Dalai Lama Quote from Snow Lion Publications

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Dalai Lama Quote of the Week

Question: Your Holiness and other teachers tell us to be sincerely joyful about others’ worldly achievements, happiness, and acquisitions. But if we know with certainty that a person has acquired or achieved something through unskillful or non-virtuous means, such as lying, stealing, cheating, harming, in what manner should that happiness for them be experienced and expressed?

Dalai Lama: One’s attitude toward superficial successes that are achieved through wrong means of livelihood such as lying, stealing, cheating, and so on, should not be the same as for achievements and happiness which are genuine. However, here you must bear in mind that if you examine this carefully, you will find that although the immediate circumstances that gave rise to a person’s joy and happiness may be a wrong means of livelihood, that is merely the immediate circumstance: the actual cause of that happiness is the individual’s merit in the past.

So one has to see the difference between immediate circumstances and long-term causes. One of the characteristics of karmic theory is that there is a definite, commensurate relationship between cause and effect. There is no way that negative actions or unwholesome deeds can result in joy and happiness. Joy and happiness, by definition, are the results or fruits of wholesome actions. So, from that point of view, it is possible for us to admire not so much the immediate action, but the real causes of joy. (p.119)

–from Healing Anger: The Power of Patience from a Buddhist Perspective by the Dalai Lama, translated by Geshe Thupten Jinpa, published by Snow Lion Publications

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