The Dalai Lama is the Spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. The following are excerpts from his speeches/books
Consider the following. We humans are social beings. We come into the world as the result of others' actions. We survive here in dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from others' activities. For this reason it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others. Nor is it so remarkable that our greatest joy should come when we are motivated by concern for others. But that is not all. We find that not only do altruistic actions bring about happiness but they also lessen our experience of suffering. Here I am not suggesting that the individual whose actions are motivated by the wish to bring others' happiness necessarily meets with less misfortune than the one who does not. Sickness, old age, mishaps of one sort or another are the same for us all. But the sufferings which undermine our internal peace - anxiety, doubt, disappointment - these things are definitely less. In our concern for others, we worry less about ourselves. When we worry less about ourselves an experience of our own suffering is less intense.
What does this tell us? Firstly, because our every action has a universal dimension, a potential impact on others' happiness, ethics are necessary as a means to ensure that we do not harm others. Secondly, it tells us that genuine happiness consists in those spiritual qualities of love, compassion, patience, tolerance and forgiveness and so on. For it is these which provide both for our happiness and others' happiness.
I believe the ultimate aim of all human beings is to obtain happiness and a sense of fulfillment. These objectives can be achieved through physical amenities and proper mental development, but the dominant and ultimate factor is the mental aspect. In order to achieve these objectives one must have knowledge about both mind and matter.
Scientists may study mainly matter but they cannot ignore the human mind, or consciousness: spiritual practitioners may be engaging mainly in developing the mind but they cannot completely ignore their physical needs.
It is for this reason that I have always stressed the importance of combining both mental and the material approach to achieving happiness for humankind.
As long as there is a lack of the inner discipline that brings calmness of mind, no matter what external facilities or conditions you have, they will never give you the feeling of joy and happiness that you are seeking.
On the other hand, if you possess this inner quality of calmness of mind, a degree of stability within, then even if you lack various external facilities that you would normally consider necessary for happiness, it is still possible to live a happy and joyful life.
The work of a person laboring in some humble occupation is no less relevant to the well-being of society than that of, for example, a doctor, a teacher, a monk, or a nun. All human endeavor is potentially great and noble. So long as we carry out our work with good motivation, thinking, “My work is for others,” it will be of benefit to the wider community. But when concern for others’ feelings and welfare is missing, our activities tend to become spoiled. Through lack of basic human feeling, religion, politics, economics, and so on can be rendered dirty. Instead of serving humanity, they become agents of destruction.
We can spend our life trying to ‘tame’ the world, a task that would never end; or we can take the more practical path of ‘taming’ our own minds. The latter is by far the more effective approach, and brings the most immediate, stable and lasting solution. It contributes to our own inner happiness, and also contributes to establishing an atmosphere of peace and harmony in the world around us.
Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.
I have come to the conclusion that whether or not a person is a religious believer does not matter. Far more important is that they be a good human being.
If you can cultivate wholesome mental states prior to sleep and allow them to continue right into sleep without getting distracted, then sleep itself becomes wholesome.