The Top Ten Dalai Lama Quotes…Mistranslated.

Via on Jul 17, 2011

To Commemorate the Dalai Lama meeting with President Obama, let’s have some fun.

We have all played the classic “Telephone” game, where a message starts at one end of a line of people, is whispered from one person to the next and turns out to be radically different from the original message. Fun, right? Were you ever the fella in the middle of the line who completely changed the message around on purpose just to see what happened? I was. I did that every time. So for some good fun this Sunday, I took one of Buddhism’s most epic figures, the 14th Dalai Lama, and placed a few of his most famous quotes through the “Telephone Translator.”

The Telephone Translator is the online equivalent of the Telephone game, except in this version the message is translated from english into 20 random languages using Google Translate and then translates back into english. Some of the quotes developed altogether new meanings and a few actually were improved!

The first one is the actual Dalai Lama quote and the second italicized one is the “translated” one.

  1. “Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” ~ Good luck, it works, but not in the end.
  2. “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.” ~ If you try to sleep with a mosquito it is recommended that you change if you think that is too small.
  3. “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”  ~ This is my faith, my belief is simple thank you.
  4. “Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.”  ~ Do not forget that the relationship is where love comes before work.
  5. “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”  ~  The goal in life to help others, but shorter, less if you can help it.
  6. “This is my simple religion. No need for temples. No need for complicated philosophy. Your own mind, your own heart is the temple. Your philosophy is simple kindness.”  ~ My religion is very simple. There is no temple. You do not need complicated philosophy. His brain is simple; the liver is his temple. No need for kindness.
  7. People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost ~ Some find happiness and joy in people. They do not want to say that because I do not like loss.
  8. The purpose of all the major religious traditions is not to construct big temples on the outside, but to create temples of goodness and compassion inside, in our hearts ~ The main goal of all religious traditions have built a large house outside the sanctuary of Grace.
  9. It is under the greatest adversity that there exists the greatest potential for doing good, both for oneself and others ~ The main problem for you is others.

…and my personal favorite:

World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not just mere absence of violence. Peace is, I think, the manifestation of human compassion ~ Peace in the world helps to develop inner peace. The world not only without violence. Fred, I think this is love.

Who the hell is “Fred?”

About John Pappas

John Pappas is a struggling Zen practitioner with a slight Vajrayana palate (but he won't admit it) stumbling between the relative and absolute through the Buddhist Purgatory otherwise known as the Great Plains of South Dakota. Emerging writer, librarian and aspiring hungry ghost, John spews his skewed perception of the dharma all over his personal blog, Subtle Dharma Mouth Punch as well as on the ephemeral Elephant Journal and occasionally (while having no artistic ability to speak of) on Dharma/Arte. John also loves tacos, homebrew, yoginis and obscure Cthulhu references. You can follow him on twitter under the handle @zendustzendirt

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2 Responses to “The Top Ten Dalai Lama Quotes…Mistranslated.”

  1. I really like "the relationship is where love comes before work."
    And "the main problem for you is others" appears to be where the Dalai Lama meets Jean-Paul Sartre ("Hell is other people").

  2. Marika says:

    “Fred” in swedish is the word for peace (:

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