Talk Categories Modern Spiritual Life | Talk Locations Harvard University

Look Inside, Walk Outside—How to Develop Inner Peace While Living in the Modern World

In this special age, we are all experiencing the most rapid social changes ever, so we all try to avoid suffering and have a desire to live peacefully and harmoniously. “Try to be your own master; the secret to a very calm mind is try to control it.” This is the right attitude as Khenpo Sodargye has told us about how to deal with the modern world challenges.

Speech by Khenpo Sodargye

Try to Get out from Your Comfort Zone

Excerpt 1: The Special Time That We Are Going Through

If you look back at the past few decades, you will realize that an incredible transformation, a significant change took place. Progress in science and the innovation in education and so on resulted in the very rapid social changes impacting the life of regular people. These changes create many opportunities and challenges at the same time. One key challenge is the increasing mental fragility of today’s people—there is constant fear and self-doubt. This is an effect of the rapid social change that we are going through now.

Excerpt 2: Approaching Inner Peace

There are many ways to address our inner peace, increase our understanding and improve the quality of our spiritual life such as concentration meditation, practice of tantra and meditation on emptiness. There are many Buddhist approaches of how to reduce stress and to deal with challenges, and I feel that these kind of techniques and the study of the nature of mind, will be very useful for overcoming negative emotions of fear and so on.

Excerpt 3: Try to Get out from Your Comfort Zone

To overcome challenges and fear, you need to get out from your comfort zone. I’ve noticed many people like to stick to repetitive routines, like going to the same restaurant, having the same dishes, meeting the same people, playing around with the same idea. But you know things are changing. And if you want to cultivate the ability to face challenges arising from changes, you need to get out from your comfort zone, and experiment with new things and new lifestyles. Doing so will increase your mental resilience and will help you to deal with many other challenges brought about by constant changes.

Excerpt 4: Treasure the Traditional Culture

For the 20th century, education and especially critical thinking is very crucial. We need to pay attention to these impacts on culture and so on. One thing I’ve observed, is that some Tibetan youngsters are very influenced by the limited and selective Western literatures published by Chinese. Many of them they don’t read the original work and only read selected work or passages that were translated into Chinese. They rely on such limited and biased information to criticize their own culture and value—without backing up with the reason and logic. I believe that critical thinking based on biased and partial information or knowledge is a very detrimental practice.

Excerpt 5: Live in This World Peacefully

My advice on achieving calmness and peace in a world that full of conflicts, is to engage more in developing inner qualities and studying our own minds. We need to pay less attention to superficial things, and try to be our own master. The secret to a calm mind is the ability to control your mind.  Shakyamuni Buddha once said, “You are your own master.” Likewise, with this kind of attitude, we need to sharpen our minds which will gradually improve our mental strength, resulting in a calmer and peaceful mind.

Approaching Inner Peace

There are many ways to address our inner peace, increase our understanding and improve the quality of our spiritual life such as concentration meditation, practice of tantra and meditation on emptiness. There are many Buddhist approaches of how to reduce stress and to deal with challenges, and I feel that these kind of techniques and the study of the nature of mind, will be very useful for overcoming negative emotions of fear and so on.

Live in This World Peacefully

My advice on achieving calmness and peace in a world that full of conflicts, is to engage more in developing inner qualities and studying our own minds. We need to pay less attention to superficial things, and try to be our own master. The secret to a calm mind is the ability to control your mind.  Shakyamuni Buddha once said, “You are your own master.” Likewise, with this kind of attitude, we need to sharpen our minds which will gradually improve our mental strength, resulting in a calmer and peaceful mind.

Question & Answer Session

“Try to be your own master, the secret to a calm mind is try to control it.”

Harvard University