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Lions Roar : July 2016
our own emotions are the cause of our suffering, we can eradi- cate the attachment to and identification with them that causes us so much suffering. Then we will be motivated to practice the dharma authen- tically and enthusiastically. This is the fourth noble truth: the truth of the path. All the masters of old tamed their emo- tions using the tools and techniques presented by the path of dharma. If we practice the path in the same manner they did, we can be sure that positive changes will come. And we can share those positive changes with the people in our lives. You Are What You Feel: A Formula for Unhappiness Our suffering may look different from the sufferings of oth- ers, but all human beings experience painful emotions and unwanted situations. We all face separation from loved ones, falling out with friends, and the death of family members. This may raise the question, “Is everyone all over the world full of emotional turmoil?” Actually, based just on my upbring- ing in Tibet, I would answer this question in the negative. Of course, we Tibetans have emotions just like every other human being, but there are aspects of Tibetan culture that help Tibetan people handle their emotions in a way that makes them less dominating and demanding. As a boy, whenever I was interacting with my family, my vil- lage, and my sangha, we always put our focus on others. The most important thing was not how each person felt individu- ally, but how the group felt together. In Tibet, as well as many other Asian Buddhist cultures, there is much value placed on putting the happiness and well-being of the group above our own personal feelings. In that kind of cultural environment, it spoils the mood and the energy of the group whenever anyone focuses on themselves too much. Many Americans comment on the joyful disposition of Tibetan people, especially when they travel to my home county. I believe this happy disposition comes from how we Tibetans enjoy our family and community connections and do not spend too much time focusing on our own personal emotions. I did not realize that this was a unique aspect of Tibetan culture until I left Tibet. When I came to America more than ten years ago, I noticed the strong relationship Americans have with their PHOTOBYROBERTHACKMAN/MILLENNIUMIMAGES,UK LION’S ROAR | JULY 2016 62