3 Powerful Principles From The Dalai Lama That Can Help Get You Through Any Crisis

How to tackle pandemics, politics, and your own personal well-being.

Peter Burns
Mind Cafe
Published in
8 min readJan 13, 2021

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“Human happiness and human satisfaction must ultimately come from within oneself.” — Dalai Lama

On one beautiful day many millennia ago, the Buddha was teaching a student about the nature of life. The youngster was having a hard time understanding the lesson on self-inflicted pain, so Siddhartha started explaining it with a metaphor.

The Buddha asked the student: “If the person is stuck by an arrow, is it painful?

Without hesitation the student replied: “It is.”

The Buddha went on: “If the same person is stuck by a second arrow, is that not even more painful?

Once again, the student agreed: “It is.

This is what Sidhartha was waiting for. Taking a deep breath, he showed the student the nature of suffering: “In life, we cannot always control getting hit by the first arrow. However, the second arrow is how we react to the first. With this second arrow, comes the possibility of choice.

A lot of times, unfortunate events happen that derail you from the course. This is the first arrow. The problem is that most people make the situation even worse by complaining, freaking out, or blaming their predicament on others. That’s the second arrow.

The first arrow, you can’t control. The second arrow you can guard against. This parable illustrates an ancient mantra that philosophers from many parts of the globe from time immemorial have tried to hammer home. Bad stuff happens, don’t make it worse by fretting about it.

While driving, if someone cuts you off, don’t cuss at them. Yes, what they did is dangerous. However, it won’t help things if you start swearing and behaving uncontrollably. In fact, you might get distracted and cause an accident. Just forget about it instead.

This is a mindset to cultivate in any situation. In today’s world, we are facing a crisis. A pandemic has hit our shores. People are freaking out. Many are saying that it’s OK to be not OK, but is it…

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Peter Burns
Mind Cafe

A curious polymath who wants to know how everything works. Blog: Renaissance Man Journal (http://gainweightjournal.com/).