The Dalai Lama on the Pursuit of Happiness: “You didn’t Build it.”

Via Waylon Lewis
on Sep 3, 2012
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We’re not Self-Made. We’re Made by Interdependence.

We create our own success, or not. That’s true. But it’s within the context of our family, our community, our town, our society, our government, and our corporations.



Relephant bonus:

“Innumerable labors brought us this food, may we know how it comes to us. Let us receive this as a blessing. Let us consider whether our life and efforts honor it. Let us aspire to a calm mind and heart and be free from greed, hate and delusion.” ~ Buddhist Meal Blessing


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


17 Responses to “The Dalai Lama on the Pursuit of Happiness: “You didn’t Build it.””

  1. Lori Bell says:

    An Intimate, Infinite, an INEXTRICABLY RELATED Dance of Conscious Light, is what THIS IS! : )

  2. Janet says:

    We need each other for more reasons than we shall ever know in this life time.
    It comes to LOVE.

  3. Mark Ledbetter says:

    I absolutely agree with the Dalai Lama. But the comment underneath? "Fraid not. I don't see govt building of things as an appropriate application. (Govt built infrastructure as a social good is strongly implied in the title to this article and the inclusion of govt on the list of social ties)

    So what has government built, anyway?

    For starters, armies, guns, missiles, and jails. But's that's not what's meant here, right? What's meant here is 'infrastructure.' Ok, let's talk infrastructure.

    Back in the 19th c., when govt spending for infrastructure was called 'internal improvements,' there was a strong feeling that govt shouldn't be involved. The pre-Civil War debacle in govt canal-building only strengthened the feeling and led all states but two to pass anti-internal improvement constitutional amendments.

    But the post-war power of the central govt made state declarations irrelevant and it got to work carrying out the 1860 Republican campaign promises to build infrastructure. It started with govt-built railroads in the West, where there weren't enough people to justify free market railroads. What resulted was massive and shoddy over-building, massive debt and several depressions, land and cattle boom-and-busts, wars against the Plains Indians and theft of their lands, giveaways of (as I recall) a total land mass the size of Texas to railroads, and a resulting anti-people arrogance wielded by the hugely powerful railroads.

    We responded not by getting rid of the idea of govt-built infrastructure but by taking the idea to the next level. In 1916, the idea that it was govt's job to build infrastructure for cars, in order to free us from the "evil clutches of railroad capitalism," became nat'l policy. The result was the rise of Carworld and decline and collapse not only of railroads but of interurbans (what we now call 'light rail'). American interurbans were the best mass transit system in the world. Not the best at the time, the best in history, better than anything, actually, in Europe or Japan even now.

    Replacing the mostly privately built interurban system with Carworld destroyed not only the interurbans themselves but also Downtown and Main Street. Compact multi-use communities in both town and city disappeared as they are not conducive to the smooth running of the automobile. Wildlands and farmlands were pushed far from city limits. And oil became king to feed the car.

    So no, I'm not happy that govt took on the infrastructure project. We can do much better by ourselves. And do it without building up massive debt.

  4. Mark Ledbetter says:

    Whoops! By 'comment underneath,' I did not mean Janet or Lori's wonderful comment. I meant the comment in the article proper. I'm just an anti-carworld guy so I had to say something about the implication that our infrastructue is a wonderulf thing.. Hope no offense is taken at Elephant!

  5. As the RNC took Obamas quote out of context to promote their pro-individualism agenda, EJ takes the Dalai Lama's quote out of context to promote their statism propaganda.

  6. Lori Bell says:

    Interesting…We, as in all human beings born in Eastern or Western (but not necessarily primitive tribal) cultures in the last 2000 years, have not known what it would be like to live without government. I've heard people say, "Then move to Somalia", but that Country Has Had the influence of multiple governments as well, and especially a government that disrupted its natural cultural development centuries ago. So, sorry, doesn't count as a state of "no government…influence".

    But, what the Dalai Lama states here is true, regardless of the presence or non-presence of government. In fact, I would suggest, as I do in this article:… the government actually stands in the way of our acknowledging and interacting more humanely towards one another.

  7. Lori Bell says:

    Bad Link the first time…here it is again:

  8. Mark Ledbetter says:

    Lori, I just checked out your Blue Turtle Blog on "trimming the hedges." I recommend it to anyone here. In fact, I'd suggest you offer it to Ele as a contribution.

    As for being stateless, yeah, "Move to Somalia and see how you like it!" People proposing something like anarchy or, as you put it on your blog, anti-statism, hear that I lot I imagine.

    Here's something, though. A year or so ago, the London Times, I think it was (not exactly an anarchist rag!) went to Somalia to examine in detail what ten (or whatever number it is) years of anarchy have done to that country. Surprise! Since anarchy started, and despite all the terrible things we read in the press, something has been happening in Somalia that never happened before. Economic growth, of all things. And along with the growth, rising standards of living, decreasing poverty, increasing education, more babies born live and healthy…

    The fighting and violence between warlords, the London Times claims, seems not to be a result of anarchy but rather the result of gangs fighting for U.N. money. But the money itself, does not seem to be trickling down to where the people are. Rather the growth comes from people completely freed of taxes and restrictions pursuing their own good.

    Can't remember what the Times said about piracy, but for the average person, anarchy or non-statism seems to be a blessing in Somalia.

    Don't quote me on any of this. It's all from memory and my mind is a leaky sieve. But that's the gist.

    Good day to you Lori and good luck on your fascinating if challenging project.

    Let me repost Lori's blog site so you don't have to search:

  9. Lori Bell says:

    Thanks, Mark. That's very generous of you. I've never tried to submit anything to Ele before, but I will take your advice and look into it. Thanks for the Very Interesting comments on Somalia as well. I may follow-up with some research of my own. : )

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