Tag Archive: Dalai Lama

I once read a quote from the Dalai Lama which I will paraphrase now:  “Humans will never reach enlightenment until everyone else within the world ceases to suffer”.  There seems to be a lot of suffering in the world these days… Compassion is a huge component to Buddhist philosophy and it can be argued that it is integral to any true path of enlightenment no matter what religion or creed. Yet in a world wrought with a global pandemic, famine, religious persecution, racial inequalities and climate change; the challenge is not to be compassionate for humanities shortcomings, but to not be overwhelmed by the weight of the worlds suffering. The Dalai Lama’s sentiments ring true. How can a sentient being reach enlightenment when there is so much suffering and discourse that surrounds us? I mean that is the point of life right? To suffer less and achieve higher levels of knowledge, understanding and compassion; thus enlightenment. In many ways we are all one. One race of species living on one pale blue dot in an expansive and often immeasurable Universe. Yet, political parties, religion and other ideologies divide us. In a world governed by money and greed, what is one to do? Further the weight of the world on our compassionate minds is enough to make anyone educated and mindful to ask: “Where are we really headed as a global community?”  Such frustration and disappointment makes people wonder if ignorance really is bliss.

A friend and I were discussing this topic last night. We both differ on political views but we both agreed that not only is the US political system broken, but our food, medical care, education, race relations and spirituality is held hostage by big money. My friend asked the question:  “What recourse is there for the frustrated middle class person?” I am immediately thinking, “Middle class”??? My thoughts are with the terrible racial inequalities that span every social/political thread in life. In that regard, middle class is a gift. You can probably better guess our political views now. My friend continued, “even voting seems to have little effect in the long run. In the end it is the 1% in control of the world’s money that has power over everything.” I agree there to a point. And this power is not in the best interest of planet Earth.

When you look back on history, the one defining factor is revolution:  Normally a violent revolution with bloodshed and loss of innocent life and property; which if successful, tears the elite power away from a few and temporally gives it back to the people.  It seems we are having a passive revolution now with all the strife in America. People are not happy.

But even violent revolution seems barbaric, transient and fleeting. How do we give the power back to the people and live in harmony and not discourse? How do we feed the starving, stop fighting and celebrate our commonality as a human race instead of fighting over our petty differences? My answer to my friends question was not what he wanted to hear. I said it will take thousands of years for humans to evolve to that point. For the masses to exhibit higher levels of knowledge, understanding, compassion and live as one species and not these splinters of society?  “A thousand years?!!!!”, he yelled. He wanted results in his life time. Maybe even next year. Truthfully, it may never happen. I am not even sure humanity can make it another 1000 years. It seems money will always govern and corrupt. History has painted a pretty clear picture in that regard. Hey, its not that I do not have faith in humanity; its just that there is 2000+ years of history that says nothing will change. At least we do not live in the Dark Ages – that must have really sucked.

Still there is a solution. Humans do need to progress to the next level of evolution no matter the social/political environment. I know in my heart that this is our destiny. This includes being mindful; working to keep our thoughts rooted in the present and not stumbling off in fear and fantasy; thoughts of the past and future. We have a metaphysical connection to the Universe that needs to be realized and celebrated. This connection binds humanity together.  The solution is to live by example. Empower those around you not by preaching self-actualization; empower those around you by living by example.  Words are hollow and lose their meaning quickly with inaction and indifference. Words are easy to say but to live by those words is truly powerful. Each of us can make a difference by simply living humbly away from our egos and teaching (through success and experience) our friends and love ones that there is another way. The best way to make a difference is to live though your own positive actions. Don’t talk about it, like I am doing now – actually DO IT! Create a ripple; no matter how small and seemingly insignificant. Eventually it will catch on. It has to…. That is what energy does. It might take a thousand years, but that is inconsequential.  Live, love and set an example and it is the best anyone can do. Happiness can find those that walk a mindful path that is chosen not by big money, ego and materialism. Listen to your True Nature and the wisdom from within and live by example. We may all seem different. Different color skin, eyes, religion and ethnicity. But if everyone suffered less and achieved higher levels of knowledge, understanding and compassion? Imagine if 100 people in your Facebook news feed lived by example? Imagine 1000 people. Imagine a million people….

John C. Bader is a photographer, wellness advocate and consultant specializing in spiritual self-evolution, meditation, and bio-energy healing. In his writing, he bridges science with spirituality and provides steps to encourage more mindfulness in daily life. His new book, The Responsive Universe – Illumination of the Nine Mandalas is a step by step process on how to begin your very own journey in Self-Discovery.

About the Book: www.responsiveuniverse.com

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“I believe the only true religion consists of having a good heart” – The Dalai Lama

Another simple and yet profound quote from his Holiness the Dalai Lama. How do you interpret that 12 word sentence? There are so many religions and faiths in this fallible world. Some can operate independently of blind faith like Buddhism. Other religions are built entirely on blind faith. Some condemn a veering path; some describe both the edicts of what is considered good and what is considered sin. All talk about an afterlife in some form or facet.  I can think of two religions specifically that have facilitated more suffering than good across the last couple thousand years.  So where does that leave us? Most likely confused…
What is religious scripture; but carefully crafted words? History has proven that much of the organized scripture we reach for today has been manipulated, re-written and molded to benefit the few in power and control the masses. In 300 AD Emperor Constantine literally rewrote the Bible at the Council of Nicaea. Tell that to a reborn Christian and see how that shakes out… But none of that really matters anyway. At least not to me. For scripture or as Joseph Campbell references, “mythology”, to exist and have power it requires the faith (or blind faith) of its followers to give it energy, authority and life. And as we have learned, such religious ideology can be rooted in complete fantasy and even science fiction – ever explored Scientology?  Yeah, enough said there…

Now,  from your educated eye… From a socially evolved viewpoint; if most or all religion is muddled, adulterated, twisted and warped; many times  so far skewed from the original message, how are we to find our way spiritually? How do we know what is right and wrong and what is prepackaged bullshit?

By finding your true thoughts, intentions, actions and reactions through True Nature!

We have discussed in this Blog and also within my book, The Responsive Universe, that True Nature (which is the opposite of ego and false-self) is this unadulterated source of energy within that is everything: Within its borderless aura sits your moral compass, the secrets to happiness and the path of less suffering. When you connect to this True Nature, vast horizons open to bring space, awareness and sensitivity to this thing call life. True Nature brings mindfulness and understanding to the controlled chaos that is modern-day living. True Nature has always existed and always will. No one or thing can take True Nature from you – not even death itself. True, this energy source may remain hidden, buried by ego, but it will always remain within; steadfast and dependable.  In Buddhist teachings the word “heart” is coined a lot to describe your inner soul or being; your core of existence. This is the definition of True Nature and when you base your intent from this bottomless well of responsive energy you are living from the heart and not from the ego and what society deems correct.

If you scientifically and philosophically attempt to quantify True Nature you will understand that it possesses all the trimmings of religion. It is the definition of “true” Religion. Or maybe a better way to put it: It is the definition of Spirituality. Your spirituality… The difference between contemporary religion and True Nature is that in order to define God and your place within this Universe, you have to include yourself as part of its definition. You are part of its common denominator. You are Heart, Love, God and Universe and none of it can exist without you!

If that is not religion, I do not know what is….


John C. Bader is a photographer, wellness advocate and consultant specializing in spiritual self-evolution, meditation, and bio-energy healing. In his writing, he bridges science with spirituality and provides steps to encourage more mindfulness in daily life. His new book, The Responsive Universe – Illumination of the Nine Mandalas is a step by step process on how to begin your very own journey in Self-Discovery.

About the Book: www.responsiveuniverse.com

Now Available: Amazon    Barnes & Noble

The Responsive Universe on Facebook

John C. Bader on Twitter

Image by NDTV

A Buddhist for President?

Republican party presidential candidate Ben Carson was recently caught in a firestorm of controversy over whether or not a Muslim could be President.  I am paraphrasing, but when cornered to explain his point he states that depending on how a Muslim would interpret the Quran; there could be ideological conflicts with the US Constitution.

There are probably many misconceptions about the origin of the US Constitution – many right-wing conservatives may argue that the United States of America was founded on Christian principles and the US Constitution reflects that. To a degree this is correct but based on my understanding, the US Constitution itself is a secular document, and nowhere does it appeal to God, Christianity, Jesus, or any supreme being – only that religious freedom needs to be protected.

Mike HuckabeeI guess the irony here is how some people are more concerned with the notion of a hypothetical Muslim President challenging our constitutional rights – some idiots out there still think President Obama is a Muslim – and yet Christianity is ALWAYS challenging our constitutional rights. Maybe you are ok with that… I personally have a problem with it…. From challenging woman’s health issues, to teaching creationism in schools to same-sex marriage. I understand that Christianity is a dominant religion in America and many of our sociopolitical foundations are based on such dogma;  but I think it is interesting when the line between church and state blurs and people’s’ fundamental human rights are violated. When businesses like Hobby Lobby and Chick fil A can dictate how you should receive insurance  coverage based on religious views. When presidential candidates like Mike Huckabee think Jesus is a higher law than our US Supreme Court – that is not only bat shit crazy; it is down right scary! And yet in today’s American society it is sort of the norm isn’t it?…. and that is even more scary….

Now it is clear my religious perspectives are from the outside of the Christian bubble looking in. In fact, I am a minority in this thinking which in itself is ironic. When Pope Francis is more liberal than our right-wing conservative political party who tries to govern our policy and laws, it makes you wonder if this departure from reality is due to religion itself perpetuating close minded thinking, or America is just showing its ignorance, or Fox News is way too far-reaching and persuasive in its views and underlying agendas.

So what about a Buddhist for President? What about a Buddhist instilling and spewing dogma into our schools? Children would learn meditation. In fact, children would have to learn about Karma and how every action and reaction (whether positive or negative) can affect others and yourself. People would have to uphold the Four Noble Truths and learn to suffer less and take power away from our Ego – connecting more to our True Nature. Maybe Buddhist extremists would lobby to force people to spend more time in nature and be more compassionate to others? Probably not right? …The Dalai Lama recently was asked (and again I paraphrase) that if science proved a Buddhist notion wrong what would be the next step? The Dalai Lama responded that we would need to make a change in our thinking that would mirror what science now proves correct…. that’s refreshing….

The lesson here is simple… Be mindful of what is right and wrong based on fundamental human rights. Which paths whether social, spiritual or political are going to lead to the least amount of suffering for ALL people of all faiths, gender, sexuality, income levels and their basic rights as human beings.  Due to societal immersion and the dogma that is so interwoven into our news and politics we don’t even realize the true threats that sit in the shadows waiting to erode your fundamental rights as a human being. I cant reiterate this enough – as history has shown in brutal detail, without opposition, there is only tyranny… and that is why I touch on these subjects…

John C. Bader is a photographer, wellness advocate and consultant specializing in spiritual self-evolution, meditation, and bio-energy healing. In his writing, he bridges science with spirituality and provides steps to encourage more mindfulness in daily life. His new book, The Responsive Universe – Illumination of the Nine Mandalas is a step by step process on how to begin your very own Hero’s Journey.

About the Book: www.responsiveuniverse.com

Now Available: Amazon    Barnes & Noble

The Responsive Universe on Facebook

John C. Bader on Twitter

“If every 8 year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.” 

-Dalai Lama

This quote by the Dalai Lama went viral over the weekend – When I first read it I was amazed by the powerful message within so few words. Since that time bloggers and naysayers have taken to the internet to analyze and interpret these words of wisdom.

B. Scofield from Tikkum Daily said this: “While for much of my life I’ve also shared this popular sentiment I’ve now come to see it much differently. Based on years of research and writing as well as personal practice of yoga, meditation and Chi Kung I’ve discovered some very strong flaws in the Dalai Lama’s argument. Furthermore, I actually see these types of statements are very irresponsible as they mislead the public about the causes and solutions to violence. The real conversations about these very challenging issues that need to take place could potentially be minimized by these types of statements.”

Scofield went on to rationalize an impressive argument about why this statement from the Dalai Lama is not really wisdom at all. Others like me are taken back by the eloquence from such a simple statement. Personally I think everyone is over analyzing the comment – including myself. From simple words can come a simple message of wisdom – nothing more… nothing less…

I do not see this quote as misleading… I see this quote as empowering.  The world in many ways is already wrought with violence and suffering. The point is, if everyone in the world would just stop for a moment and take a deep breath; if everyone in the world became mindful of the controlled chaos that is life for one minute a day – sensing the gift of energy and love when our thoughts and attention are centered away from fear and fantasy – anchored soundly in the present – Yes, there would be less violence. When we stop to meditate we allow the gift of space, clarity and responsiveness to arise from our True Nature. From these qualities arises wisdom and love – not violence and tyranny.

John C. Bader

About the Book: www.responsiveuniverse.com

Now Available: Amazon    Barnes & Noble

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John C. Bader on Twitter

I watched an interesting video piece on Buddhism from a scientific stand point by Cara Santa Maria who has a Huffington Post Science column called “Talk Nerdy to Me”. She interviewed Buddhist Monk Dr. Matthieu Ricard who has a PhD in cellular genetics and is also an Atheist.

An Atheist?

A Buddhist Atheist?

You know it is interesting. Most folks in the western world would consider Buddhism a religion. I have even caught myself making that same mistake when I discuss Buddhist teachings and how it has flavored the Responsive Universe I live in today. Contrary to popular belief there is no “One Supreme God” in Buddhism.  Buddhism is more of a philosophy than a religion.

You mean Buddha is not a God? Nope, he was just the son of a King that found enlightenment 600 years before Jesus was born.  Buddhism is about not suffering – from life to death we need to give and receive affection and compassion – it is an exchange of energy that connects us all.

According to Kusala Bhikshu, there are Buddhists that have faith in a God that created our Universe; there are Buddhists that are strictly atheist and there are those that just do not know. Buddhism is less about God and more about you. Buddhism teaches us to lead instead of to follow.

Kusala Bhikshu also said this: “When the Buddha was asked how the world started, he kept silent. In the religion of Buddhism we don’t have a first cause, instead we have a never ending circle of birth and death (Mandala). In this world and in all worlds, there are many beginnings and ends. The model of life used in Buddhism has no starting place… It just keeps going and going.

Buddhism is about transformation and evolution. Yes, there is room for spirituality when there is the potential for self-discovery and growth.

…and yes there are many paths – the question is how authentic is that path? Killing in the name of God is not authentic. Living through your ego and not practicing what you preach is not authentic.

The Dalai Lama said this and I paraphrase: If there was only one dish served at all the restaurants in the world, no one would go to eat after a while – we need variety  – we need our own path.

As for me? Well, my inner wisdom tells me there is an instinctual energy that is everything. When I shed my ego and connect to the sublime through mindfulness and meditation I connect to something that is authentic – a Responsive Universe…

….and that my friends is enough for me.

John C. Bader


Next month the London Olympics begin and soon the headlines on television and newspapers will reflect the emerging stories that are guaranteed to capture our attention. One such headline caught my attention today:

“Saudi Arabia to let women compete in Olympics for first time”

Wow! For the first time! Did you know Saudi woman are not allowed to drive, vote, hold public office or marry, leave the country, go to school or open bank accounts without permission from a male guardian, who usually is the father or husband. Is this over protection or religious zealousness?

I read that Olympic country hopefuls Qatar and Brunei — also reversed course this year and said they will send female athletes to the London games that begin July 27. I guess that is progress…?

I did a little research and found some other countries that seem to be lacking in fundamental rights, especially for woman:

Afghanistan: Domestic violence is so common that 87 percent of women admit to experiencing it. But more than one million widows are on the streets, often forced into prostitution. Afghanistan is the only country in which the female suicide rate is higher than that of males.

Democratic Republic of Congo: In the eastern DRC, a war that claimed more than 3 million lives has ignited again, with women on the front line. Rapes are so brutal and systematic that UN investigators have called them unprecedented. Many victims die; others are infected with HIV and left to look after children alone.

Iraq: The U.S.-led invasion to “liberate” Iraq from Saddam Hussein has imprisoned women in an inferno of sectarian violence that targets women and girls. The literacy rate, once the highest in the Arab world, is now among the lowest as families fear risking kidnapping and rape by sending girls to school.

Nepal: Early marriage and childbirth exhaust the country’s malnourished women, and one in 24 will die in pregnancy or childbirth. Daughters who aren’t married off may be sold to traffickers before they reach their teens.

Sudan: While Sudanese women have made strides under reformed laws, the plight of those in Darfur, in western Sudan, has worsened. Abduction, rape or forced displacement have destroyed more than 1 million women’s lives since 2003.

Mali: One of the world’s poorest countries, few women escape the torture of genital mutilation, many are forced into early marriages, and one in 10 dies in pregnancy or childbirth.

“Human beings by nature want happiness and do not want suffering. With that feeling everyone tries to achieve happiness and tries to get rid of suffering, and everyone has the basic right to do this. In this way, all here are the same, whether rich or poor, educated or uneducated, Easterner or Westerner, believer or non-believer, and within believers whether Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and so on. Basically, from the viewpoint of real human value we are all the same.”

— His Holiness the Dalai Lama

I find it incredibly sad that here in 2012 there is still so much abuse, neglect and suffering – especially for women in impoverished countries. I posted this blog in an effort to continue to bring awareness to this terrible global problem. As the Olympics converge on London next month, we will see great strides in uniting the world but we must not forget the dark underbelly of humanity that exists especially in the Middle East and Africa.


John C. Bader


In regard to a recent medical study, Deepak Chopra comments: “The healthiest people were those who didn’t spend money that they hadn’t earned, to buy things that they didn’t need, to impress people that they didn’t like”.

This same study Deepak Chopra references also touts that more people die at 9am on Monday from cardiovascular accidents than any other time? Why? Mostly due to stress and anxiety coupled with poor eating habits and lack of exercise – all ailments born from the ego.

I love this quote from the Dalai Lama:

The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity answered, — “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived”.

We can equate all of this to mindfulness: Mindfulness of the ego and how it represents us and many times unknowingly controls us; and mindfulness of our needs wants and desires. We have to continually ask ourselves important questions: Are the actions, needs and desires we seek rooted to pleasing others, building our self-esteem or mired in self-gratification? Or are we heading down a path of love, compassion, sans of ego and fully connected to our True Nature?

We should be asking ourselves these questions on a daily basis all in an effort to better align ourselves with positivity and happiness.

John C. Bader


How can we all make a difference in 2012?

I know it sounds like a John Lennon song… But imagine if every person in this world made an effort in 2012 to do ONE or TWO extra positive actions in life – nothing terribly out of our normal existence – but something more than the average mediocrity many of us unknowing waddle in. Is there room to find compassion for our enemies? Is there room in our busy life to simply acknowledge the fact that we are all human and political, racial and religious differences are nothing more than trivial contrasts? Can we work on limiting our carbon print on the environment? Maybe lose a little weight? Can we hug our children a little more? Can we give a little more to charity? Maybe smile at a stranger walking by? Yes, we can make a difference… Everyone one of us… Even the smallest nods and gestures will add up and on a global level to create an amazing dynamism. Trust me; I have to remind myself of these notions – that is why I speak of it now. The road to enlightenment requires little nudges into the right direction of space, clarity and responsiveness.

The following quote from his Holiness the Dalai Lama and rings true for any time of the year:
“Because we all share this planet earth, we have to learn to live in harmony and peace with each other and with nature. That is not just a dream, but a necessity. We are dependent on each other in so many ways that we can no longer live in isolated communities and ignore what is happening outside those communities”.


John C. Bader



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