeking to do is not melt the map of America. We are seeking to melt the self, the solid form that we consider ourselves to be.
Somehow in the middle of the L.A. trendiness, Boston conservation, New York chic and San Francisco intellectual mellow, there's a place where everything meets.
You exist forever. You've always existed and you'll always exist. You move in and out of bodies like some people in Los Angeles move in and out of houses, every other week, every other lifetime.
Material success is a way of tightening up your life so that you can move into higher planes of attention. You should try to do well in every aspect of your life, because each aspect of your life affects your total being.
Self-control is completely necessary for increasing and raising your attention level. One of the places you practice that is at work.
A Buddhist is working not just to get paid, but working to advance spiritually. You shouldn't create a syntactical break in your mind between your career and your religious practice.
The degree of success that you attain in all of your physical, mental and spiritual undertakings is dependent upon the strength and clarity of your finite mind and your ability to access your infinite mind.
If you meditate you will be able to find new ways to utilize your career and the routines of daily life.
Combine meditation with career as a yoga. You will find that your practice will not be any less powerful than a person who lives in a monastery. You might even excel because practice in a monastery can get very one-sided.
It is necessary to go through all the daily tasks and bring perfection to them, to learn to be perfect in your meditation, and to win in all your endeavors so that one day you will complete again.
Changing the way you dress can make it easier to make deeper changes in the structure of your personality.
Clothes can have a very refined vibration. An ochre robe can be extremely refined and so can a wonderful satin gown or a silk brocade coast.
If you want to create a different character, you can do so just by altering your style of dress and cosmetics.
Clothing is art. It's an expression of how you feel. I think that it's not so much a question of a certain style or designer, but of finding the type of clothing that works well for you.
Life is learning how to deal with traffic. It requires patience, a good sense of timing, and sometimes not giving in to the traffic but reshaping your life.
Clothing has a great deal to do with the attitudes and energy that others direct towards you. I favor the chic, and tend to avoid the trendy. I think that it's good to be chic when possible because it is more inaccessible.
Ideally, you would live in an area that is not necessarily in the middle of the country, out in the woods, because you can isolate yourself there and get stuck in your own thoughts.
I feel that there's a certain danger in always being in a lovely rural setting. You can lose touch.
It's certainly easy to meditate on top of a mountain, but one should be also able to meditate in the heart of the city.
If you want to help people, if you care, go to the cities. The city is where the pain is the greatest - and the cities are a hell of a lot of fun if you like art, movies and plays.
There are millions of little opportunities out there to advance yourself. But you need the personal power to see how to do it.
You can live in the world and have friends, family and possessions. But don't take them all too seriously. Death removes everything. Feel death is every moment, as life is every moment.
Spiritual people are often persecuted because of their beliefs. Christians were fed to the lions. Jews were slaughtered in concentration camps. Various forms of persecution still exist today throughout the world.
Molecules are moving. Universes are colliding. Generations are being born and dying simultaneously, throughout eternity. As one of our great American poets, Walt Whitman, once said: "I contain multitudes."