The Monk in the Lab

This article by the Dalai Lama appeared in The New York Times April 26, 2003 at a time when some people thought that invading Iraq was going to lead to peace. But maybe the way to peace doesn’t lead through war but through self-mastery.

The Monk in the Lab



These are times when destructive emotions like anger, fear and hatred are giving rise to devastating problems throughout the world. While the daily news offers grim reminders of the destructive power of such emotions, the question we must ask is this: What can we do, person by person, to overcome them?

Of course such disturbing emotions have always been part of the human condition. Some – those who tend to believe nothing will “cure” our impulses to hate or oppress one another – might say that this is simply the price of being human. But this view can create apathy in the face of destructive emotions, leading us to conclude that destructiveness is beyond our control.

I believe that there are practical ways for us as individuals to curb our dangerous impulses – impulses that collectively can lead to war and mass violence. As evidence I have not only my spiritual practice and the understanding of human existence based on Buddhist teachings, but now also the work of scientists. Continue reading The Monk in the Lab