So, we should talk about Dharma in the 21st century.

If you think about it, it does not matter what it is you want to call the philosophy or the essence of Dharma. It is a universal law.

I mean, if you check up on all of us, we are the same. Our blood is the same color, right? We are constructed in the same or, at least, a similar way. The base of our existence as a human inside this vehicle is much the same.

Then, of course, if we branch out, we find that, even though we are comparable in many ways, we are, also, different in some aspects. I mean, even though the body is similar, it is different. Each shape is different, for example. There are many ways in which we can see differences, but the base is similar.

So, based on our experiences during our childhood, based on our culture, based on our language, based on all the divergent characteristics and circumstances of our life, we end up having one point of view or another. We end up having different types of perspectives. Normally, people see things in differing ways. You cannot expect everyone to understand or see things as you do because they have a different frame of mind.

Just as our blood is the same color, just as the base of who we are is similar, certain natural laws apply to everyone. You know, there is a philosophy, for example, gravity. You know the law of gravity.   It is physics, right? So, it applies to everybody in the same way. Similarly, Dharma, or the philosophy of Buddhism, applies to everybody in the same way because it is a universal law. Even before the Buddha, before even the word Buddhism was created, already that philosophy was there. That law applies to us. So, we can put it in practice. We can use that, you know. So, the technique is the same for everybody but the circumstances are different.

What we must understand is that the circumstances do not make us. We make the circumstances. We are the ones who choose how to react to the circumstances. That is an important thing to be aware of.

Like, just as an example, if you have boiling water, the boiling water is the circumstance. You put in a potato, it becomes soft. You put in an egg, it will become hard.  Yet, in each case, the circumstances are the same.

You choose. Do you want to be an egg or do you want to be a potato? You choose. It is up to you. You cannot blame the water for it! That is, also, what Dharma is saying.

So, one of the things that Dharma helps us with or helped me with a lot, is to learn how to adapt positively to any circumstance no matter what. That, for me, is a gift. It is a blessing.

We tend to overvalue negativity more than positiveness, right? So, something bad happens, oh! it is a big deal. If ten good things happen, it is normal! Then, we just remember oh! that person said this or that happened. Oh! Oh! Oh! Then, all the good things, all the nice things that people are telling us, we just completely forget about them. Why?

Why? We overvalue that negativity. We must just switch that. If we can switch that, then, what is going to be present in our life? What is going to take form in our life?

Whatever we overvalue, whatever we value, whatever we give importance to, that is what will prevail in our minds. Right? So, if you fear something, you are projecting what you fear. Then, you are creating that reality.   You are attracting what you fear, right?

We tend to do that a lot.  We tend to get into this kind of mindset.  We tend to get into this cycle of going around and around. We create these habits.  We create these neural pathways of, you know, self-pity, or self-importance, or self-centeredness.

Based on that self-centeredness, we suffer a lot. That is why it is important to always start the day with an attitude of gratitude. That will help you be not so self-centered.  That will create the cause for you to be happier automatically, just because you will be more aware of others. That helps you to have the platform of empathy. You know. 

So, gratitude is the key essential kind of attitude in life. We must practice it every day. That is one habit that we want to have because we all want to be happy, right? It is just that the way we pursue that aim or that objective is quite different from the result that we are looking for.

Basically, in other words, we want to be happy. We know that what we are doing is not going to make us happy, but we are still doing it.  Think about it. It does not make sense. It is time to make a change. 


  1. Stephie Brennan

    Thank you for these words which are so helpful in us understanding how to overturn a situation of what may be seen as suffering, into one of patience and unburdening. It is so true to see the Dharma applied as a universal law that can help us become lighter, happier and more grateful. I’d rather be a potato than an egg!

  2. Andy Wistreich

    Thank you again. We must indeed talk about Dharma in the 21st century., because that is where we are, and as this blog shows skilfully, where we are is where we transform ourselves. Just this morning I was thinking how grateful I feel that Lama Yeshe chose to reincarnate as a European, despite all the challenges that flowed from that. Why do I say that’s so important? Because we had to jump from feudal Tibet to post-modern global society, and the responsibility is on all of us now, here in the 21st century, all over the world. it’s no use pretending to be pre-occupation Tibetans. It just doesn’t work. It’s up to us to find the Dharma within ourselves, following the guidance of the Buddha and the lineage teachers, but find it now, here, where it finds new forms of expression, new perspectives. In short, it’s washed and rinsed and rejuvenated by entering a new culture. So, thank you for being here in Europe with us now. I deeply appreciate your presence.

  3. Margaret Bachtler

    Thank you Tenzin. I read your posts because you break down Dharma into such relatable understandings which provide ongoing guidance to me.

  4. Michel Sherab

    Hard egg or soft potato ? It is up to us !
    Beyond the word “Dharma” or “buddhism”, a universal law that each of us can apply to be happier. Simple but efficient !

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