dalai lama – feb 2014

happiness with dalai lama

About This Event

Recent years have made clear that the free enterprise system is under immense strain. But the answer is not simply to double down on budgetary arguments, tout low-tax solutions, and explain economic basics. We must stop considering free enterprise purely in terms of economic gain and wealth creation and begin considering it in terms of human fulfillment. In working with his Holiness the Dalai Lama, AEI seeks to create an open forum among scholars, social and political leaders, doctors, and scientists to discuss the ways in which material prosperity, spiritual development, and ethical leadership can maximize human flourishing. 

Far from a talk, we look forward to a conversation with His Holiness about how the free enterprise system can offer the best path toward happiness when predicated on ethical leadership, morality, and compassion for others.

Panel I: Moral free enterprise: Economic perspectives in business and politics

9:00 AM
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Arthur C. Brooks, AEI
Jonathan Haidt, New York University
Glenn Hubbard, Columbia University
Daniel S. Loeb, Third Point LLC

intro by Dalai Lama (Tenzin)..

humanity/happiness is combination of 7 billion individuals

no more we and they.. we must be all of 7 billion..

past century – century of war.. this century – century of peace

we created war, we must create peace.. must come from action, we must make peace happen

we’re all created by god – so we all have a spark of god – that should give us confidence…

whether we believe in religion or not, we are human beings.. biological have compassion.. mother’s affection is so important…  

believer or non-believer we all have some potential for compassion

hubbard – he asks students – why isn’t the whole world rich. what could we do to achieve mass properity. free enterprise system is naturally the most moral

free enterprise

wikipedia smallfree market

dalai lama’s response..

you use the word rich – like a millionaire – then impossible. it’s a individual initiative.. therefore.. whole world – depends on how much we think about oneness

loeb – business –

early trip to india – set me up for lifelong focus on spirituality/contemplation.. how contemplation makes us better decision makers. yoga. yoga quiets the fluctuations of the mind – you can’t be a happy person if your mind is not at ease. yoga – put self in difficult positions.. and be able to create equinimity.. so you can emerge from that making good choices. getting to be a better decision maker – isn’t just a question of getting to the right outcome.. but making sure we make decisions that do no harm and fit with our moral framework. 

as business person.. why so much talk about decision making – we’re lucky to live in a country/system that focuses on the individual. but you also have to trust individuals to make good decisions.

capital markets. people have a view that markets make the world a better place.. by supporting new ideas. vc market, et al. but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. you also need credit – invest in equity. ipo. shares. need to know there’s corporate laws. availability of low cost capital – only happens if people trust the system. entire system depends on role of law. there’s no other system that can create the kind of prosperity we have. we need a martial plan. the most important system is education. how do we get a broad base of under served. [dang – then equates success there to math scores..] we need to bring as many people as possible into the system so they can flourish with us. 

brooks – s0 – we need government regimes to protect property rights of individuals

dalai response:

things are interdependent. if something independent – then only concerned about that thing.. but the reality… all related.. so have to look more from larger picture. ie: self-confidence.. over self-confidence blinds us. the rule of law – judicial system – good and people – so protection from law. trust. honest. truthful. transparent. you remaining strange person and hoping trust from others is illogical. biologically -intention for trust is there – education can develop that – existing modern education is lacking in that. we need more of a universal responsibility and commitment. i’m developing more respect about capitalism.


story 1: capitalism is exploitation. traded goods. strengthened community. then capitalism sucked up all surplus wealth. used it to buy political power.

we judge people based on their intentions.. but what if we judged more by effects

story 2: free market capitalism. once upon a time almost everyone was poor/slaves. put checks on elites. supported private property rights..free enterprise. spreading this gospel will get us to the golden age.

you really can turn water to wine – as long as free marketers can get good loans, etc. this gospel ness can make us blind..

story 3: not written yet. in 1990s – capitalism triumphed and entire planet moved toward prosperity. but we started to realize things we hadn’t been noticing. if we could strip away the anger/worship/ideology.. is there a story of capitalism that could be embraced by all of us..

brooks – dangers of capitalism come from those who are being left behind.. those who are weaker than us.. [what does that even mean?]

dalai lama response:

analyze the outward nature of oneself.. taking care of others is not selfless. that is best for you. let’s talk this world here – everybody wants happiness/peace.. nobody wants war. so therefore.. everybody loves peaceful life.. and very much appreciates trust. someone trusts you – you feel happy. this is our nature. now. we can educated people that self interest is taking care of rest of people. through education we can promote these values. it will take time – yes – 20 yrs.

brooks – summary..

1. each one of us..all of us.. is one in 7 billion. understanding common is our basis.

2. predicated on moral living

3. moral living is a practice – of compassion and shared humanity

4. good news – practice of global brother/sister hood is in each one of us..

brings us back to happiness.. which is focus of next session


Panel II: Unlocking the mind and human happiness
(Cohosted by the Mind & Life Institute)

10:30 AM
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Diana Chapman Walsh, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Richard Davidson, University of Wisconsin
Otto Scharmer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Arthur Zajonc, Mind & Life Institute

zajonc – intro – mind/life institute – what creates well being – begin with intention – we’re here because we care.. can we care enough.. can we find the means/methods.. to care enough


happiness & well-being from scientist/neuroscientist perspective. we think happiness is distinct from well being.. eudaimonia – meaning/purpose in life. the fleeting experience of happiness is subserved by different parts of brain than ongoing deeper well being ness

meta analysis – somewhere between 20-40% of the variance in well-being is accounted for by genetic factors.. ie: can be inherited from genes. so can we say somewhere between 60-80% is changeable.. and the rest is not..

epigenetics… the science of the regulation of our genes.. each of our genes have little volume control…  so the environment can shift… so the genetic piece should not be considered the viable piece

wikipedia smallepigenetics

arthur brooks – 4 factors – faith, family, community, work

i suggest 2 – generosity (virtue/compassion – dl), conscientiousness (restraint – dl), that turn out to be very important in the fostering of well being.. 

notions of generosity and conscientiousness early in life.. predicts well being later in life. is there a possibility through education to alter these qualities. can we develop strategies/interventions/curricula – to foster these. there is absolutely no doubt that these factors can be educated.. in part because of our understanding of plasticity. ou

1. well being can be learned. we should think of it more as a skill than a fixed characteristic

2. from neuroscience we know brain is plastic.. so take advantage of these sensitive periods

3. early interventions provide a great return on investment. for every dollar invested in pre school… there’s a return of 7 dollars when that person is 30. [ imagine if that ed at pre school is a quiet revolution ness]

arthur – what kind of education would you recommend for this..

dalai lama response:

on the age 4-7 as sensitive.. my own case.. no interest of these things even until age 10.. so actually classes .. not impacting.. until age 13 ish.. then i could make relation with text and my own experience. then 20’s, 30’s, 40’s more rigorous study of contemplation made affect… so can’t limit to 3 years in early childhood. now at 70, i still meditate.. it impacts my whole day, whole week.  whole life.. keep developing.

davidson- no question plasticity exists throughout life. reminds of the early years with mother that dalai often refers to.

arthur – curriculum of mind/life – 3 modes of care


i come in the spirit of warm-hearted inquiry. the power of a particular form of dialogue.. all inclusive..

[earned trust?]

how deeply are we willing dig – study the need for profound systems change

1. what price do we pay in happiness when we focus too sharply on ourselves. we in the us have become so pre occupied on working on ourselves. our human desire to fill an uncomfortable emptiness is part of our problem. seeking a perfection that is never ours to obtain. can we love others without possessing them.

2. how much of this interested in happiness is an aversion. as we deflect our gaze from frightening signs of instability and danger. i can hardly imagine how my sweet 5 yr old grandson will look back on this time in history .. when we failed to mobilize .. to protect their inheritance. 

dalai response:

self confidence is so important.. mentality that your brain is inferior.. by race or whatever.. will never get us to us. we have to convince everyone – that we are the same. since 1960s start working toward democracy. 2001. 2011 – completely retired from political responsibility. i’m just a simple monk. realistic view carries realistic action. 1. science 2. philosophy 3. religion .. next work – working on translations.

[so my question.. why do we need to wait for translations.. isn’t what’s needed on our hearts.. can’t we just set people free.. not have these pre-req’s of readings.. et al.. that need to be translated.. don’t we then – not only exclude those who can’t read translations – but then spend our time debating translations/meanings.. crazy – but why can’t we just start today.. and listen to our hearts]

can a mosquito have the ability to show appreciation..

arthur – endurance, self-confidence, clarity of thought..


interviewed 150 thought leaders.. on innovation and change. summary:

1. there are 2 different sources of learning – from past and from emerging future. when you look into my field – organizational systems.. most focus on first… but more often than not.. leaders are facing challenges that you can’t address by just looking at past. sometimes the past is the very obstacle. is there a 2nd source of learning – by sencing and leaning into

2. process seen being at work – when learning from the emerging future. leaders have to engage in (after clarifying intention) 1. observe 2. retreat/reflect/connect 3. act in an instant – not putting into long time – but rather rapid prototying

3. for leaders to do that well – need to engage in open 1. mind – suspend judgment 2. heart – capacity to empathize 3. will – access entrepreneurial core that is dormant in all of these..

several leaders today that embody these 3 – steve jobs (only way to do best work is by following your heart); bill obrien (success of intervention depends on the interior condition of the intervener – success of what i do depends on quality of intention); eileen fisher (using cultivating practices on personal and organizational level – ie: starts each meeting with mindfulness moment); ev williams

4. global challenges we face as community today. re: global crisis situation. everything is inter-related. the key leadership challenge is the same (across all sectors) – so we have a collaboration problem.. need all sectors working together on the larger situation.. identify some of key systemic issues. leaders are the stewarts of the neuroplasticity of the collective brain – across all silos.

many ie’s here.. food labs

so bottom line – moving from ego to eco system


1. 2 ways to learn – from past or emerging future

2. leaders in order to activate 2nd type of learning need to facilitate open mind/heart/will

3. # leadership challenge – shift ego to eco

question – we have seen many great examples of individuals practicing mindfulness.. but we need to see mindfulness on systems level.. what are your thoughts/views/experiences on that..

dalai lama response:

i think you know better – you already have the experience. education is the fundamental approach. it becomes a burden. learn from childhood – health et al – then becomes habit. 

arthur summary..

come from all sectors.. entered into a heartfelt dialogue.. to me this is a politics of compassion. we care about each other.. and our planet.  ending on gratitude – and gratitude to the dalai lama for the bravery as a marxist to join in on a conversation of capitalism


Oz Katerji (@OzKaterji) tweeted at 6:15 AM – 14 Sep 2018 :
The Dalai Lama, who is forcibly exiled from Tibet, lecturing refugees who would be murdered on return to Syria, about not turning Germany into an “Arab country” is not only latent hypocrisy, it is also unadulterated far-right racism.
https://t.co/oQAiJ5r4Wc (http://twitter.com/OzKaterji/status/1040574764769849344?s=17)