Oprah: I've read that you spend many hours a day in meditation. What value does meditation have for even non-Buddhists?
Dalai Lama: Meditation is valuable for all of humanity because it involves looking inward. People don't have to be religious to look inside themselves more carefully. It is constructive and worthwhile to analyze our emotions, including compassion and our sense of caring, so that we can become more calm and happy. Hatred, jealousy, and fear hinder peace of mind. When you're angry or unforgiving, for example, your mental suffering is constant. It is better to forgive than to spoil your peace of mind with ill feelings.
Oprah: You seem to have a lot of joy. What makes you happy?
Dalai Lama: I don't take myself too seriously! That makes me happy.
Oprah: What is a perfect day for you?
Dalai Lama: There's never a perfect day. There is no perfection in the world.
Oprah: So what would make a good day— a day when you really have fun and laugh a lot?
Dalai Lama: I really like gardening and playing with mechanical things. And when I have leisure time, I spend some of it reading and studying—mainly Tibetan Buddhist texts, as well as readings on my favorite subjects like compassion and altruism. On those days when I can spend a few hours getting some understanding, I feel fulfilled. I feel as if I have made good use of my time.
Oprah: Do you work so hard and travel so much because you want to bring attention to what is happening to the Tibetan people?
Dalai Lama: Not necessarily. Just this morning I read a newspaper that said something like "The Dalai Lama visited six cities in order to explain the Chinese oppression of Tibet." That's wrong. I have never been anyplace where I was not first invited. And upon invitation, if I feel that there is potential for making some contribution to humanity, I will comply in spite of being tired.
We Hear You!